A million people march on september 3 to demand social justice in Israel. Well a bit less than half presented themselves. A lot of folks equivalent to about 20 million in Washington. The two state solution is actually justice and peace which are identical. Ideally, Jews and Arabs would march together and really put the establishment – of both- in a pickle.
The hope is that this nascent movement will give all of Israel’s citizens equal opportunities and a more equitable distribution of the wealth. Actually it about 90% pressing their concerns of vulnerability: Jews. Arabs. Immigrants. Druze. Bedouin. The poor and a declining middle class. The vulnerable. At a basic level its about economic reforms that give all Israelis access to affordable education, health , and acceptable salaries. Its a sign of health when marginalized voices are heard: an end to the occupation and a less militaristic society, which has fostered a culture of consumerist and racist ideology that is poisoning the national psyche.
But, can the issue of social justice be separated from the politics of the occupation? Not really. From the Israeli perspective, the aesthetic is framed within a struggle to maintain some morality on a fundamental level while engaging in immorality: Such as in the new film The Debt. The Israeli ambivalence about the occupation is ultimately always flattering to Israel. For the most part, its about how they feel and not the Palestinians, who play the role similar to the black servants in The Help. So, the effect is always about retaliatory Jewish violence on the Jewish soul and not on Palestinian bodies where this drama is acted out.Israeli violence is always portrayed as conscientious and human, moral and targeted; civilized violence but in reality, the Palestinians have been hostages with endangered lives that began well before 1967. …
…In the eyes of her fellow Israelis, Rachel is a former Mossad agent and a hero. It’s 1997, at a swanky Tel Aviv hotel, where she’s attending the book launch that details her role, more than thirty years earlier, in the capture and killing of a Nazi war criminal, the “surgeon of Birkenau”; a fictional Mengele type. Her scarred cheek bears visible testament to the ordeal of that long-ago mission, but her repressed manner implies at something personal and gnawing which is an unresolved issue, a secret. Back in 1966 the film shows crossing the Wall into an East Berlin apartment where Rachel joins her fellow agents Stephan and David played byMarton Csokas and Sam Worthington. Rachel’s task is to pose as a German wife struggling to conceive, and thus requiring the services of a gynecologist : specifically, Dieter Vogel , now an aging doctor but once that criminal surgeon.
She pays him two preliminary visits, and director John Madden, projects into both scenes a palpable and predictable dose of creepiness ; the monster swathed within layers of accumulated gentility, sleeping, but very much alive. The third visit gives rise to the capture and the ensuing action sequence in which the escape plan goes off the rails, leaving the Israelis to devise an improvised alternative while holding Vogel prisoner. Now, back in that decrepit apartment, the doctor is bound and gagged, but the evil beast in him is out of the cage and in full form. Its a decent film, and I could see that the viewers were fascinated by Jews and were searching to put the film within a broader context of understanding, although ethically, there has to be misgivings about the concept of vengeance and eye for an eye which theologically does not appear to be a Christian theme.
Dahlia Scheindlin:It does seem that after the summer of calling for a revolution, J14 is not at all clear that it wants a regime change now, and might be more focused on getting current future governments
earn the meaning of accountability – as part of the “change of culture” that is a frequent demand.
I do not think elections ought to be held now. Like in Egypt, new parties will not be prepared, will have no infrastructure or platforms. Unlike Egypt, in Israel, that means that most likely we would just get a new mandate for the old regime….
…There is simply an abyss dividing the Israeli economic discourse from the American one. The most prominent new signs, chants, and messages was: “expand the budget!” A group of adorable youth movement teenagers got on the stage with a huge model of a chocolate cake to illustrate that “we are not fighting for crumbs of the budget, we are talking about expanding the cake.” Together with the unrelenting demand to bring back the welfare state, this is an unapologetic cry for a social – if not socialist – economic approach; hopefully someone will take care to update it for the 21st century. Read More:http://972mag.com/j14-initial-thoughts-on-final-rally/
…a love triangle forms among the agents, even as Vogel takes to playing mind games with his captors. What happens next can’t be revealed, except to say that, going forward to 1997, it’s responsible for the older Rachel’s inner emotional stress, not to mention the constant dour look that Mirren wears on her scarred face; “The truth is a luxury.” …The film movds from Cold War to psychological drama, as the Israelis suffer from cabin fever and the unrelenting,provocative taunts of their captive. Is the cabin fever a metaphor for Israel?
Also, Rachel discovers she’s pregnant which is known to their prisoner before either of her fellow agents, one of whom is the father which adds to the major issue of what to do with a Nazi chained up in their living room. ….
Interviewer: I mean in Israel’s dealings with its neighbours. Has the survivor spirit hardened Israel to the point where it hampers its ability to resolve seemingly intractable problems, such as making peace with the Palestinians?
Hirsch Goodman: I write in the book that in a country where paranoia is a national virtue, optimism is almost a crime. And it is true: The survivor syndrome has made this country paranoid. But, in this part of the world, and in this country, paranoia is not a bad thing. It is actually healthy. Even in the next generation the “never again” attitude is an incredibly palpable force. There are people like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad that has made it even more so. He speaks of wiping Israel off the map, denies the Holocaust, and when he says he wants to destroy Israel, you actually believe the guy. He has got his finger on the button. And when he speaks he pushes a national button in this country that pushes even moderate people to say: “Our government is spending this much on defence well, go ahead and spend it, and if you have to bomb the bugger back into the ground, go ahead and bomb the bugger back into the ground.” You do what you have to do to survive.Read More:http://www.nationalpost.com/what+have+survive/5349409/story.html
There was almost no representation of the needs of specific sectors, other than perfunctory messages about the unity and solidarity of all different groups in all regions of the country. Arab speakers or issues were glaringly absent in this final demonstration.
There was particularly powerful applause for educator Amnon Rabinowitz who gave detailed demands to invest in public education, end the cultivation of private education at the expense of public schools, provide education for the youngest ages and place greater emphasis on values as part of the curriculum. Indeed, in every survey I have conducted over the last few years, education has come out as people’s top priority – higher than security, higher than the economy and higher than social gaps. Yet I am still waiting for the day when this finding determines voting behavior more than security. Read More:http://972mag.com/j14-initial-thoughts-on-final-rally/a
Ultimately the demonstration ended on a gentle, not frantic note, which I hope will be a sign of morphing into a new phase of civic action, consumer protests, detailed policy demands, and very critical thinking that goes much deeper than a tent stake.
As for my personal goals – I’ll be happy if the conversations that started between unlikely interlocutors – religious and secular, Tel Aviv and Ofakim, Arabs and Jews, politicians and citizens – continue and people actually learn to listen. I’ll be happy if the new sense of empathy for those outside our immediate circles remains; I’ll be happy if it extends beyond the first concentric circle and keeps going – even beyond our borders. Read More:http://972mag.com/j14-initial-thoughts-on-final-rally/
I’ve said repeatedly that the protests have failed to broaden substantially past the working middle class, and have failed to deal with the elephant in the living room (the Occupation). I know you’ve seen signs of them broadening to the Arab community in Israel, but to me, that still seems marginal and the protests still seem to limited to one class (albeit a very large and politically powerful class). However, to broaden themselves politically across class/race/issue lines would likely reduce their numbers, as a large majority of the Jewish middle class in Israel isn’t really anti-occupation (though they’d love to see a resolution of it) and isn’t really interested in helping Arab communities, the Haredi, migrants, or any other group which competes with the middle class for resources.
It’s great if the protests continue, and it’s great if they win more concessions (so far, the economic concessions haven’t been very serious). But I don’t see them making any fundamental change as long as they are so limited, and I see them permanently vulnerable to anyone who wants to distract the country with political events.Read More:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/03/1013127/-BREAKING:-A-Million-in-the-Streets-Today-Will-Change-Israel-Forever-|-LiveBlog