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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Keret writes on protesters' fight for social justice

The author/activist Etgar Keret writes at The Nation's website on the rediscovery of social solidarity as an Israeli value, illustrated by prosperous Israelis demonstrating alongside poorer ones for social justice:

Tent encampment as part of massive protests. (AP)
.... in today’s privatized Israel, choosing to fight for other people’s rights is considered dishonest, exploitative or just plain foolish.

Until just a few weeks ago, the word “community” was, for my generation, something you could find only on the Internet, in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods or among homo-lesbian groups.... And from that point of view, this fight, which I hope will try to achieve a great deal more, has already succeeded. It has broken out of the alienating, individualistic cage of the radical capitalism on which we were raised. ... And the passivity and herding instinct have been temporarily restrained.

For those who still haven’t taken to the streets, I recommend that you participate in the next protest rally, if only to see each demonstrator waving his own placard, the one he formulated himself about the issue that disturbs him the most.... And bring your kids with you. Yelling “The people want social justice” with them at a nonviolent demonstration is the best civics lesson they’ll have this year, and that lesson isn’t just in civics: it will also awaken in them and in you a few ancient, dormant Jewish values such as compassion and helping others, values that even the mandatory class visits to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, organized for your children by the right-wing education minister, never managed to stir. ....

The claims of those who want to oust Netanyahu vary: some are social, some political, some personal and even esoteric, but it is totally clear to each one of the people sleeping in tents—including the Jewish and Arab left-wingers who are dominant in quite a few of these tent camps—that this protest would never have erupted if the person at the head of our country were a different right-wing leader, one more sensitive to social problems. Such a leader may have worked harder to hide the fact that massive state support for the settlements, as well as Israel’s huge defense budget, are among the main reasons Israel’s recent governments have neglected poor and middle-class citizens....

Read his entire article at The Nation's website

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