25 thoughts on “David Grossman on J14 – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I’m surprising that the Shabbak hasn’t removed Dafni Lif for disturbing the current social order.

    The above is of course meant in jest, and is meant to mock the extreme paranoia echoed in this blog about the Shabakk and Israel’s “security apparatus”.

    These peaceful, beautiful demonstrations show that Israel is a vibrant Democracy. The protesters are not a rare breed – they are the backbone of the Israeli society and show the best about our people – compassionate, Democratic and honest.

    May we succeed in bringing change to Israel (but not the kind of change its haters desire).

    1. @ Izik
      “Israel is a vibrant democracy”
      No, it’s not. It was ranked 37th on The Economist’s Democracy Index 2010, far after the five Nordic countries, Australia and New Zealand, but also after Chile, South Africa and Botswana. Israel is a “flawed democracy”, and if you look at the last listing, “civil liberties”, it has an index ranking it somewhere among ‘hybrid regimes’ and ‘authoritarian regimes’.
      To quote Ahmad Tibi: “Democratic for Jews, but Jewish for Arabs”.
      Your description of Israelis as “compassionate, democratic and honest” must be taken from page 1 in the “Global Language Dictionary” aka ‘The Hasbara Manual for External Use’. Israel is ranked after Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in the Corruption Index 2010.
      And for the ‘compassionate’, I don’t know what to say: you leave me speechless. Maybe because I just visioned a footage from Cast Lead where Israelis made tourism on the southern border to see the ungoing slaughter ‘live’ all while picknicking.

      1. I’ve lived here my entire life and am well traveled. I don’t need an index to tell me that Israel is a vibrant Democracy. I can say anything that I want, study anything that I want, do anything that I want and go everywhere I want.

        Is it flawed? Absolutely! Do we have a lot more to fix around here? Yes! But that’s why I’m here. I love my people, I love my country and I will continue building it. I have no interest in hate or anger over others – I will help build a prosperous nation for the benefit of me and my kids. Israeli Arabs are welcome to join in the building of this country, and hopefully they will too consider Israel a home, after we overcome the difficulties.

        The rest, about me being a “Hasbara drone”, just shove it! I’m proud of being an Israeli and will not apologize for it.

        Ahmed Tibi is an intelligent man and it’s a damn shame that he uses his energies to spread poison and hate instead of trying to build his peoples communities.

        Come to Israel. come to Rotschild. come to Beer-Sheva and Kiryat-Shmona. Meet and see the people. You fill that despite your twisted perception of Jews and Israelis being blood-thirsty, money-grabbing conspirators, that they are actually normal human beings.

        1. @ Izik
          “I can say everything I want ….go everywhere I want”
          Yes, exactly, as Tibi said: “Democracy for the Jews, and Jewish for the Arabs”
          “Come to Israel, …come to Beer-Sheva, come to blahblah”
          I’ve been to Israel on various occasions, when I was still allowed to, I have family there, those who were not expelled, so don’t waste your propaganda on me.
          Concerning Beer-Sheva:
          Here’s a interview with Juliano Mer-Khamis (though the sound isn’t very good). He explains how his own mother, as a member of Palmach, participated in the Plan Daleth, i.e. the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and how her own sister told her proudly that she had participated in the massacre of more than 200 and the ethnic cleansing of more than 25.000 Palestinians in Beer-Sheva (Beersheba/Bir al-Sab’):
          from min 1:15
          Or this:
          “I’m a proud Israeli”. Sure, who wouldn’t be so in your place …

        2. @Itzik
          It’s ok to be proud of certain aspects of Israel – women’s rights and LGBT rights, for example – but also to recognize that you have a very partial, skewed view.
          Rather than telling the Palestinian Israelis to “join in the building of this country”, make them want to join. Ask them how they truly feel and what they want; don’t impose your views of what they should think. Treat them as equals; don’t force them to deny their history, ethnicity, language, etc.
          For starters, if they want to be called “Palestinian Israelis”, rather than “Israeli Arabs”, respect this wish.

        3. I’ve lived here my entire life and am well traveled. I don’t need an index to tell me that Israel is a vibrant Democracy. I can say anything that I want, study anything that I want, do anything that I want and go everywhere I want.

          First, you clearly haven’t studied the diff. bet. the countries where you’ve traveled & Israel (unless you were only traveling in China, Laos, Cambodia, Iran & North Korea). Second, you clearly aren’t saying anything threatening to the regime. If you were to say the things that Yonatan Shapira says it would be a diff. story.

          You actually can’t do anything you want. You can’t advocate boycott publicly w/o threat of a lawsuit. You can’t operate an NGO & accept funding fr. foreign govt’s w/o the threat of a Knesset bill smearing you as if you were an enemy of the people. You can’t go to Gaza. You can’t go to Lebanon or Syria either. You can’t meet with anyone who’s come anywhere near Hezbollah or Hamas. So you are a bit more constrained than you’re acknowledging. The fact is that you live a nice comfortable existence & don’t rock the political boat inside Israel, so you’re fine. Not so for Israelis who challenge the consensus & status quo (you clearly don’t). Their lives are far more complicated.

          I have no interest in hate or anger over others

          Interesting how deluded some people can be about themselves & the ideas they espouse. Palestinians find a good deal of what you write to be offensive, angry & hateful. So what you really mean is that you have no interest in hating anyone you like. ANyone you don’t like–well, that’s a diff. story now, isn’t it?

          Israeli Arabs are welcome to join in the building of this country, and hopefully they will too consider Israel a home, after we overcome the difficulties.

          You are so ridiculoudly BLIND. Israeli Palestinians (again, the very people for whom you claim no hate or anger can’t even be called the name they have chosen for themselves by you) already consider Israel their home. It is the ignorance of Israelis like you of them & what they believe that prevents them from being considered fully Israeli by Israeli Jews. And they will consider Israel their home now, before you all overcome your “difficulties” (whatever that means–is it like “that time of month?”). So get used to it. They’re just as much Israeli as you.

          just shove it!

          That’s borderline my friend. Hold yrself better in check & watch the aggressive language.

          Ahmed Tibi is an intelligent man and it’s a damn shame that he uses his energies to spread poison and hate instead of trying to build his peoples communities.

          Once again you’ve shown yr utter ignorance of 20% of yr fellow citizens. Azmi Bishara says Israel should be a state of ALL its citizens. It is this that you find hateful because he won’t acquiesce in yr vision of an “Israel for the Israelis (Jews, that is). So if that’s poison & hate, once again you’ve just labelled Bishara and I and all the other Israelis (including many Jews) as ‘haters of Israel,’ a charge I find repulsive. No, BIshara doesn’t hate Israel. He just hates the Israel that currently exists which is rotten, corrupt, abusive (to Jewish & Palestinian citizens), militaristic, & racist. He seeks to love an Israel that is tolerant, egalitarian, democratic, & non-racial. If you hate that, then you do hate Bishara & also what I see for Israel’s future. I should add that there are elements of hope in latter day Israel. The currents out of which sprang J14 would do well in that future Israel. That is Israel at its best. Unfortunately, that Israel has been debased & abandoned for far too many decades.

          As for the rest, stop with the Israeli tourism pitch. It’s downright annoying. If you want to take out an ad touting Israel as a tourist destination I’ll quote you ad rates. Otherwise, knock it off.

          Israelis are actually normal human beings living in abnormal circumstances which turn them into hardened cynical brutal human beings. Not all for sure. But the mass, yes.

        4. @RichardSilverstein,
          I hope my comment here is within this blog’s rules.

          Enjoy your normal compassionate compatriots:
          1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGX1_oFPFOM&feature=related
          1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9Qsapnz_n4
          2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ5-91kUu98&NR=1
          3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4dPskzlqZ4&NR=1
          4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16ZdMo11JFA&feature=related
          5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-ns_CnX9Ps&feature=related
          and a million other videos if you just want to open your eyes, Izik.

    2. Mockery won’t get you far. If the Shabak thought it could get away w. arresting her it certainly would. After all, they hauled Yonatan Shapira in for a little chat & warned him what he was doing may become illegal & that they’d be more than happy to arrest him once the Knesset makes whatever it was illegal. And Shapira is a nonentity compared to Leef.

      But the Shabakniks are a somewhat clever lot. They understand that when 300+K come out for a demo that it’s a tad off-putting if you haul off the leader in the midst of that. Now if she were Israeli Palestinian they’d haul her away in a heartbeat. They’re also more clever, in that when something is popular, they attack subtly by leaking stuff or putting out disinformation that would tarnish reputations. That should be coming. They’re prob. investigating her & tapping her phones as we speak.

      These peaceful, beautiful demonstrations show that Israel is a vibrant Democracy

      Blah, blah, blah. These peaceful beautiful demonstrations prove how desperate things have become in Israel since the country hasn’t seen anything like this since the days of Peace Now, if then. Also, as Grossman & others have written, there have been so many of these movements which have come & gone like seeds shifting on the wind, that few in Israel get their hopes up more than they can bear for them to be broken once again if this movement goes the way of the others.

      show the best about our people – compassionate, Democratic and honest.

      Puh leeze stop the flag waving & chest thumping. It’s really gross. Even the organizers of the demos have purposely not allowed their movement to be exploited w. the nonsense you’re spouting. They want real change, not flag waving. So cut it out. As for “honest,” there are very few honest souls in Israel esp. in the military, political & corporate elites. “Compassionate?” Tell it to the Palestinians who know a diff. side of Israelis. “Democratic?” Again, this is a movement, not a government, not even a political party. The movement may be democratic, but it doesn’t run the country. So no, the governance of Israel still doesn’t pass the test to be called fully democratic, as I’ve often pointed out here.

      May we succeed in bringing change to Israel (but not the kind of change its haters desire).

      This is like the Oracle at Delphi. What does this mean? Almost nothing. Change, yes. Radical change, that too. Change you would intensely dislike, probably that too. Now if changing Israel into a fully democratic state means “the kind of change its haters desire” then I’m afraid we’re on opposite sides on this one. But the problem is I don’t hate Israel. So I’m afraid you’ll have to recalibrate what it means to be a “hater” of Israel if you “hate” the kinds of changes many progressives who care about the country envision for Israel.

  2. Thanks for posting the essay – is there some point in particular that you can point to as being particularly good or wanting to get a dialogue or debate going?

    Incidentally, your Wikipedia link is to the wrong David Grossman.

    I am pretty sure the author of this piece is not the same David Grossman who is the producer of Desperate Housewives.

  3. I initially dismised the protests as being self-interest and bec. they did not address the occupation.
    Since then I have heard Jeff Halper say that Palestinian Israelis are entering the demonstrations. That is a good thing.
    And in this excellent article – http://972mag.com/tents14/
    “J14 may challenge something deeper than the occupation” the author writes:
    The social justice demonstrations have been accused of ignoring the key issue of the occupation. But their tremendous groundswell of solidarity and cooperation is slowly gnawing at something even more significant than that – the principle of separation, of which the occupation is just one exercise.

    The separation system is so chaotic even its privileges are far from self evident: ultra-Orthodox and settlers are seen as the communities most benefiting from the status quo, but it is important to remember the actual socio-economic standing of both is rather weak, and many in both are not only beneficiaries, but also hostages – the ultra-Orthodox to sectorial parties, the settlers to the occupation.

    And the occupation itself is just an instrument of separation: Its long term purpose is to acquire maximum land with a minimum of Palestinian on it, but for the past 40 years it mainly ensured half the population under the control of a certain government would have no recourse or representation with that government on any level.

    And while the issue of the occupation remains to be engaged with directly in the #j14 movement, the very dynamic of the protests is already gnawing at the foundation on which the occupation rests – the separation axiom. Haggai Matar is a veteran anti-occupation activist, with a prison term for conscientious objection to serve in the IDF and countless West Bank protests under his belt. There are few people in Israel more committed to ending the occupation than him. And yet this is how he writes of yesterday’s rally:

    ‘Odeh Bisharat, the first Arab to address the mass rallies, greeted the enormous audience before him and reminded them that the struggle for social justice has always been the struggle of the Arab community, which has suffered from inequality, discrimination, state-level racism and house demolitions in Ramle, Lod, Jaffa and Al-Araqib. Not only was this met with ovation from a huge crowd of well over a hundred thousand people, but the masses actually chanted: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” And later, in a short clip of interviews from protest camps across the country, Jews and Arabs spoke, and a number of them, including even one religious Jew, repeatedly said that “it’s time for this state to be a state for all its citizens.” A state for all its citizens. As a broad, popular demand. Who would have believed it.’

    It would be seriously far-fetched to assume the protesters are deliberately trying to pull down the entire meshwork of rifts and boundaries. But one of the many unexpected consequences of this movement – indeed, the movement itself is an avalanche of completely unexpected consequences – is that these boundaries are beginning to blur and to seem less relevant than what brings people together.

    We have failed to end the occupation by confronting it head on, but the boundary-breaking, de-segregating movement could, conceivably, undermine it.

    It’s still too soon to tell where the movement will eventually go, and “it can even bring Israel further to the right; it certainly won’t be the first time in history in which social unrest led to the rise of rightwing demagogue – but right now, it is creating a space for a new conversation. Limited as this space may be, it’s so much more than we had just a month ago.”

    The slow erosion of separation lines means there are also possibilities opening up for new conversation about the Jewish-Palestinian divide – including the occupation.

  4. Personally, I think it better to let the J14 demonstrations to develop as they do. Introduce the Palestinian question, and Israelis will react against them. If the demonstrators succeed, it will be good for Palestine. Let’s leave it at that.

  5. The “Left must feel the pain of Gush Katif” thing is a bit ominous, as Grossman doesn’t suggest that the settlers need to feel the pain of anything. It’s easy to see a narrative where Jul14 becomes a narrative of reconciliation and unity among Jews, at the unspoken expense of Palestinians.

    1. Yes, that was my biggest problem w. the essay. I think “feeling the pain” of Gush Katif is bulls(&t frankly. But if he means this in the sense of feeling sorry for settlers who were sold a bill of goods by their gov’t & promised land & benefits in return for living there, & then been sold out by their govt. well, I guess I can feel at least a twinge of sympathy for that. The problem is that 90% of these settlers weren’t naive, & settled there for ideological, rather than economic reasons. For the former, I have no tears.

  6. Public mobilization motivated by social injustice is positive, and once underway no one can predict where and how far it will go. Be patient, after all, home sapiens is homo sapiens, no matter where the geographers draw lines.

    1. I agree with you, but it is hard to be optimistic when Israel just approved 1600 settlement homes in Palestine land.

      1. That’s exactly Bibi’s way of “solving” the housing problem -build 1600 houses in the settlements – what? that’s not good enough for you? That proves that you must be lefties who just want to overthrow me and not solve the housing problem…

        He’ll try again and again (together with Ben Gvir and others) to besmirch the sincere motivation (and problems) of the demonstrators. Unfortunately the die-hard right will believe Bibi and will soon be shouting in unison “Bi-bi Bi-bi” in ecstasy and another Abrushmi may have to be stopped before it’s too late…

  7. I found this a beautiful piece by Grossman. The message of unity, solidarity, dialogue and mutual understanding is inspiring. He describes very well how economics and mass culture affects social cohesion and people’s lives. I don’t know if life used to be better in the old days, but one thing is clear to me: people are becoming increasingly alienated from each other, from their work, family, community and society at large. We need to go back to our neighbourhoods and take responsibility for the affairs of our communities and for the people who are being left behind. The economy should serve the man, and not the other way around.

  8. Grossman is fine until he threw in the nonsense of Gush Katif. These criminals first ripped off the Gazans and then ripped off the Israel tax payer with the astronomical compensation that they were paid. Indeed, the ideologues among were not in it for the money, but many of them were cynical exploiters. Grossman might have some sympathy for the people of Bil’in whose land was stolen or inside Israel for the people in Taibeh who wait eight years for a permit to build a house.

  9. Already the rumors of drugs, wild sex and Lord knows what else are being circulated about the tent cities by you know who. A new Avrushmi will appear soon. BTW here is an interview with the old Avrushmi
    from which I will extract one quote: “People in the street want to kiss both my hands, the hand that pulled out the pin and the hand that threw the grenade. I go to synagogues all over the country, with friends and acquaintances, and I am greeted with admiration everywhere. Even Ashkenazis tell me, ‘congratulations, we admire you.’” I am waiting for the protest movement to say the magic words Occupation , Peace and where the money for their demands must be found.

  10. Israeli protests continue to gain momentum

    Some Arab Israelis have joined the chorus complaining about the country’s ‘corrosive social inequality’.

    Last Modified: 14 Aug 2011

    Demonstrations over the rising cost of living in Israel are showing no sign of running out of steam.

    Tens of thousands of Israelis returned to the streets on Saturday to bolster a protest movement that is gaining increasing support across the country.

    Its social justice message is finding support with some Arab Israelis, whose backing is crucial if the movement is to shake off its urban middle class tag.

    Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from Be’er Sheva.

    Source: Al Jazeera

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