Update - oh my, please do watch the fantastic video below, a musical remix of the shouts of protesters and an astonishingly blind-deaf-and-dumb interview given recently by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Yesterday, I wrote about the social protests that started in Israel on July 14 (please also read the comments on that post — one reader mentioned the insane and noxious anti-boycott law, which had somehow slipped my mind), and I promised that today I would get into why I’m cautiously, if barely, optimistic that the protests will bear fruit.
But first, a reminder of the social unrest underway across the globe:
- London, of course, is burning, apparently no longer literally but certainly figuratively. (If you’re interested in sorting that out a little, my dear friend Shaun provided me with these two links, both of which have helped me: Panic on the streets of London, by Laurie Penny, a blogger highly recommended by Shaun, and Caring costs – but so do riots, in The Independent, by Camila Batmanghelidjh).
- The Arab world is up in arms, in countries far-flung (Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain) and literally on Israel’s doorstep (Egypt and Syria).
- Students in Chile are demanding education reform, and they and their supporters have been clashing with police in huge numbers.
- And then there’s Israel, where one day saw some 300,000 protesters in the streets.
- And probably other unrest that hasn’t even crossed my radar yet.
As I wrote yesterday: These protests are not about the occupation, aka Israel’s greatest unresolved dysfunction. I firmly believe that unless and until the occupation is resolved (which is to say: ended), any fixes within Israeli society will merely slow its decline, not stop it. If Israel doesn’t close down the occupation — doesn’t stop investing in a permanent state of war in order to protect its on-going investment in the homes it builds on someone else’s land — Israel with wind up being another on the long list of Jewish disasters, no matter how the social protests turn out.
Having said that, I have a certain, limited sense of optimism that the protests could lead to good things, both in terms of the country’s various social inequities, and the occupation. With the understanding that everything I say below is a guess based at least in part in my gut, I’ll now tell you why: