Justice. Social Protest. Um- Whatever.

August 14, 2011

Watch THIS short CNN clip, or else just guess what I’m writing about…

 

Let’s see if I can put my disorganized thoughts into logical sentences:

At first I thought all these tents would fall apart within a few days because there’s no way anyone would take that seriously. They didn’t make any claims. Nobody knew what exactly they were complaining about and it seemed more like a spontaneous summer camp in the middle of a city rather than some big social demand for justice (whatever that word means to these people).

But then, more people signed up for camp, and soon enough, the whole damn country was going to camp, and soon they even started writing their own camp hymns and songs, and somewhere around the 3rd week or so we started to hear a demand here and there.

Let’s see, I heard something about the expensive rent that people are paying in Tel Aviv. Then I heard the kindergartens there are also expensive. Then the political left got involved. And camp froze. This was the first time a social protest hadn’t been assigned a hand. Was this a protest of those people with a watch on their right hand or the people without a watch on their left? Anyways, the left joined in. The right stayed out. For about 5 whole minutes till they realized that the left held out and hadn’t milked the cow yet.

So then the doctors remembered (50 years later )that they’re being mistreated and hopped on over to the barn. And soon enough, there was not a single individual in the state of 7 million that didn’t have some connection to this agricultural summer camp. By now of course the cow is dead, how much milking can one cow suffer?

And then, when I counted up the numbers and realized that everyone, literally all different sides of the political scale were complaining, I thought to myself- this democracy thing is actually working. It’s not that someone is feeding off the other. It seems we’re all suffering equally. I mean, they’re all protesting at the same protests- on the same side of the street, with the same slogans. They’re sharing tents.

So, I ask myself, what exactly can be a positive end to this summer camp? When all the parents come to pick up their kids, what can the councilors do so that the kids will tell their parents they had a great time? Should they lower the rent? Cause then the owners will be mad. Should they lower the taxes? Cause then people will be laid off and they won’t be happy. Should they pay the doctors more? Well, yes actually.

Finally, the million dollar question: are we being lied to? We’re told this is a social protest. A people’s cry for justice and welfare. But who are these people protesting for? Who are they demanding welfare for? FOR THEMSELVES. Hardly the altruism one would expect from people flaunting around the word ‘justice’ as if it were the word ‘and’. Hardly reasonable coming from people crying about capitalism and the free market.

Um, excuse me assholes– you’re so busy crying about yourselves that you haven’t even taken a moment to realize that the guy crying next to you is crying for the exact opposite thing in the same protest?

But, you know what? That’s not actually why they’re assholes. It’s not because they lied about it being a social protest. It’s not because they’re confused. It’s not because they’re getting louder now that summer camp is about to end.

It’s because NONE OF THOSE THINGS ACTUALLY MATTER. Even before I went to medical school, in my heart I always knew that putting a Band-Aid on a patient that just had a limb chopped off, simply won’t cut it. It’s easier, it looks nicer, it’s cheaper, lets us walk away quickly as heroes before the whole thing explodes, but hey- doesn’t really solve the original problem.

Oh No!! Can I really be saying that all these hundreds of thousands of people are so stupid that in all their yelling they don’t even know what the problem is??? Yes. I’m really saying it.

You know why taxes are high? You know who doesn’t pay high rent? You know who has subsidized transportation and education?You know whose paying for all of it?

I think you do.

And you know who has the highest unemployment rate in the world? Who doesn’t have the healthcare we’re complaining about? Who isn’t allowed to transport where s/he wants to go? And whose responsible but isn’t paying for it?

I think you do.

And if you don’t, it’s probably because those songs from summer camp have a much nicer tune to them.

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If Children Are The Future, The Future Will Be Bloody

March 9, 2011
  • Child Arrests are the single most detrimental part of the occupation.

(videos of child arrests in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh can be found on Joseph Dana’s blog, here)

How someone with the IQ of at least an earthworm, can’t figure out on his own that arresting mass amounts of 12-16 year olds in the middle of the night, not only doesn’t deter them, but in fact forces them to actively resist the occupation, is a mystery to me.

Though in itself, the fact that the young generation engages in resistance to an illegal, oppressive and dehumanizing force is not a bad thing, it is well to remember that this engagement manifests itself in one of 2 ways: Violent, or non-Violent.

When (never-o.k-in-my-book) violent, it simply helps propagate the stereotyping of Palestinians as the terrorist enemy. It often results in these kids giving their lives for the cause and presents a convenient excuse for the vicious cycle of their arrests to continue.

When (commendably) non-violent, it’s deemed illegal by the Israeli authorities, therefore leading to more arrests and, once again, not allowing these children any way out of the vicious cycle.

For one, because it sends a message to the younger children, that chose to engage in non-violent resistance, that this is a dead end. It furthermore once again actively pushes these kids into practicing violent forms of resistance.

(I refuse to open the ‘what constitutes violence’ question. Mainly because I see no point trying to explain to racist bigots that stone-throwing is not in the same ball park as tanks, live ammunition and excessive amounts of tear gas).

  • To complete the picture is the ‘difficult-to-grasp’ Israeli ignorant-arrogance.

It is what allows a majority of Israel’s 7 million citizens to remain uneducated, unaware, racist, narrow-minded, militaristic and oppressive.

The non-violent resistant grassroots are the forefront of the optimistic belief that positive change can happen.

 

It is essential. It is commendable. It is invaluable.

Bilin, 18/02/2011 (Photo: Tahel Ilan)

 


When Vaginas Are Politicized

January 25, 2011

22 year old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem has been indicted of either rape (in the Hebrew version)  or sexual assault (in the English version)- but, as you can see, the “main” crime he was indicted for, is apparently not the main issue. Not for the media, and better yet- not for the court of law.

Thus goes the article:

According to the charge sheet, Abu Zabarg pretended to be a Jewish 19-year-old named Amir. He allegedly sexually assaulted the girl on several occasions in his car and in hotel rooms.

So, before even accusing this man of sexual assault/rape, he is accused of impersonating a Jew. Something, that in the state of Israel, apparently takes precedent over sex crimes against women.

And this is yet another case, in which Israeli women rights are shoved aside, in order to advance government policy that dictates doing anything and everything to paint anyone that is not a white Jew as an enemy of the state and of the people.

Of course, this case is reminiscent of the demonstrations held just a few weeks back in the Israeli city of Bat Yam, in which white Jewish men stood from both sides of the street and yelled at each other who they think Jewish women should be allowed to date. It’s of course ‘understandable’ why the religious guys were there, but why was the Israeli Left there? Because, once again, it was an opportunity to shove aside women and belittle them in order to make a political point.

(Let it be noted, that had those religious Jews said “Non-Jewish Italians” instead of “Arabs”, I remain skeptical as to whether the Left would have gotten off the couch for that).

Speaking of these cases, this reminds me of the the Transportation Ministry recently being taken to court, over a decision to force women to sit at the back of the bus, since religious men don’t agree for them to sit up front. What does the court do? Say that it’s technically not legal, so they can’t officially approve of this by law, but no worries! They made up for it by stating that even though it isn’t legally Kosher, they officially recommend that be the course of action, and that women should willingly sit at the back of the bus.

On some buses, not only are women sitting in the back, they are sitting behind shower curtains separating them from the men up front.

Women Rights in Israel? I think not.


Things Worth A Quack!

January 21, 2011

Israeli Left Needs To Zoom Out, Not In

January 18, 2011

It seems Ehud Barak’s desertion of  Labor yesterday, along with 4 other members, has sent the left into a frenzy. Hold it right there!

(1) Now would be a good time for the left to realize that the one person we should want to remain in the government is Avigdor Liberman- seeing as he’s the only right-wing member of knesset, that does not need to blow up hundreds of Palestinians in order to win more votes. Unlike Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu, Liberman, by simply opening his mouth, gains a few more.

Which is why its time for the Left to realize that we may in fact want to stop concentrating on the damage he says he will do, and start focusing on the damage Barak and Bibi are doing.

(2) And though everyone on the left is all excited about going to elections because it seems everyone will get to run with their own party- Burg, Peretz, National Left (whoever is delusional enough to think they aren’t fascists) and Ha-atsmaut (‘independence’- for the other kind of delusional voters that consider that movement center or left)- hold your horses!

Focus fellow-left wingers! Remember reality? Remember that a majority of voters in Israel are center-right?

So how about instead of focusing our energy on forming our own little niches in parliament, we all put that aside for now and focus our energy on trying to change public opinion.

First we need to move some voters to the left, there will be plenty of time later to argue over who gets them.


What Ehud Barak Meant To Me

January 17, 2011

Nothing.

(OK, not nothing, he’s a war-criminal after all–> Gaza. Caution: very graphic video).

Next on the agenda: the question on my mind this Monday morning:

Is it still taboo to declare yourself a post-zionist?

I guess first we need to establish whether it was ever taboo in the first place.

I’ll give you a moment.

Good, now that we’ve concluded it was taboo, question is if it still is and if so- should i declare myself a post-zionist in public?

Seeing as I’ve just done that, case closed.

Of course, one could ask- were you ever actually a zionist?

To which my answer would be: Yes. (hopefully I get points for that!)

So, what does a post-zionist look like, you ask?

Like this:

Nah, that’s actually a pre-zionist (they’re a bit behind in the times, in case the rest of their lifestyle wasn’t a give-away).

This is what a post-zionist looks like:

At least in that neighborhood…

To the very least like this:

But wait! We’ve seen Pre and Post Zionists, what does an actual Zionist look like?

Once upon a time like this:

Today, more along this line:

Or this line:

This was rather fun!


Book Review

January 9, 2011

My thoughts on ‘Overcoming Speechlessness’ By Alice Walker

Over the past 6 months I have read the following books by Alice Walker:

Meridian, The Color Purple, Third Life of Grange Copeland, Possessing the Secret of Joy, In Love and Trouble, You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, Now is the Time to Open Your Heart, The Temple of my Familiar, By the Light of my Father’s Smile (my favorite of them all!)

Last night I finished reading her short and most recent publication ‘Overcoming Speechlessness“, in which she relays experiences she had while visiting Rwanda and Gaza, mostly though, from her visit to Gaza as part of a CODEPINK mission following the events that took place there 2 years ago- events some will call war and some a massacre- but that indisputably left hundreds of unarmed men, women and children dead.

Ms. Walker’s books have always been a “must read” as far as I’m concerned. You are not fully educated and can not fully and definitively shape your morals without exposing yourself to a vast volume of her writings, in my humble opinion.

Why do I feel this way? Because the beauty of her prose, to me, is the simplicity with which she is able to capture events and relay them compassionately, yet rationally, back to the reader.

But last night, as I was reading ‘Overcoming Speechlessness’ (OS) something changed and I am wondering: was it Alice or was it me? The answer is the latter.

For any Israeli-Jew, regardless of our personal take on the conflict, reading OS, I guarantee, will be a difficult task.

Accepting harsh criticism, from an outsider that doesn’t even take a moment to differentiate between me and my govt. and acknowledge that I personally may in fact be a moral human being, is something that, at least for me, isn’t always easy to accept and let slide by.

So, instead of giving up, I lay down the book many a-time and repeatedly asked myself:

  • did the events she is relating to really happen? yes.
  • is her criticism of them appropriate? yes.

I flip the page.

But, those weren’t the hard questions, the hardest questions lay a level deeper:

  • is she, at times, blowing the events out of proportion? Yes. Writing a book about Rwanda and Gaza, in which you emphasize Gaza much more and paint it in the same light, is something I’m not sure I can fully come to terms with. From my amateur-yet-vast readings on Rwandan history and the genocide and my knowledge of the conflict I grew up in, the comparison of events that took place there, to the ones occurring in Gaza, hardly seems fair to me from either side- the Palestinian and Israeli. Hundreds of thousands of people aren’t being butchered with machetes. Pregnant women aren’t being opened up with knives. Children aren’t being made to watch soldiers rape their mothers and sisters.
  • is she getting all of her facts straight? No. And whilst there’s no point going one by one and disputing them, I’ll just mention one: as mad as one can be at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian Refugee camps’ massacre in 1982 during the Lebanon War, and at Israel for it’s role in it- one, out of honesty to one’s morals, can’t solely blame Israel for it, just as one can’t blame the world as the primary murderer of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, even though we allowed for it to happen, fueled it and stood by watching.

Yet, regardless of these 2 points, when finally considering the big picture- do I recommended that others read the book? Yes.

It’s a challenge, its offensive and especially to those of us that don’t support Israel’s policy in the occupied territories, yet are still being grouped by Ms. Walker into the same unethical mob as our Racist govt. is. But, if you can get through it (her writing flows as good as always) and see the big picture, you will find yourself flipping over the last page and realizing that you are once again on Ms. Walker’s side, and you will forgive her for her trespassing into your sacred zone of dignity.