After the 2008 global financial crisis, some of Israel’s neo-liberal fundamentalists sobered up from capitalist dogmatism and became ‘social.’ This led them to discovering Scandinavia, and lately they have been busy marketing a biased and union-free capitalist version of the ‘Nordic Model’ in Israel as well.
By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey, Edited by Ami Asher)
It is interesting to follow the socioeconomic discourse in Israel as it developed over the past three decades. To see how the social-democratic dictionary and debate, which had previously been the province of few – a discourse revolving around values such as social justice, solidarity and collective responsibility adopted in the Nordic welfare state model – was partially appropriated and adopted by the establishment media. There were days when this discourse would be subject to heaps of contempt and mockery on the part of the neoliberal economy media, which treated anybody daring to express ideas such as social justice and social-democracy as economic ignoramuses, dogmatists and ideologists, whose vision was to turn Israel into the Stalinist Soviet Union.
Mainstream neo-liberal media included, at the time, many zealot followers like Guy Rolnik, who served at the time as economic correspondent in the IDF Radio. I recall the weekly public service broadcasts in favor of capitalists and rouge capitalism in the program “A Brief Hour about Economy,” edited and delivered at the station by the senior Haaretz economic correspondent and commentator, Avraham Tal. I recall the daily preaching for privatization, social budget cuts and deregulation to which many others in the established media were partners – but were no more than provincial copycats of their Reaganist and Thatcherite ideological allies. In recent years, particularly after the 2008 global crisis and more so since the 2011 social protest in Israel, some of these zealots have been undergoing ideological rehab, suddenly digging up the social dimension of the economy, and announcing the amazing discovery that the economy should serve society, not the other way round. The funny thing is how quickly those fickle public opinion leaders are appropriating a progressive social discourse without a word of apology or remorse. I’m not complaining, though. I can only wish them full and successful rehab without too many withdrawal symptoms.
About six months ago, on the ruins...Read More