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From #J14, through #Occupy-WallStreet, to #Globalchange - be proud

These are great times to be an Israeli and an American, when peoples of both nations are fighting capitalism gone wild

Over two years ago I decided to start blogging. I called my blog “Half & Half” (which I later on moved to +972) because of the feeling I had of being half American (born to American parents) and half Israeli (born and raised in Israel). It’s always been a feeling that ran somewhere between “cool” to “confusing.” Now, that duality is kicking in once again. This past summer has been one of the most interesting and exciting I’ve ever encountered, thanks to the #J14 social protests. They made me proud of my homeland again.

4 weeks into the #OccupyWallStreet protests in New York, and I’m feeling proud to be an American. Proud that my brothers in the States are getting off their couches and heading to the streets, fighting the fiercest enemy out there today – capitalism gone wild.

A few weeks ago, on September 17th, when #OccupyWallStreet began, I went to a rally in Tel Aviv to show solidarity for New Yorkers. There were only about 50 people there. Nobody seemed to understand the potential #OccupyWallStreet had back then.

Finally, people and media, in Israel and abroad, are starting to get it.

The similarities between #J14 and #OccupyWallStreet are uncanny. The tents in Zucatti park and Rothschild; the media center; the food donations; the absence of a coherent message (there doesn’t need to be!); the absence of a list of demands (there doesn’t need to be!); the lack of leadership (the true advantage!); the mocking of the protesters (MK’s calling us “nargila smokers”, Repulicans calling New Yorkers “hippies”); the slow yet steady growth in numbers of demos and protesters; the slow and steady rise in media coverage; the unions joining in (and Ofer Eini as well) but not in leading roles; the politicians who still have no clue what to say or how to react; and most importantly: the non violent civil disobedience.

There are a few differences as well. There’s no NY version of Daphni Leef, for example. There’s cold weather already in NY, which would have scared many Israelis off Rothschild (probably). Israelis began with demands for better housing conditions, and then slowly reached the much more holistic “social justice.” The Americans right now seem to be a fairly young crowd concerned mainly with student loans.

But the message about capitalism gone wild is slowly seeping through from the crowds on the streets, through the televisions, all the way to those who are thinking about getting off the couch themselves. And they will. Just as we did here during #J14.

The people are understanding that now is the time to judge the morals and ethics of capitalism.

Demonstrators in New York (Photo: Mairav Zonszein)

And all this is happening just in time for #globalchange day, on October 15 – the day when “people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares. From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy.”

These are amazing times. In America, #OccupyWallStreet has spread to 50 cities. If you haven’t joined a demo yet, do it now (it’ll be hard for you guys to reach the 7% of Israelis who took to the streets in Israel – that would be about 15 million Americans – but I’m rootin’ for ya).

And I’ll see you all, wherever you are, on October 15th.

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    1. a

      Regardless of the fact that you were born to American parents, Ami, please get this into your head: we are nothing like you. Your bourgeoise J14 protests that called for more economic power to the Zionist Jewish middle class in Israel are nothing like the movements taking place in the US that have taken up the slogan “we are the 99 percent”. The J14 protests could be summed up as, “we are the 60 percent”. The 60 percent of Jews living behind the green line and in the West Bank who demonstrated for more privilge in an ochlocracy that already privileges this very class.

      Reply to Comment
    2. How about you get this into your (“A” for “anonymous”? scared to mention your name?) head (regardless of the fact that you’re an arrogant prick): they’re the exact same movement.
      Here, on +972, I have the right to write about the crimes of occupation AND of capitalism – and you can’t deny me of that.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bryan

      @A: You are an arrogant schmuck! And, it’s comments like yours that make Jews and Israelis nervous that your concerns are more about destroying Israel than about building a Palestinian state.

      The J14 protests were about social justice and economic equality. Throwing around words like Zionist and Jewish that you seem to consider insults doesn’t negate that. The fact is that the OWS protest has more in common with J14 than it does with the Arab Spring.

      Reply to Comment
    4. A

      Actually, I am because I live in the West Bank, and can be deported by the “defense” forces. By the way, i find it fascinating that I am the arrogant prick when you believe in ethnic superiority; chauvinist and arrogant prick are synonymous!

      I am not attempting to deny you the ability to post about whatever you want, after all this is your blog. However, I think that a little more nuance is important. What I am asking is, would a slogan such as “we are the 99 percent”, THE slogan of the US protests ever fly in J14? No way!

      Also, good response to my critique of your post, really a strong argument you crafted there.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Max

      Calling your post a ‘critique’ is generous beyond sense, A. It’s just vitriol.

      Reply to Comment
    6. A

      Hey Bryan, I am Jewish, so please don’t play that card–the fact that you would think that I was in
      any way insulting Jews is absolutely ridiculous, and is more telling about you than it is about me.

      Let’s call a spade a spade: the J14 protests were by and large about social and economic justice for Jews.

      Finally, where did this comparison to the Arab spring come from? Baffling.

      Reply to Comment
    7. A

      @Max, because being called arrogant schmuck and vitriolic is critique right?


      Reply to Comment
    8. @A – you started with the arrogant “get it into your head” lingo. try to take responsibility for it. If you can’t take the heat, don’t go into the kitchen.
      The #J14, as you obviously did not know, was for Arabs as well, who took part in the protests. But go ahead with the ignorance.
      And calling me an ethnic chauvinist not only shows you have never read anything I’ve ever written on +972, it also gets you banned from my channel. Prick 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    9. Don’t let yourselves get distracted. A can hold his views, so long as he doesn’t seek to intentionally disrupt others’ good efforts. (Maybe that is what is attempted, I don’t know.)

      The substantive message of common cause between ethnically, culturally, even classes around issues that are not ethnic issues, IS the way that a democratic, egalatarian, participatory society occurs.

      It is anarchy in practice, mutual aid, MORE than confrontation or ruckus are anarchy (as ruckus is done by fascists and self-defined anarchists alike).

      Both the J14 and #occupy# movements, have to keep their eye on the prize, to articulate alternative principles, criteria, and applications, so that a confident choice is possible.

      Ironically, a successful J14 movement, will further Palestinian health, dignity, social justice, MORE than a successful confrontational approach (that alienates 3 for every 1 that it convinces – and that one is the same one over and over and over, counted each time)

      Reply to Comment
    10. A

      I find this all kind of pointless, because as Chomsky said in his most recent interview, Zionism is on it’s way out. Good riddance.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Shelly

      I so agree with your optimism. As someone who was a young adult during the sixties (my good fortune!) I always wondered if the “ME” generation would ever get off the couch and protest against gross inqualities, unncessary wars, and the myriad of other injustices that abound in our daily lives. Here and abroad.

      “The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

      Reply to Comment
    12. Henry Weinstein

      OCCUPY Wall Street?!
      Sounds like another Zionist conspiracy…

      Reply to Comment
    13. Amir.BK

      Ha, A you are a barell of fun.

      An American national categorizing American protests as not bourgoisie and not exclusive while the israeli ones are of course racists,

      we might be the 60% (not that I took part in the J14 movement for that purpose) but for that purpose you guys are the 20%, your prosperity is directly linked to the economic opression of 5 billion people living on this planet. Each american citizen consumes enough resources during his life time to keep 10 third-worlders happy.

      Your bourgoisie notion of egalitarianism is nonsensical. The #J14 and OWA movements are similar, not in their virtue but in their absurdity! you are attempting to exclude israelis not because their protests were actually any different but because you wish to forgot that the criticism you’ve raised against their protests can be mounted against yours.

      Bourgoisie twats looking for a bigger piece of the pie.

      Or maybe your protests are for the 99% that pay 33% of the 60% percent’s occupation?

      You want better imperialism, the israelis want better colonialism, i hope that the band aid feels good on the gaping wound that is your conscience.

      Reply to Comment
    14. momo

      @A – Hmm, yeah I know your type. You live in little nice activist enclaves in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Nablus. You think walking around with a keffiyah means your “down” with the Palestinian people, even though your arabic in abominable and you actually no nothing about what life is *actually* like for most people. You make wildly abstract generalizations about both Palestinians and Israelis. And then you go back to the USA or Europe and pretend to be some kind of expert. Laaaaammmeeeee

      Reply to Comment
    15. a

      Actually Amir, you make a good point and i agree with everything you said. For the record I am not a part of either movement, and if the OWS movement is for better imperialism then of course i dont support it, but i dont think that you can say the goals of the movement are to strengthen the american economy through more imperialism, at least that’s not what i’ve heard from people.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Amir.BK

      And you can’t really say that the #J14 movement was looking to improve the economic conditions of Israeli jews through more occupation and apartheid and yet it was criticized for not opposing them explicipitly. The OWS is not inherently different.

      Reply to Comment
    17. A

      Hey Momo, i dont culturally appropriate the Kuffiyeh like Zionism has culturally appropriated every Palestinian food as well as that stupid blue and white kufiyeh. Neither do I make wildly abstract generalizations about any people.

      Funny you mention wildly abstract generalizations given that your entire rant is one.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Mordechai ben Yosef

      Alright kids. Let’s stop the pissing contest. Ami, please don’t threaten to take your ball and go home, and stop using “prick” as an insult. I have one and enjoy it. In my religion, we sacrifice a piece of this revered organ to make a deal with God.
      A, your attacks on J14 are the same that are used against OWS. I was at the Boston site where there was criticism of the lack of Latino and African American participants. In other words, it is a white middle class movement.This is probably true as was your observations about J14. This does not invalidate either movement. Israeli economic crisis is a result of militarization and occupation. Israeli Jews will understand this in greater numbers as the crisis deepens and the movement develops.Even if Israelis participated in J14 solely on because of their economic needs, this is where fundamental change always begins.The push for just peace will come not from a moral view, but from a survival view. As the American economic crisis deepens and the movement develops, working people and minorities will join. This is how popular movements develop. Ami and A are not so far apart. Amir.BK is the real skunk here. He writes off both movements as “absurd.”

      Reply to Comment
    19. Joshua Frost

      M. Ben Y., thank you for talking some sense, and to those of all faiths I wish a great new year (or midyear or whereever you are on your cycle).

      Reply to Comment
    20. Amir.BK

      Once again, Liberal activists are opening the champagne bottle before the race has even begun.

      Another similarity between #J14 and OWS I can now put my figners on is that not supporting either movement 100% makes you a traitor. For liberal movements I can definitely see the strands of fascism taking shape.

      I support the alleged goals of your movements but none of your methodology, furthermore, I believe these are movements masquerading as egalitarian while in fact they’re By The Privileged For the Privileged.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Mordechai ben Yosef


      Now its the methodology, whatever that means. Before it was the class nature of the privileged participants.I’m sure you will have no problems continuing to find fault with the first mass movement to challenge the US financial structure in many years, and the largest movement to occur in Israel challenging its government in years. As I stated previously, there are serious problems with both movements. But to view them as supporting colonialism and imperialism is the same ultra leftist(or maybe ultra rightest) crap that has weakened mass progressive movements throughout the past century.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Amir.BK

      Keep those celebrations going.

      As always it’s the detractors fault, like in #J14, those who didn’t participate ruined it for everyone, same here.

      In the end of the day once your protests manages to get a 2% tax break in student loans for privileged white students you’ll still get to point your finger and blame ‘people like me’. but please, dress like darth vader and hold a sign saying you’re as evil as capitalism or something, it’s revolution baby.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Amir.BK

      I literally heard all the same crap about #J14, some people around these parts are still convinced Daphny Leef will talk about the occupation ANY MINUTE NOW.

      Reply to Comment
    24. A

      Amir thank you for your commentary. While I understand and support much of what you’ve said, the one difference I can see in the movements is at least there is a General Assembly in Occupy Wall Street where anyone can speak. This is not to say that there aren’t huge problems with talking about the the system in the GA from a non-privileged position, but it’s better than j14 led by Leef. Only time will tell if OWS champions the input from anti-imperialists and non-white individuals.

      Reply to Comment
    25. There were also GA’s in J14.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Amir-Ras

      A: As Ami said, all of this stuff actually happened in #J14. To be honest there was also some pretty prominent discussion of the ‘occupation issue’, examples such as #tent1948 or even the presence of hadash activists in the main rallies calling “yehudim vearavim mesarvim lihiot oivim” (jews and arabs refuse to be enemies).

      This all happened and it was all there, so the subjects weren’t so much ignored as that they weren’t important enough for most involved, including the movement’s centrist-zionist leadership.

      All in all both movements are very similar in my opinion.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Mordechai ben Yosef

      Now we have Ami, Amir and A (we know triple A is the highest quality)bickering over form. Content is pretty much ignored.Is Israeli economic crisis related to occupation and militarization? While there are a few Israelis getting rich from this (1%), 99% pay dearly in taxes, deteriorating public services, and blood.If Leef doesn’t address this connection, than Leef becomes irrelevant. If OWS doesn’t address the connection between student debt load (actually a minor issue of OWS) and US wars and financial structure, than it becomes irrelevant. The important point is that there are movements,people in the street, about issues that are connected to the major contradictions of our era.These movements and their leadership will evolve. We all have choice. We can be supportive and try and move things to higher level, which I think Ami is trying to do, or we can sit back and criticize like Amir, which has always been the refuge of those avoiding participation.

      Reply to Comment
    28. AMIR.BK

      Oh please Mordechai, don’t let us waste your time with our senseless bickering (that actually managed to change the opinion of a detractor of #J14 into a more favorable view, fyi) I’m sure you have some revolution somewhere waiting for you, better things to do for certain.

      We’ll just continue splitting hairs here if it’s all the same to you.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Moredechai ben Yosef

      Clarification: The Amir I referred to in my previous post is Amir-BK not Amir RAS which appear to be different people.

      Reply to Comment
    30. A

      Actually i’m just more critical of OWS now.

      Reply to Comment
    31. AMIR.BK

      Hahah, oh well!

      Sorry folks 😛

      Reply to Comment
    32. AMIR.BK

      Mordechai – Actually I’m the same poster. same dude same opinions.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Mordechai ben Yosef

      I prefer Amir-RAS.

      Reply to Comment
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