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  • Beyond protest: War and the Israeli Left

    This article first appeared in Dissent Magazine. Many Israelis who define themselves as “on the left” (about 20 percent of the population on a good day) support Operation Protective Edge. It’s a small and lonely subset that is both left wing and opposes the war. Over the last month, this little constituency has faithfully staged demonstrations of a few hundred—with last Saturday’s rally reaching somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000, by organizers’ estimates—and has written articles of protest. But the demonstrators tend to use such general slogans as “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” or “No, no, we won’t let…

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  • Israeli MK incites violence against leftists, Palestinians

    It is reassuring to know that in Israel everyone can have their voice heard. Thus, an Israeli anti-war demonstration held last Thursday was countered by a rally supporting the military operation in Gaza by Israeli forces. But there should be a limit on free speech, especially when some of those voices are calling for violence against others. In developed societies, incitement to violence is a punishable offense. Israel's standards should be no different. During Thursday's rally, right-wing Israeli member of Knesset Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) is seen encouraging the chanting crowd with phrases like, "leftist traitors," and "leftists out." He then…

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  • Poll: Despite smears, left's brand has not been damaged

    According to a couple of new polls conducted by the Meretz Party, 18-19 percent of Israeli Jews identify themselves as 'leftists.' The party's recently elected leader, Zehava Galon, is hopeful regarding the chances to 'bring them home.' Yossi Gurvitz and I met with Meretz's leader, Zehava Galon this week. The most left-wing Jewish party fell from a peak of 12 Knesset seats in 1992 to an all-time-low of three MKs in the last elections. Galon herself was left out of the Knesset, but the resignation of the former party leader Haim Oron in March 2011 allowed her back. She was elected…

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  • Israeli and international radical left: Time for a divorce

    Why the ad hoc alliance with international left activists is unhelpful to the Israeli left, and should end One of the phenomena characterizing the coverage of the J14 protests from the beginning was the long faces of a significant number of notable international peace activists. But…but… but you’re not talking about the occupation, they demanded of the marching Israelis. They were soundly ignored, the protest became a mass success, and they became much more bitter. At one point – it was during the third or fourth week of the protests – one of them wrote it was a struggle “about…

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  • Denounce! The self-purification practice of the Left

    By Ofri Ilani | Published originally on Eretz Haemori, translated from Hebrew by Dimi Reider Q: When did you renounce opposition opinions, before or after Zinoviev sent his last letter of remorse to the party? A: My recognition of the opposition's mistakes was gradual, but Zinoviev's last letter certainly made the call. […] Q: Under which circumstances did you come together with Kutuzov? A: Kutuzov informed me there was an article by Trotsky about the Russian-British Council. I took a look… Q: What can you say now about your second letter of remorse, in which you claimed you had no…

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  • Myth of Good Israel vs. Bad Israel: Where were the Left MKs?

    Where was "the peace camp" when the Knesset decided to probe human rights NGOs? As the Knesset is passing one undemocratic law after the other, many people ask themselves where is the famous Israeli Left. I have long argued that supporting the two-states solution (as many Israelis say they do) doesn't necessarily relate to support of human rights, freedom, equality before the law and other democratic values. Only a small minority in Israel is still fighting for those issues. Outsiders, especially from the Jewish-Liberal camp, tend to exaggerate the role the left plays in Israeli politics, and to downplay the…

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