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The real importance of the tent protest

Protester wearing an unofficial IDF T-shirt detained by police after march for social justice (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills)

Last week, my colleagues Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein reported about the harsh treatment some of protesters got from the hand of the police following the previous social justice rally in Tel Aviv. While I don’t ignore the importance of such incidents, they might make one miss the essence of the tent protest.

Unlike in Syria or Libya, where dictators slaughter their own citizens by the hundreds, it was never oppression that held the social order in Israel together, as far as the Jewish society was concerned. It was indoctrination – a dominant ideology, to use a term preferred by critical theorists. And it was this cultural order that was dented in this round of protests. For the first time, a major part of the Jewish middle class—it’s too early to estimate how large is this group—recognized their problem not with other Israelis, or with the Arabs, or with a certain politician, but with the entire social order. With the entire system. In this sense, it’s a unique event in Israel’s history.

This is why this protest has such tremendous potential. This is also the reason that we shouldn’t just watch for the immediate political fallout—I don’t think we will see the government fall any time soon—but for the long term consequences, the undercurrent, which is sure to arrive.

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    1. @Noam – Kudos. This is the element I find many commentators to missing:

      “For the first time, a major part of the Jewish middle class—it’s too early to estimate how large is this group—recognized their problem not with other Israelis, or with the Arabs, or with a certain politician, but with the entire social order. With the entire system. In this sense, it’s a unique event in Israel’s history.”

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    2. Ben Israel

      I find this fascination the Left-Progressives with “revolution” and “Mass uprisings” to be quite interesting. Very romantic. Who was the English writer who wrote about the French Revolution that it was exciting to alive then but to be young was heaven? Of course, after than we had the “Committe for Public Safety”, the Terror and Napolean and his wars.
      Then there was the Russian Revolution. Same enthusiasm. How many Jewish young people got wrapped up in that one? There was a kibbutz in Israel in the 1920’s that finally decided they had to go back to their own “true socialist homeland” and build a communal farm there. Withing a few years, Stalin had liquidated half, and shortly after Hitler liquidated the other half. Too bad they didn’t stay here. So many idealistic young Jews threw their lives away on that one.
      The one big revolution that did make a difference and improved millions of peoples lives without bloodshed was the fall of the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe, but it is important to remember IT WAS NOT A MASS UPRISING from below. It was a revolution from above in which the ruling clique finally came to the conclusion that it was not worth holding on to the old system.
      Regarding the uprising in Tunisia and Egypt…it is unclear whether new, democratic regimes will arise which will improve peoples lives or not.
      Obviously, the situation here is different. We are not in danger of falling into a totalitarian dictatorship. There are real grievances…I share many of them. There is a vital need to improve democracy here (getting rid of the unbelievably corrupt “primaries system” for choosing candidates in the various political parties is a start as well as going to a constituency system for electing the Knesset) but there isn’t going to any massive overhaul of the system like many of the Left/Progressives want. Most people are conservative, most people have bad memories of the corrupt, degenerate socialist system that that retarded Israel’s development for decades. I suggest everyone maintain a clear perspective on what is happening and not get carried away.

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    3. L.Borg

      Long live the rebellion in Israel and all places in the world. Stay the flame of revolt burning! This is a proof which the class struggle haven’t borders!

      Greethings from Brazil!

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