Israeli Social Justice Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman
Ongoing since mid-July, America's media hardly notice, but indeed care as evidenced by their silence to suppress mass outrage over longstanding social injustice Israelis want changed.
What US print and broadcast media won't report, Israeli and other sources cover extensively, because what's ongoing is too significant to ignore. Happening at the same time across the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere, it's just a matter of time before it erupts in America, most often a late bloomer.
However, when intolerable conditions reach a breaking point, people react, and without redress, do it violently.
So far in Israel, mass outrage has been contained. How much longer is at issue under a government that spurns them. It's much like in America where the corrupted two-party duopoly serves wealth and power only, ignoring growing need that sooner or later will explode.
It's high time it happened sooner before distress conditions surge past intolerable to uncontainable, because of shocking unaddressed levels of rising poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and human misery - a ticking bomb revolutions are made of.
Trends analyst Gerald Celente believes neoliberalized Industrial Revolution policies can't work in the new century, saying:
"It's not just Model T economics that's outmoded, so are our approaches to education, politics and yes, the military. The old adage (that) 'Generals fight the last war' is as valid as ever. While the technology may have changed, the mindset hasn't."
So while old unwinnable wars rage, new ones start, drag on endlessly, draining the federal treasury, at the expense of public need and good government.
Celente believes direct democracy is essential, saying:
"The government/political 'system' in place in America, and throughout much of the world, is obsolete and irreparable. The inept generals masterminding lost-cause wars are (matched) by (corrupt) senators and representatives in Congress."
As a result, representative democracy "is a cruel sham; it's neither 'representative' nor 'democratic,' and people are" wising up to it as evidenced by poll numbers.
Therein lies the possibility for change, "real change, not Obama (Netanyahu/Cameron/Sarkozy/Merkel, Berlusconi/Papandreou et al) change."
Others explained it wisely earlier, including Victor Hugo, saying:
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."
Grassroots direct democracy representing everyone "has come for the entire world (says Celente) to wrest power from the hands of ruling political mobs and put it into the hands of the public."
Let them decide, not corrupted corporate bosses, militarists, lobbyists and their puppet political tools. Shifting to this type system Celente calls a "Global Game Changer."
Is it possible? Indeed, when enough people cooperatively make it happen through disruptive power too strong to contain.
Weeks of protests across Israel show it, symbolized by an August 11 guillotine on display in the center of Tel Aviv's tent city.
There on Rothschild Blvd, Tel Aviv's Park Avenue, it was the center of attention, signifying public anger perhaps too great to contain without meaningful redress. So far, it's not forthcoming from a government that doesn't give a damn about ordinary people, the same mindset as in America.
On August 13, Haaretz headlined, "Tens of thousands take to Israel's streets as social protests move out of Tel Aviv," saying:
Saturday night, people turned out en masse in Haifa, Be'er Sheva, Afula, Eilat, Rosh Pina, Nahariya, Dimona, Modi'in, Petah Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon, Netanya, Beit She'an, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and elsewhere for what they've been demanding for weeks.
Haifa activist Yossi Baruch addressed thousands, saying:
"They tell us we don't have focus, but we are super focused and know exactly what we want. We want there to be a welfare state here, and a welfare state is not just a slogan. It means free education for every boy and girl" from pre-school through PhDs.
"A welfare state is (also) a place where its citizens receive fair wages," get free or low-cost healthcare, other social benefits, and have caring officials who provide them.
"This is a long-range struggle, and it doesn't matter if Bibi falls in a week, a month or a year," he said. "Bibi will fall. So will (Yuval) Steinitz (Israel's finance minister), and so will (Avigdor) Lieberman," Israel's fascist foreign minister/deputy prime minister.
Activist Dror Israel put it another way, saying:
"We are not against a specific person. We're against a policy. We are for a welfare state" that serves all Israelis, not just its privileged few like in America, Britain, and other most other countries.
Arab citizens called for mutual cooperation. In fact, crowds cheered Hamoudi Hujeirat saying, "We are one people."
Raja Za'atara, from the disadvantaged Arab Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, said, "In the Wadi, not many people eat cottage cheese," referring to one of the protest symbols because of its high price. "But a hungry child is a hungry child," he said, "and it doesn't matter if he is Arab or Jewish. This struggle gives hope to everyone."
In fact, social injustice affects all Israeli workers. However, Arabs (one-fifth of the population) are especially impacted, treated more like fifth column threats than citizens.
At the same time, hope never dies when enough people believe. Addressing Haifa thousands in Arabic, writer Sami Michael said:
"At age 85, it's hard to be optimistic, but the younger generation today makes me feel optimistic. Today the public is showing for the first time a connection between classes, between cities and villages, between Arabs and Jews, and I don't remember anything like this in Haifa," or elsewhere across Israel.
"The impact of the Middle East" arrived, he added. Echoes for change now reverberating across Israel. It remains to be seen whether government repression will confront them, and if so, how they'll react.
So far, they've been steadfastly protesting, many camping out in tent cities, giving up the comforts of home, that even if humble are preferable to living on streets, even in solidarity for reinforcement.
It's too soon to know, but hopefully that energy won't wane. It's crucial to have any chance for success.
A Final Comment
In a new policy paper, Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth discuss "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919 - 2009," showing they go hand in hand, saying:
Evidence "show(s) a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not a key factor."
"While autocracies and democracies show a broadly similar response to budget cuts," less unrest results when executive power is constrained. Quite the opposite, however, when leaders and parliaments are in sync, as in America, the Middle East, Europe and Israel.
Other analysts also say austerity yields trouble, showing up in protests, riots, strikes, violence and revolutions if public rage exceeds the tipping point, making it uncontainable.
Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz envisions IMF riots, saying "the whole cauldron blows up" after IMF financial terrorism "squeezes the last pound of blood out of" troubled nations.
Economist Kenneth Rogoff says high US unemployment and out-of-control debt sooner or later trigger serious "social unrest from the income disparities" they create, adding the Obama administration has "no clue."
Neither does Netanyahu, European leaders and numerous others, heading their nations for serious unrest - or worse.
Gerald Celente's been warning about it for years, saying:
"When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose, they lose it."
Indeed, and it may be coming to a nearby neighborhood or right in their own backyard. Bet on it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.