Israel’s ‘social justice revolution’ extends to illegal mega-settlement of Ariel

on 33 Comments

Many observers of the massive July 14 “social justice revolution” sweeping through Israel have been wondering when the protest movement would deal directly with the occupation of Palestine, or whether it would it all. On August 14, a month after the demonstrations began, the movement finally tackled the situation across the Green Line. But instead of connecting the concept of social justice to the rights of everyone living under Israeli control, July 14 officially endorsed (website is in Hebrew) a tent protest for “social justice” in the illegal West Bank mega-settlement of Ariel.

There is a lot to say about this move, but I will keep it brief for now: By officially ignoring the occupation, the July 14 movement is behaving as though the two state solution is a current fact on the ground — they are living in a walled-off fantasy world. And by embracing Ariel, July 14 has tacitly proclaimed its support for keeping and subsidizing the main settlement blocs.

33 Responses

  1. Elliot
    August 14, 2011, 9:22 pm

    The inclusion of Ariel is disappointing but quite natural. I don’t see it as making waves in the protest movement. Ariel is a suburb of Tel Aviv that happens to be in the West Bank, just 11 miles outside the Green Line.
    the July 14 movement is behaving as though the two state solution is a current fact on the ground
    I don’t get that. The protest movement is simply ignoring the occupation. Their focus is middle-class Jewish Israel. They are agnostic on the subject of I/P, 1SS vs. 2SS and the rest of it.

    • Citizen
      August 15, 2011, 8:23 am

      Elliot, by ignoring it, as a practical matter they’ve isolated it off from Israel proper–as if it was a separate country.

  2. Richard Witty
    August 14, 2011, 10:12 pm

    “By officially ignoring the occupation, the July 14 movement is behaving as though the two state solution is a current fact ”

    I think this is accurate. And, when manifested in electoral decisions, it will become a fact on the ground.

    The current coalition is not unanimously supportive of the tent city movement, in fact in opposition to social welfare criteria of economic success. They engineered the neo-liberal current “start-up nation only” regime. They are in great danger of facing a no confidence vote, forcing a new election soon.

    No one would have thought two months ago that the Palestinian petition to the UN would not be the primary news in Israel.

    People are hopeful, motivated, reminded of why they are. Its good news rather than the continual shame of fortress and suppression.

    • Cliff
      August 14, 2011, 10:55 pm

      It’s good news that the movement includes illegal settlements? And you’re blaming this on Palestinians wanting their State to be recognized by the UN?

      You’re sick.

      • Citizen
        August 15, 2011, 8:26 am

        Maybe Witty views those protesting lack of housing/home as getting a partial solution via expanding settlements.

      • eljay
        August 15, 2011, 8:38 am

        “Live #AND# let live”! Meanwhile, a little more “enough Israel” is acquired every day.

  3. Bumblebye
    August 14, 2011, 10:36 pm

    They live the occupation. Most of them have served the occupation. But they were raised to believe all the land was Israel, there was no ‘green line’ in their schoolbooks, and it does not seep into their consciousness that there is an occupation and they are the occupiers. What indoctrination can achieve! Mere handfuls of them understand it.

    • Citizen
      August 15, 2011, 8:28 am

      From what I’ve been reading on the subject, Bumblebye, what you say is true; absurd, yet true.

  4. ToivoS
    August 14, 2011, 11:19 pm

    I do think Max is a little confused or he is confusing his audience.

    He says: By officially ignoring the occupation, the July 14 movement is behaving as though the two state solution is a current fact on the ground

    OK but officially recognizing that Ariel is part of the tent city demonstration they are recognizing Ariel is part of Israel, i.e. that is a de facto recognition of one state both inside and outside the green line. Or am I missing something here?

    • edwin
      August 15, 2011, 7:59 am

      If people think about it logically, you are missing nothing as far as I can see. I think bumblebye is closer to reality though.

      The elephant in the room is not noticed. It is not that people don’t think about it logically. It is a difficult problem that requires a major shift in their world view – as well as a recognition of the evilness that they have personally engaged in. They don’t think about it at all – in an active way.

      • Citizen
        August 15, 2011, 8:30 am

        Yes, edwin, sort of like the US political leaders who are labeling the 60% + Americans who view the main debt culprit as our endless wars as “isolationists.”

  5. DICKERSON3870
    August 14, 2011, 11:21 pm

    RE: “July 14 officially endorsed a tent protest for ‘social justice’ in the illegal West Bank mega-settlement of Ariel.” ~ Max B.

    MY COMMENT: Let’s face it, the so-called two-state solution is very, very badly burned toast at this point. You can scrape off all the char you want, and load it up with your favorite Smuckers jam, but it will still be completely inedible.
    You best feed it to the birds!

  6. piotr
    August 15, 2011, 12:15 am

    Social justice clearly means justice for the members of the society, not for the outcast and untermensch. It is a concept that applies to herrenvolk.

    From some previous news, I suspect that “July 14 movement” did not expand to Ariel by plan, but by acceptation of local initiative. I would be actually curious what are the burning issues in Ariel: apartments are overpriced? Rents to high? Arab-free roads are not furnished with sufficient quantity of Arab-free public transit?

    Anyway you cut it, July 14 has to decide which solutions to social problems are acceptable. Transfer the untermensch to Jordan and create plentiful real estate for all herrenvolk? Or, as many members of Knesset propose, simply squeeze the untermensh a bit more and build thousands of new housing units on the lands so acquired? These questions will be asked more and more forcefully by the nationalists. “Leftists” can be ignored, but nationalists who what to steer the movement in national socialist workers’ direction — not so much.

    • pabelmont
      August 15, 2011, 8:16 am

      This analysis seems correct. However, it is early days yet, and the “movement” may morph toward (or farther away from) “peace” or “justice” concerns w.r.t. Palestinians. To make the movement popular it appears that it must, for the time being, exclude concerns for “a just and lasting peace” based (narrowly) on 1967 lines.

      After all, Israel taught its prospective people (Palestinian Jews of 1930s, 1940s) that they had a prospective right to occupy and own the land; and now 44 years after 1967 those same people believe they have a right to own and occupy the settlement areas, especially those said to lie within Jerusalem (isn’t language wonderfully flexible?). No surprises here.

      Israelis cannot be comfortable within their skins unless they believe (without conflict) that they are entitled to “the land”. So the present, rather surprising, protest movement moves quite naturally into the settlements, although, agreed, what are SETTLERS protesting?

    • pabelmont
      August 15, 2011, 8:37 am

      From +972

      Honestly, wake up. It won’t end because Israelis suddenly care about Palestinian rights and think we should talk about it on Rothschild boulevard! Ha! Don’t make me laugh. As if Israelis could care any less about Palestinians than they have over the last 45 years of occupation. You honestly think that Israelis, just because they’re chanting “social justice,” will suddenly give a damn? “Naive” is an understatement.”

  7. kevin
    August 15, 2011, 12:56 am

    The tent protesters are going to have to stop demanding even more of Palestinian land and resources for Jews before I’m going to see them as anything other than colonialists with a socialist facade.

    • GalenSword
      August 15, 2011, 4:31 am

      Always remember that fascism is a nationalist revision of Marxism that attempts to resolve the class conflict via national revival!

      In Israel today we are seeing a conflict between fascistic and non-fascistic factions of the Zionist movement, which in all intellectual currents is a form of politicized ethnic monism more extreme than German Nazism.

      • hophmi
        August 15, 2011, 8:54 am

        “In Israel today we are seeing a conflict between fascistic and non-fascistic factions of the Zionist movement, which in all intellectual currents is a form of politicized ethnic monism more extreme than German Nazism.”

        Another for my collections of highly ridiculous hyperbole from the pro-Palestinian movement! More extreme than Nazism!

        Why don’t you go back in time and live in Nazi Germany, you ignorant swine.

  8. Justice Please
    August 15, 2011, 4:22 am

    Remember, when signs came up that the Egyptian protesters were also critical of Israel, the whole “threat of an Islamist takeover in Cairo” was played in our media to discredit the protesters, and even cautioning against an ouster of their “moderate” government.

    Now in Israel, most of our media are cheering the protesters uncondionally, “look how vibrant a democracy Israel is”, and the Palestine angle is virtually nonexistant.

    Thanks to Blumenthal and Weiss for covering this important angle.

    • Kathleen
      August 15, 2011, 8:13 am

      Richard Engel others kept repeating that during the Egyptian protest there were no negative anti Israel signs or statements. That is what the MSM kept repeating

  9. Justice Please
    August 15, 2011, 4:27 am

    Sorry for being off-topic, but I also wonder why there’s no coverage of the GOP straw poll.

    Michele Bachmann is a crazy Christian Zionist, and most other candidates are fully beholden to AIPAC.

    Except for Ron Paul, who is the only Republican who won’t give in to the neocon-zionist foreign policy. Phil, you always write about how left-leaning moralists and conservative realists need to ally against AIPAC. Ron Paul is part of this allicance, and you should support him accordingly. (Meaning not full-blown, as I’m sure you don’t like his stance on abortion, but pointing out how reasonable he is on foreign policy).

    • Citizen
      August 15, 2011, 8:47 am

      JP, yep, I watched the GOP debate & have followed the news on the straw poll. It’s amazing how nobody’s talking about the crazed wave of Christian Zionism/AIPAC soaking all the Republican candidates & wannabees–except Ron Paul, especially regarding the winner of the poll, Bachmann. Instead the news, especially Fox, ignore Ron Paul, or suggest he’s a Martian (& squirrelly isolationist)–and never point out Bachmann only beat him by 1% of the Iowan vote although she’s a proud Iowan–beat him by 154 votes. Instead, again, especially Fox, concentrate on all the other candidates who came in way behind both Bachmann AND Paul in the straw poll.

      • seafoid
        August 15, 2011, 11:20 am

        Who is behind Bachmann? I saw her on youtube and she is nuts.
        She is even more extreme than Palin. Her debt ceiling policy is insane. As is her position on gays . She’s a sign of how bad things have become in the US.

      • Citizen
        August 15, 2011, 12:23 pm

        This morning on his show Don Imus said Bachmann was wonderfully great, and he also said Ron Paul was like a Martian from outer space.

      • Bumblebye
        August 15, 2011, 1:40 pm

        Her position on race is very peculiar and obnoxious as well:
        link to
        But it all fits in with her twisted form of religion.

      • seafoid
        August 15, 2011, 2:06 pm

        She is Ms Cupid Stunt

        link to

        But Tim Pawlenty was not much better

        link to

        “If freedom was easy everyone would be free, if security was easy everyone would be secure.” Tell that to Gaza, buddy.

        ” we are the American people.We have seen difficulties” Yeah, but not like the 0.5% plutocracy who take 23% of all income.

  10. john h
    August 15, 2011, 7:39 am

    “the July 14 movement is behaving as though the two state solution is a current fact on the ground — they are living in a walled-off fantasy world.”

    Of course, they represent Israeli society, which has done that for decades.
    Bumbleye is exactly right.

    Therefore, for fantasy to give way to reality, do not expect it to come from within as it did in the Soviet Union. It can only come from without as it did to South Africa.

    • Citizen
      August 15, 2011, 8:50 am

      john h, it won’t come from within because neither the USSR nor former apartheid S African regime could point to the Holocaust as justification for the status quo.

  11. Kathleen
    August 15, 2011, 8:12 am

    From the beginning of these alleged social justice protests one could see that they would be used to push and give public credentials to expanding illegal housing in E Jerusalem and illegal settlements in the West Bank. Public officials in Israel “the public needs the housing”

    • seafoid
      August 15, 2011, 8:31 am

      Israel is reaping the fruits of its demographic war with the Palestinians.
      In 1967 there were 3 million people in Israel. Today it is closer to 7 million. The policy of the pauperization of the Palestinians has led to massive growth in that population and Israel has responded by encouraging Jews to have bigger families. Gosh, now many of those Jewish kids now need places to live.
      Israel screams unsustainable.

      Look at this for insanity
      link to

      At the start of 2011, the number of Jews west of the Jordan River stood at just over 6.1 million. That figure exceeded by a whopping 234,500 the estimates made by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) in 2007, meaning the Jewish population is growing much faster than even the “experts” expected.And that trend will only continue with the Jewish fertility rate reaching 2.9 in 2010, which is much higher than every Arab nation in the region with the exceptions of Jordan and Syria.

      At the same time, the Arab population west of the Jordan River is growing slower than expected. The number of Israeli Arabs stood at just over 1.5 million in 2010, which was 28,000 less than the ICBS had forecasted.
      The figures were similar among the Palestinian Arabs.
      In short, as 2010 began, there were 3.12 Jewish births for every 1 Arab birth west of the Jordan River, a long-term demographic trend that clearly favors the Jews, contrary to what everyone loves to claim.

  12. Shmuel
    August 15, 2011, 9:14 am

    A lot has been said about the settlements as a drain on Israel’s economy, about funds that could have been spent on social welfare, but it is worth remembering Yehouda Shenhav’s thesis that settlement policy has in fact contributed to Israel’s welfare state (generously, albeit less-than-willingly subsidised by the Palestinians), and even replaced it to a large extent.

    The current protests are thus, essentially, less about the lack of affordable housing and many other social benefits, than about the location of such housing and benefits – i.e. almost exclusively in the OT. The token participation of Ariel is therefore at counter purposes with the aspirations of the protesters, yet, for fear of getting bogged down in the interminable debate over occupation and settlements, the organisers and participants prefer to gloss over what should in fact be at the heart of their protests.

  13. Kathleen
    August 15, 2011, 9:38 am

    Stephen Walts response to 81 (84) US Reps junkets to Israel
    link to
    “I suppose I ought to be grateful that AIPAC and its sister organizations continue to work overtime to prove me and my co-author right. But there are bigger issues at stake here, which is why I hope that every one of those eighty-plus Congressmen faces a lot of nasty questions from their constituents upon their return.

    And in a related story, the Israeli government has just announced a new round of settlement building in occupied East Jerusalem. (For apt commentary, see Matt Duss of the Center for American Progress here.) If you’ve been wondering why most people have lost faith in U.S. stewardship of the peace process and are turning to other strategies–such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement or the push for a Palestinian state at the UN –well, I think you have your answer. And if “two states for two peoples” is never achieved and Israel ceases to be either a Jewish majority state or a true democracy, you’ll know exactly which misguided or feckless Americans helped bring that about. “

  14. richb
    August 15, 2011, 11:44 am

    This has the marks of economic collapse of empire all over it. What the Israeli public apparently wants is bread and circuses. The Roman satirist, Juvenal, complained that the Romans gave up their birthright for bread and circuses:

    Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses. — Juvenal, Satire 10.77-81

    This inward focus to abandon the political is blinding the people to the real problem, the intimate relationship between colonialism and oligarchy. Even the methods to distract the people are similar. In this case the Roman economy was slowly collapsing due to the practice of latifundia where land ownership was concentrated in the hands of the few. (Pliny the Elder complained that half of the African provinces were owned by six people.)

    The latifundia was obtained from military occupation and “declaring” the land as ager publicus and then passing the so-called “public” land into the hands of a small few. These lands were rented out to coloni which in Medieval times became known as serfs. One way the Romans delayed the inevitable was through the Constitutio Antoniniana in 212 CE which granted citizenship to a greater portion of the empire. The Roman historian, Cassius Dio, claimed that this was merely a cynical attempt to extend the tax base.

    This was the reason why he made all the people in his empire Roman citizens; nominally he was honouring them, but his real purpose was to increase his revenues by this means, inasmuch as aliens did not have to pay most of these taxes.

    In the end, all economies based on military occupation collapse because the central economy is in tatters since everything gets outsourced. The Romans differed from the current Israeli government in that the Romans did not define citizenship ethnically (and given the Dio quote were also more pragmatic than ideological than the Israelis).

    Until the Israeli public sees that they and the Palestinians have common cause against a modern-day oligarchy they will continue to be fobbed off by panem et circenses. The issue is not the welfare state but rather people losing their freedom. The Palestinians see more clearly because they lack citizenship in addition to be taken advantage of economically. By the Left not listening to the Palestinians and becoming PsEP they lose their clarity of vision of the bigger problem that affects all of us, not merely the Palestinians. The tent cities must be politicized and politicized now and the too comfortable “non-political” rallies must be thrown away.

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