It is not him who is under anesthesia, it is us

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 105 Comments
7570788190 4a05b634ed z
Moshe Silman being rushed to the hospital following his self-immolation. For more photos see the Activestills Flickr page. (Photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

[Editor's Note: Saturday night in Tel Aviv a 52 year old man named Moshe Silman immolated himself during a march marking the one year anniversary of the J14 protest movement within Israel. Ynet reports, "Eye witnesses said Silman read out a letter before pouring flammable liquid over himself and setting himself on fire. He left copies of the letter scattered on the ground. . . 'The State of Israel robbed me and left me with nothing,' he wrote." The letter is published at 972.

Below is a reaction from an anonymous protester who was in the crowd in Tel Aviv. They asked that their remarks appear in English translation and Hebrew.]

I’ve been to Kaplan street tonight, several meters from the person who has set himself on fire, I’ve seen the rescue men running and have smelled the burning that stayed in the air long after he was evicted from the scene.

It took less than an hour for the police to “clear up the road for traffic”, as the request of some activists to let us stand there and absorb what had just happened received a negative response from the police. Life carries on as usual for those in power, that’s not very surprising, but what surprises me is us, a whole protest movement that moves aside and lets the traffic flow.

The geographic distance from Rothschild to Hatikva is very small, but today I felt, more than on any other day, the real distance between them and how given all the efforts to bridge over the differences we have totally failed. And no, even though the whispers around me, the man who set himself on fire is not “crazy” or “insane”, he is an absolutely normal human being like you and me, who had fallen and had no one out there to lend him a hand. It happens every day, on every hour, to many people with many different and varied stories – a refugee from Sudanese, a Palestinian woman in Jaffa, a Bedouin in an unrecognized village or Moshe from Haifa.

I have no doubt that my troubles, as well as others’, are real and important but there are people here whose struggle for bread, water and the right to live are more than a slogan – it is their daily struggle for survival.

How alienated and distant we are from the stories of these people that holds us from identifying with them, how much of a distance was there really between myself and the man who set himself on fire?

What is the real distance between Rothschild and Hatikva or Levinsky park? Between that man and the other people who were there on the street with him today, between him and myself?

We delude ourselves that there is a struggle taking place here, there was no struggle on the street today, there was shock and pain but no struggle.

If there was a struggle then Kaplan would not have been reopened for traffic, the social security office would not have been opened tomorrow as if nothing had happened, and the people outside of Ichilov hospital sitting on the sidewalk as the ambulance passed by would not have kept quiet even though we were told that “there is no reason to shout since he can’t hear us but he can feel that we are here”.

The city that is most identified as the city that never sleeps is in a deep coma, and it seems as though a full tank of gasoline and a burning man in the middle of a protest did not manage to set it on fire. How else can we explain that an activist sits in the middle of a demonstration while surrounded by thousands, sets himself on fire as an act of protest and no one does anything, absolutely nothing?

How could it be that the hundreds of people who were there on the scene simply went home afterwards? If this didn’t awaken people and translate their feelings into actions on the ground, not only deep in their hearts, then what will? How many layers of defense must we remove until we are finally able to feel? Did he have to do this on stage in order to win our solidarity, and what if it was one of the protest leaders, would we still be going back home afterwards or stand outside of Ichilov with a sad face and sing some songs? I cannot avoid thinking what would the people on the street do if he would have done that in any other place other than Tel-Aviv?

A struggle without the willingness to renounce our privileges cannot lead us anywhere, if we do not let go of our fears and continue to struggle while knowing the consequences, we have no reason to expect others in power to give up theirs. In order to change we have to pay a price, those who told me today that we can do nothing since we are too few have probably missed reading between the lines of tonight’s events, that even one can do so much!

This alienation, not the match, is what is killing us. It is that social taboo that allows for the exploitation of women, Mizrahi people, refugees, Palestinians, animals and many more. This is what creates the difference between us and the “other”, who changes face from one time to another, and tonight’s other was Moshe.

He cannot do much at the moment, he is under anesthesia and is being resuscitated, but his condition tells more about our situation than his.

זה לא הוא שמורדם זה אנחנו

הייתי הלילה ברחוב קפלן, כמה מטרים מאותו אדם שהצית את עצמו, ראיתי את אנשי ההצלה רצים והרחתי את ריח השריפה שנשאר באויר גם אחרי שפינו אותו.
לקח למשטרה פחות משעה “לפתוח את הציר לתנועה”, הבקשה של חלק מהפעילים לתת לנו לעמוד שם ולהפנים את מה שקרה נענתה ע”י המשטרה בשלילה, החייים תמיד ממשיכים כסדרם אצל בעלי הכוח, זה לא מפתיע אותי, מה שכן מפתיע אותי זה אנחנו, תנועה שלמה של מחאה שזזה הצידה ונותנת לתנועה לזרום.

המרחק הגאוגרפי בין רוטשילד לתקווה הוא אמנם קטן אבל היום הרגשתי יותר מכל יום אחר את המרחק האמיתי, ואיך למרות כל הניסיונות לגשר על הפערים נכשלנו. ולא, למרות ההתלחשיות סביבי, מי שהצית את עצמו היום הוא לא “משוגע” ולא “מטורף”, הוא אדם נורמלי לחלוטין כמוני וכמוכם שנפל ולא היה שם אף אחד שיכול היה להושיט לו יד. זה קורה כל יום, כל שעה להרבה אנשים עם סיפורי חיים שונים ומשונים מפליטים מסודן, דרך פלסטינית מיפו, או בדואי מכפר לא מוכר ועד למשה מחיפה.
אין לי ספק, המצוקות שלי ושל אחרים הן אמיתיות וחשובות אבל יש כאן אנשים שהמאבק על הלחם, המים והזכות לחיות זו לא סיסמא עבורם אלא מאבק יום יומי להישרדות.

כמה מנוכרים אנחנו וכמה רחוקים מסיפור החיים של אותם האנשים כדי לא להיות מסוגלים להזדהות, כמה מרחק היה באמת ביני לבין אותו אדם שהצית את עצמו?
מה המרחק האמיתי שבין רוטשילד לתקווה או לגן לוינסקי, בין אותו אדם לאנשים שהיו סביבו ברחוב היום, ביני לבינו?

אנחנו משלים את עצמנו שמתנהל כאן מאבק, לא היה מאבק היום ברחוב, היה זעזוע וכאב אבל לא מאבק.
אם היה מאבק אז קפלן לא היה נפתח לתנועה, וביטוח לאומי לא היה נפתח מחר בבוקר כאילו כלום, והאנשים שהיו מחוץ לאיכילוב על המדרכה כשהאמבולנס חלף על פנינו לא היו שותקים למרות שנאמר לנו, “שאין מה לצעוק כי הוא לא ישמע אותנו אבל הוא מרגיש שאנחנו כאן.”

העיר שמזוהה הכי הרבה כעיר שלא נרדמת, נמצאת בתרדמת עמוקה, וכנראה שגם מיכל מלא של דלק ואדם נשרף בלב של הפגנה לא הצליחו להבעיר אותה הלילה, אחרת איך אפשר להסביר שפעיל יושב על המדרכה באמצע הפגנה מוקף באלפי אנשים, מדליק את עצמו כחלק ממחאה ואף אחד לא עושה כלום, פשוט כלום.

איך יכול להיות שמאות האנשים שהיו שם היום פשוט הלכו הביתה? אם זה לא העיר אנשים ותירגם את התחושות שלהם לפעילות בשטח לא רק בלב פנימה, מה כן? כמה שכבות של הגנה יש לנו עוד להסיר כדי להיות מסוגלים להרגיש? האם הוא היה צריך לעשות זאת מעל בימת נואמים כדי לזכות בסולדריות שלנו, ומה אם זה היה מישהו ממנהיגי המחאה, האם גם אז היינו חוזרים הביתה או עומדים מחוץ לאיכילוב בפנים נפולות ושרים שירים? אני לא יכולה גם שלא לחשוב מה היתה תגובת הרחוב אם הוא היה עושה זאת בכל מקום אחר כמעט חוץ ממרכז ת”א?

מאבק בלי נכונות להקריב את הפריבילגיות שלנו לא יכול להגיע לשום מקום, אם אנו לא נאבד את הפחד ונאבק למרות ההשלכות שבכך, אין לנו מה לצפות מבעלי הכוח האחרים לוותר על שלהם. כדי לשנות משלמים מחיר, ואותם אנשים שאמרו לי היום שלא ניתן לעשות כלום כי יש מעט אנשים, לא קראו כנראה בין השורות של מה שהתרחש הלילה, שגם אחד יכול לעשות הרבה!

הניכור הזה, ולא הגפרור, הוא זה שהורג אותנו, הוא הטאבו החברתי שמאפשר לנצל נשים, מזרחים, פליטים, פלסטינים, בעלי חיים והיד עוד נטויה. הוא זה שמייצר הפרדה בינינו לבין “האחר” שמחליף פנים בכל פעם, האחר הזה היה הלילה משה.

הוא כבר לא יכול לעשות הרבה כרגע, הוא מורדם ומונשם, אבל המצב שלו מעיד יותר עלינו מאשר עליו.

105 Responses

  1. American
    July 15, 2012, 12:45 am

    When this happened in Tunisia it caused a revolution…..
    This man’s name sounds Jewish…so this is how Jews take care of Jews?

    • Mooser
      July 15, 2012, 12:24 pm

      “This man’s name sounds Jewish…so this is how Jews take care of Jews?”

      Oh, put a sock in it, macher. And I suppose you want Israel to leave itself open for charges of socialism and communism? Do you know how careful we have to be with that stuff? Sounds like you want us all to return to the Shtetl.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 15, 2012, 12:46 pm

        Haha, good one Moose…Also, I probably wouldn’t actually mind living in a shtetl. Maybe it wasn’t as depressing as it looks on the Military/History Channel? I mean, until the late 30s a certain percentage of them weren’t completely poverty striken. I mean, it wasn’t like these were peasant Jews living in them. Working poor I think is the PC term these days. I want to take a trip to Eastern Europe some day to see what it’s like for myself.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 2:28 pm

        “Also, I probably wouldn’t actually mind living in a shtetl.”

        Steady on, old son, don’t do anything rash! Don’t believe everything you see in “Fiddler”. Life was not so good in those shtetls. As far as I know, there was no bud available at all. Talk about anti-Semitism!

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 2:32 pm

        “I want to take a trip to Eastern Europe some day to see what it’s like for myself.”

        That should be no problem! Just call Shtetl Express!!

      • Citizen
        July 15, 2012, 3:57 pm

        But, Mooser, he can believe in a print of Chagall’s work.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 6:29 pm

        “But, Mooser, he can believe in a print of Chagall’s work.”

        I just checked what they go for. If it’s a signed, authenticated original Chagall print, he sure as hell can believe in it! Hell, he could probably borrow money on it, without even selling!

      • YoungMassJew
        July 15, 2012, 10:45 pm

        That’s okay about the bud. I’ve been cutting back anyway.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:18 am

        “That’s okay about the bud. I’ve been cutting back anyway.”

        Don’t worry about it. Every young man makes mistakes, makes a wrong turn, or makes bad choices sometime. But there’s no reason why this should have any lasting ill-effects, as long as the blood level doesn’t get too high in your drug-stream. That can be dangerous, leading to an acute underdose, with all it’s consequences.
        In my all-Jewish sport bike posse (Yid. for “gang”) “The Litvaks” we have one rule which keeps us safe on the hi-ways and bi-ways: Leave no turn unstoned.

      • American
        July 15, 2012, 6:40 pm

        Well I don’t now what a macher or shtetl is but you’re in danger of giving me Coulrophobia.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:27 am

        American, some of my best friends are coulros. And I am a member of the National Association of Coulroed People. The meetings are fun, but they over-do the carpooling!
        But I often have a hard time reading your comments, too. My kenophobia acts up. So bye-bye for now Keno-sabe!

    • biorabbi
      July 15, 2012, 1:17 pm

      American, I will get my second passport if more Americans believe what you write. LOL. You’ve found a home here. Good for you.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 2:35 pm

        “American, I will get my second passport if more Americans believe what you write.”

        Maybe he’s just writing what more Americans believe?

        BTW, are you a real Rabbi, or a “biorabbi”? There’s an ugly word for implying you hold a religious position that you in fact, do not. The Hindus had a word for it, even tho they don’t spell it right.

        Anyway, “Rabbi”, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go to Israel. Between the military, the elite and the Christian Zionists, it’s not like the situation isn’t well in hand.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 3:02 pm

        BTW, “biorabbi” if I were you, I’d see about that second passport. I just Googled some stuff, and you will want to have it handy, lest you get mulcted, or worse.

      • Daniel Rich
        July 15, 2012, 6:27 pm
      • American
        July 15, 2012, 6:42 pm

        I have no idea what you’re talking about biorabbi….and don’t want to know.

    • Taxi
      July 16, 2012, 1:59 am

      “This man’s name sounds Jewish”.

      Actually most euro israelis change their euro surnames when they make ‘aliyah’. Change it to an Arabic/mideastern sounding name. Take that fraudster/swindler Natanyahu, for example.

      There are christian and moslem Lebanese who have ‘jewish-sounding’ surnames – but they ain’t israeli nor jewish. There are also moslem Lebanese who’s surname is Issa: Issa=Jesus.

      A photo of the self-immolating israeli protestor would’ve probably clarified his origins better than his surname.

      • yonah fredman
        July 16, 2012, 6:48 am

        Taxi- Although early Zionists did a great deal of name changing, recent olim, not so much. I don’t know what the percentage of current surnames in Israel have been altered. Amongst American Jews who have made aliya in the last 30 years the name change thing is almost unheard of and I would venture to guess that recent olim from Russia also don’t do the name change thing.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:31 am

        Gosh, yonah, now that you’ve explained that, it’s easy to see that all my objections to Zionism spring from self-hatred. I mean, now that I’ve found out the whole name-change thing is out of style, that makes everything about Zionism and Israel just hunky-dory! At any rate, I’ll no longer be a Jew who wonders about it!

  2. American
    July 15, 2012, 12:49 am

    My second thought is he should have set Netanyahu and his friends on fire instead.

    • German Lefty
      July 15, 2012, 1:08 pm

      Moshe Silman immolated himself during a march marking the one year anniversary of the J14 protest movement within Israel.
      This is sooo sad. The story was just on German TV news.

      he should have set Netanyahu and his friends on fire
      American, violence is not a solution.

      • American
        July 15, 2012, 3:01 pm

        Really? I can think of several events in the world where reciprocal violence was the only solution left.
        Not that lighting Netanyahu up would have solved the problem. Israel’s problem is bigger than Netanyahu.

      • German Lefty
        July 15, 2012, 4:21 pm

        I can think of several events in the world where reciprocal violence was the only solution left.
        Even if that’s actually the case, reciprocal violence is still not justified, because two wrongs don’t make a right. If you stoop to the level of the wrongdoer, then you are not any better than him.

      • American
        July 15, 2012, 6:25 pm

        Well then Lefty….go quietly into the good night…as they say.
        I respect your right to your attitude but I will never understand it like you don’t understand mine.
        I try imagine what the world would be like if no one had raised a hand to Hitler. Or seeing some guy getting beat to death by thugs and not intervening physically or attacking the thugs to stop them if that’s what it took.
        I try to imagine if I was standing by with a gun while the IDF Col pumped 12 bullets into a 13 year old girl……or standing by while people were shot and dumped into pits by nazis squads…would I pull the trigger on him or them to stop him if I could? Yes I would. I wouldn’t ‘want to do it’ but I would do it if that was the only way.
        When violence is the ‘last and ‘only resort left to combat evil then I would rather sully my lily white soul and sensibilities than let it win.

      • Daniel Rich
        July 15, 2012, 6:31 pm

        @ German Lefty

        I’m really looking forward to your instructional podcast on how to deal with perps who just raped your sister. Should I address then sitting down or do so, standing om my own two feet?

      • Roya
        July 16, 2012, 1:53 am

        Even if that’s actually the case, reciprocal violence is still not justified, because two wrongs don’t make a right. If you stoop to the level of the wrongdoer, then you are not any better than him.
        So when Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah should have stepped back and let all of Lebanon take a beating? When the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had their intifada, they were wrong to do so? When Iraq attacked Iran, Iran should have welcomed the decimation and simply prayed for Saddam to come to his senses? Had the Palestinians been holding hands and singing Kumbaya since ’48, all would be well right now?

      • German Lefty
        July 16, 2012, 7:32 am

        @ American, Daniel Rich & Roya:

        I try imagine what the world would be like if no one had raised a hand to Hitler. Or seeing some guy getting beat to death by thugs and not intervening physically or attacking the thugs to stop them if that’s what it took. [...] So when Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah should have stepped back and let all of Lebanon take a beating? When the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had their intifada, they were wrong to do so?

        Okay, I think I need to clarify something here. My comment about the unjustness of reciprocal violence referred mainly to American’s statement that Silman “should have set Netanyahu and his friends on fire instead”, which would be an act of vengeance. And that’s mainly what I disapprove of. It is important to distinguish between vengeance and self-defence. I have already stated in previous posts on MW that although I personally reject any kind of violence, I acknowledge that people have a right to defend themselves in an APPROPRIATE way DURING an ACTUAL attack by others. And I also tolerate it when people assist others in defending themselves. So, one could say that while I personally find all kinds of violence unjust, I think that in cases of actual self-defence the use of the minimally necessary amount of counterviolence to stop the attack shouldn’t be punished.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:40 am

        “I’m really looking forward to your instructional podcast on how to deal with perps who just raped your sister.”

        You call the police, you get her to a doctor, and you do the best job you can at comforting her, and living with the pain until it and the consequences subside.
        However, if scripting a direct-to-disc after-school revenge movie makes you feel better, go ahead.
        Now I realise, that I can only say what I would probably do. I’m a person who has very little (thank God!) experience with violence, except for running away from it. I’m not like you, Dan, experienced with both fisticuffs, expert with knives, undefeatable with a gun,(not to mention a legal expert on when you have the right to shoot someone) and so experienced with both dealing out and absorbing violence that a violent revenge is a good plan. And if you end up with 7-15 in stoney for felonious assault, your sister can write to you.
        How I wish I could be half the man you are, Dan. Did you get your experience in dealing out violent revenge on the street, like Sheft, or did you do a couple of combat tours?

      • Citizen
        July 16, 2012, 12:09 pm

        Roya, the difference is that the Germans attacked the Jews, and then the Jews attacked the Palestinians. How is that reciprocal violence?

      • Roya
        July 16, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Citizen, reciprocal in terms of the Jews’ right to defend themselves from the Nazis and the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves from the Jews. In no way do I or can I justify what the Jews have been doing to the Palestinians.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 9:44 pm

        “When violence is the ‘last and ‘only resort left to combat evil…”

        Go write made-for-Yv movie scripts. Seems like you’ve watched way too many of them, might as well get something out of, other than a screwy way of seeing everything in terms of a TV melodrama. Beck, heck, doesn’t everbody need to lose their gun in the last scene, so you can vanquish evil and take your righteous revenge with fists of fury alone

        Dry up, already.

  3. American
    July 15, 2012, 12:53 am

    This also remind me of what I saw on the news tonight. The city of Scranton has a 16 million dollar shortage in their budget so they reduced the pay of all the city’s Fire Department firemen (the guys who risk their lives putting out fires) to minimun wage…$7.50 an hour.

    BWTTGASO

  4. Klaus Bloemker
    July 15, 2012, 6:12 am

    1.
    The social protests last year (about rent and the price of cottage cheese) and last night’s protests were only possible because of a lull in Palestinian militant acts.

    2.
    What do they show? Israel is not much different from European Diaspora Jewry where there was always a stark difference between ‘the rich Jew’ and ‘the poor Jew’. Israel today is an economically extremely unegalitarien society, worse than the US today.

    • Klaus Bloemker
      July 15, 2012, 6:54 am

      A little correction:
      Israeli pollster Tamar Hermann (I mentioned her in another thread) said in an article (March 2012) about last year’s socioeconomic protests:

      “In fact, today Israel is second only to the US in terms of the gap between the rich and the poor.”

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 12:27 pm

        Oy another one who wants us to be all weak and helpful, so he can yell Bolshevik! at us. (he kidded Klaus. He was just kidding of course.)

      • American
        July 15, 2012, 3:05 pm

        That’s true Kalus. Some time ago I saw a graph on income disparity and it is growing in all countries. There is an excellent book called “World on Fire”, by Amy Chau, I think ,that goes into some detail on this.

    • Woody
      July 15, 2012, 8:42 am

      Klaus,

      1) “only possible because of a lull in Pali militant acts”? What militant acts previously prevented protests? Do you even know anything about Israel or are you just spinning comment theorize to sound smart. The protest wasn’t merely about rent and cottage cheese and it still isn’t. Continue to get your information about the protest from outsiders and internationals and you’ll continue to have that dismissive attitude that bears with it a subtle anti-Jew racism.

      2) What does it show – it shows Israel is a capitalist and more recently neo-Liberal society…like the US, Spain, Greece, Italy, etc. What does the protest have to do with “rich Jew” vs. “poor Jew”. You seem obsessed with Jews. You cant imagine discussing a protest over inequality simply being about inequality – it has to be about inequality of JEWS, huh?

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 12:41 pm

        “attitude that bears with it a subtle anti-Jew racism.”

        Look, Woody, I’ve been thinking (okay, if you take a very generous view of the word) about this for a while, about several of the posters here. And you know what? I’m changing my views. Look, for whatever reason, Woody, you, and I are exquisitely politically correct. I’ve never thought of it as anything more than simple manners (you call people by the names they have chosen for themselves, as you would want them to do with you, it’s that simple.) but not everybody has the same view of the value of carefully modulated speech-patterns.
        And you know what? As much as it hurts me, keeps me up at night and breaks my heart, people have the right to dislike Jews. Individually and collectively, if they feel like it, even if they don’t know any.
        I’m pretty powerless, and weak (don’t I know it! Today marks my 23rd Wedding Anniversary!) but I’m not so gone that it doesn’t take at least sticks and stones to break my leg or pick my pockets.
        And besides, Klaus improves daily, on the PC axis, and so do many others here.
        As I have said, I am exquisitely careful about how I speak to those I respect, like, and want to like me, but not everybody thinks it makes all that much difference. Is a misbegotten trope here and there worth arguing about, especially with people who are so concerned with Jewish welfare?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 15, 2012, 7:00 pm

        Mooser to Woody:
        “And you know what? As much as it hurts me, keeps me up at night and breaks my heart, people have the right to dislike Jews. Individually and collectively …”
        ——————————–
        But there is a nagging question to that: Might these people, who dislike Jews, be right? – See Arthur Koestler

        Anyway, they can’t be right in your case. I vouch for you.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 15, 2012, 10:46 pm

        !!!!!!!Happy Anniversary to the Moose!!!!!!!! :)))))))

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:44 am

        “Anyway, they can’t be right in your case. I vouch for you.

        Sucker!!!!

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 16, 2012, 12:45 pm

        Mooser – I was serious! You said:”Klaus improves daily, on the PC axis.”
        That was nice of you. I just wanted to return the courtesy.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 9:46 pm

        Oh please, Klaus, don’t you know when you are being ridiculed?

      • AllenBee
        July 15, 2012, 1:11 pm

        Is there a right to be ignorant?
        Is it a sin to maintain a congregation over which one has power and influence, in a state of ignorance?

        I attended a Presbyterian service today. Managed to keep my composure as the preacher did a quick recap of the Presbyterian General Assembly and said the conflict in Israel was over “disputed territories” (plus a whole lot more puke-worthy stuff).

        By the end of the service, after the minister invited everyone to “Go in peace,” I lost it. I called out, “How about peace for Palestinians? They live in OCCUPIED territory, not “disputed territory.” Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land is illegal and immoral.”

        or something like that.

        well.
        folks went bonkers.
        Minister guy said, How dare you interrupt a worship service! How dare you shout out in the house of God.

        I said to him, How dare you tell your congregation a lie: Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territory. To lie to your congregation is shameful; Palestinian people are being killed — every day. [needless to say, this was not a Lincoln-Douglas debate-type exchange].

        His response: “Everywhere people are killed every day.”
        ===

        I think we need to do some more shouting in the house of god. Congregations are as comatose as the poor man who immolated himself — peace be to him.
        We have got to wake us up.
        Elaborate arguments will have to wait — first we have to get the attention of the people in the pews; shake them up, cause them to ask questions and demand answers of their leaders and ministers. The people are being misled.

      • Roya
        July 15, 2012, 2:00 pm

        I like to think I would’ve done the same thing if I were in your position, AllenBee.
        “We have got to wake us up.”
        Last month the President gave himself the power to monitor virtually all communications in the country when “a state of war, or the threat of one, exists.” We are one more false flag away from a state of war, and a threat of war currently exists, meaning for all we know he could be exercising that power right now. The government has given itself the authority to infringe on our private lives and our constitutional rights. If that’s not a police state, then what is? But where are the protests? Where is the outrage? Where are the efforts to exhume the Constitution?
        Nowhere because America is Asleep. As American just said, we need to BWTTGASO.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 2:47 pm

        “I think we need to do some more shouting in the house of god.”

        What the heck is the line from “Animal House”? “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really….” I forget the rest.

      • American
        July 15, 2012, 3:10 pm

        Good for you allenbee.

      • Eva Smagacz
        July 17, 2012, 7:08 am

        LOL,

        You should, giving him five days to cool down (but not long enough so he will forget the incident), write him a letter of apology for loosing your cool, and explain difference between occupied and disputed. He is ripe for some alternate briefing.

      • Roya
        July 15, 2012, 1:43 pm

        Is there something scary about writing ‘Palestinian’ in full Woody? Would the Palestinians in Nablus for which you claim to have advocated appreciate being called Palis?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 15, 2012, 4:50 pm

        Woody: I wanted to counter one “misbegotten trope” (Mooser) – ‘the rich Jew’ – by another one, ‘the poor Jew’. – Just to be fair to the Jews!

      • Daniel Rich
        July 15, 2012, 6:35 pm

        @ Woody,

        Q: it shows Israel is a capitalist

        R: Little correction here: losses are socialized en profits privatized. That’s true ‘capitalism’ nowadays.

  5. Shmuel
    July 15, 2012, 6:45 am

    if we do not let go of our fears and continue to struggle while knowing the consequences, we have no reason to expect others in power to give up theirs

    We are conditioned to obey and respect authority and to fear “lawlessness” (i.e. even momentary loss of control by the agents of the state and powerful interests they represent). Those in power play upon this conditioning in every possible way – relying on its inbuilt deterrence (as the author notes), and truly or (more often) falsely raising the spectre of “anarchism” to destroy popular support, particularly among sympathisers who do not participate directly in protests.

    • Citizen
      July 15, 2012, 7:37 am

      I don’t know how much conditioning is needed to be afraid of people running amuck in the streets employing their own version of Rahm Immanuael’s “Always take advantage of any opportunity.”

      • Shmuel
        July 15, 2012, 7:56 am

        The conditioning is required to make us trust Immanuel and fear those who challenge him. A man was driven to despair by a system that was supposed to have protected him, and set himself on fire before our very eyes, but we must listen to the police when they tell us to move along because disruptions of traffic will undermine society. Lots of conditioning.

      • Citizen
        July 15, 2012, 8:46 am

        Yes, I agree Shmuel, but perhaps many folks who “move along” in the face of such an incident may unconsciously be following the slippery slope image of obstructing traffic to gawk to total chaos, and so obey the police order to move on. Still, that mentality entails lots of conditioning, as you say–especially where somebody sets himself afire as the ultimate protest in the middle of a bunch of protesters. Related to this subject is there’s been growing tension in USA between cops and by-standers concerning police handling of those they confront in the public ways for whatever reason–people are taking cell phone pics and, sometimes, videos, of suspect-cop tussle incidents as they happen–contest between bearing witness to police brutality under color of law and interference with legitimate police activity.

      • American
        July 15, 2012, 3:12 pm

        Remember the old 80’s slogan……”Question Authority”
        And what was that award winning ad years ago where a man threw a sledgehammer thru the gaint screen showng some politician? I can’t remember the details but we need more of that attitude.

      • Citizen
        July 15, 2012, 3:53 pm

        American, it was an early MAC ad, and today MAC reaps gross profits off of cheap Chinese labor. That about says it all, eh?

      • Daniel Rich
        July 15, 2012, 6:41 pm

        @ Shmuel,

        This guy’s family should consider itself lucky. Here in Japan they would have been served a bill for the loss of [state] income and have to pay for it. Burn baby, burn,

      • tombishop
        July 15, 2012, 12:10 pm

        This quote attributed to Immanuel actually applies to the source of the problem, not those fighting it. Rahm Immanuel actually said a politician should “never let a serious crisis go to waste”. The clearest expression of this neo-liberal mentality is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that ever happened to New Orleans” because it allowed the privatization of New Orleans public schools.

        The origins of this political method was economist Milton Friedman who, in the preface to his 1982 book “Capitalism and Freedom” said,
        “There is enormous inertia—a tyranny of the status quo—in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”

        See Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” for details:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Keith
        July 15, 2012, 9:20 pm

        TOMBISHOP- “When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”

        Aye, there’s the rub! Thanks in no small measure to a lengthy and unrequited infatuation with Marxism, the ‘left’ is by and large bereft of rational ideas. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Marxists re-branded themselves as socialists. With the current ‘crisis of capitalism,’ however, they are attempting a comeback apparently unaware that it is unseemly to raid a mausoleum. Marx cadaver resuscitated. Spouts 150 year old nonsense to cheering cadres.

        Not that it makes much difference. Unlike Marxism, capitalism doesn’t require ideological fealty to maintain itself. Anyone can be a Marxist, it takes money to be a capitalist. The point being that much of the thinking of the left is constrained by adherence to ideology, rational analysis not an option. Also, the mass of people are basically faithful followers who logically conform to the perceived wishes of the dominant elites. What all of this means is that most people are looking to be led, the fat-cats have the resources to persuade, and the prognosis looks bleak.

      • tombishop
        July 16, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Are you paying attention? Every day is showing Marx was right (including the demonstrations in Israel). As to your comment about the Soviet Union, read Trotsky’s “Revolution Betrayed”!

      • Roya
        July 15, 2012, 2:14 pm

        Rahm Emanuel certainly likes to take advantage of any opportunity. He likes to order police to beat up people walking down streets with posters. And then he likes to remark, “Our police department did a tremendous job over four days, and they handled themselves with incredible discipline and professionalism.”
        He is his father’s son. Irgun would be so proud. link to youtube.com

    • Mooser
      July 15, 2012, 2:48 pm

      “We are conditioned to obey and respect authority and to fear “lawlessness”

      Did you come here just to insult me? It’ just so happens, Shmuel, that I have as much respect for the law as any famous Penn. State coach!

    • Daniel Rich
      July 15, 2012, 6:58 pm

      @ Shmuel,

      Q: We are conditioned to obey and respect authority and to fear “lawlessness”

      R: I must have missed something …

  6. Blake
    July 15, 2012, 7:23 am

    I swear these Israelis think the world began in 1948.

  7. Accentitude
    July 15, 2012, 8:00 am

    meanwhile a few blocks away (or perhaps in the same area) thousands of Israelis are protesting in support of a racially cleansed “whites only” Tel Aviv. How is that ok in 2012??

  8. Avi_G.
    July 15, 2012, 9:04 am

    A lot of that indifference can also be attributed to the occupation. After 45 years of occupying Palestinians, humiliating them, abusing them, oppressing and killing them, Israeli society has come to view such treatment of the Other as normal, as acceptable and common place.

    Even among each other and between themselves, Israeli Jews are more rude, more aggressive and more violent than they used to be a decade or two ago.

    • YoungMassJew
      July 15, 2012, 12:11 pm

      Yeah I noticed this in Israel when I was in the country in January. Most of the people, regardless of class, are rude and or aloof. I found them so different than American Jews like these weren’t even my people. Whether the workers at the airport, the hotels, the guards, the soldiers, the store clerks, all miserable rude people. No wonder the ones with their heads screwed on straight are booking it out of there. There was a grand total of one Israeli young adult I could relate to that acted like an American Jewish woman that actually had class. She wasn’t a soldier or guard by the way. Judeo-Fascism has ruined their society.

      • Citizen
        July 15, 2012, 1:55 pm

        YMJ, were you on one of those tours for free for young Jewish Americans, initially funded by Sheldon Adelson? Didn’t you read his newspaper when you were there? Seems you need to watch Starship Troopers and sequels, and get it on with an IDF soldier.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 2:53 pm

        “There was a grand total of one Israeli young adult I could relate to that acted like an American Jewish woman that actually had class.”

        ROTFLMSJAO. She must have got mine.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 15, 2012, 10:50 pm

        @Mooser ?????????

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:54 am

        “@Mooser ?????????”
        I got no class, and I got no principles. I’ve got only my innocence and some words that rime on my lips.

      • Dexter
        July 16, 2012, 1:02 am

        Well, they are not your people…they are Israeli and you are American (I assume). Why so shocked?

    • Mooser
      July 15, 2012, 12:19 pm

      “A lot of that indifference can also be attributed to the occupation. After 45 years of occupying Palestinians, humiliating them, abusing them, oppressing and killing them, Israeli society has come to view such treatment of the Other as normal, as acceptable and common place.”

      But, but, but…Avi, please! This man is Jewish! How on earth can you compare what Israelis do to the others with how they treat each other?

      • Citizen
        July 15, 2012, 1:57 pm

        Mooser, as you often tell us, there is no Jewish pope. Ergo, the Other can be Jewish if he/she is not acting like a real Jew would. Oy, they didn’t coin the phrase, “self-hating Jew” for nothing! Wait, I got the solution for you, I was sent a dozen American flags to get myself together, so shall I send you a dozen blue and white flags? Works good for our US politicians–everytime I see Obama he has more of them arrayed behind them–Mitt’s yet to catch up, but he is slow when it comes to things other than raping companies and sending jobs overseas –even while he’s only the titular guy in charge.

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 2:57 pm

        “Mooser, as you often tell us, there is no Jewish pope.”

        I don’t see who that really matters, frankly. My indulgences are certified AAA. After all, the company has assets of over six million….

      • AllenBee
        July 15, 2012, 5:55 pm

        at a party last night that had a comedian doing a standup routine. He said, “I’m gonna pick on Italians tonight because it doesn’t matter if you pick on Italians.”
        I called out, “What makes you think that?”
        He replied, “It’s okay because they didn’t have a holocaust.”

        from The Victory of Judaism over Germanism, by Wilhelm Marr Our conceit has not yet permitted us to admit that Israel 2 has become a world power of the very first rank. We have managed to understand the Jews, but we have failed to understand ourselves.
        . . .

        2 Israel: Marr is of course not referring to the state of Israel but uses this word as a synonym for Judaism.

        from A Brief Statement of Faith, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 1991: In life and death we belong to God.
        . . .we trust in the one triune God,
        the Holy One of Israel,
        whom alone we worship and serve. . . .

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2012, 6:37 pm

        “at a party last night that had a comedian doing a standup routine.”

        Holy Mackerel, they got a very broad, flexible, and generous definition of “comedian” over there, Colin. I can hardly credit this. So happy I wasn’t there.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 16, 2012, 2:20 am

        @AllenBee
        But I don’t think you want to be quoting Kevin MacDonald. That’s a little too much for this website and I don’t think Phil wants this. That’s for another venue as you’re welcome to discuss it there. I understand your frustration at the situation and I am highly sympathetic to the discrimination and violence Italian Americans have dealt with in the U.S. I just happen to think quoting this controversial figure takes away from the important point you were trying to make.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 11:59 am

        “and I don’t think Phil wants this.”

        Thank God you’re looking out for him! Only natural, as us Jews have to stick together. You see any other questionable comments which might slip by the Moderators, be sure and let the site owners know.
        Besides, Phil usually gives commentors enough rope….

      • Citizen
        July 16, 2012, 12:15 pm

        Why is Kevin MacDonald’s analysis of various issues discussed here verboten to discuss here, but, say Commentary opinions are not?

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 12:36 pm

        “Why is Kevin MacDonald’s analysis of various issues discussed here verboten to discuss here, but, say Commentary opinions are not?”

        Well, his analysis of various issues might be allright, but his jokes are lousy and offensive. I didn’t know he was doing stand-up now. I hope he doesn’t quit his day job.

      • Citizen
        July 16, 2012, 7:45 pm

        I guess Dershie hogs the stand-up stage since he’s so funny and inoffensive.

    • Daniel Rich
      July 15, 2012, 7:02 pm

      @ Avi_G,

      “I don’t know what happens to me when I step off the plane at Ben Gurion, but it ain’t good.” – Avithal S.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    July 15, 2012, 10:47 am

    RE: “Saturday night in Tel Aviv a 52 year old man named Moshe Silman immolated himself during a march marking the one year anniversary of the J14 protest movement within Israel.” ~ Editor’s note

    ALSO SEE: “Social Justice Demonstrator Immolates Self”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 7/14/12

    [EXCERPT] . . . Here is an example of the depravity of certain elements within Israel. Prof. Amir Herstroni, a noted far-right faculty member at Ariel College suggested that the immolation might not be a bad thing because it will have gotten rid of a “social parasite:”
    “I don’t know if there’s any truth in the guy’s claims. The immolation itself doesn’t make much impression on me. It’s even possible to see this as ridding ourselves of a noxious parasite. I of course wish him a good health.
    Pyromaniacs have ceased making any impression on me since Lag B’Omer [a Jewish holiday celebrated with bonfires].”

    This is Friedmanism on steroids. Or Bibism taken to its logical conclusion.
    You’ll recall that Netanyahu clawed his way to the prime ministership on the backs of Israel’s poor, sick and unemployed by slashing national social welfare benefits and turning Israel into a neoliberal laboratory in which the underclass were the rats, while the oligarchal elite reaped the rewards. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

    • American
      July 15, 2012, 3:21 pm

      Well that Professor is one sick sob. Someone one being desperate and hopeless enough to set themselves on fire strikes me at my core….really makes me sick to my stomach that this man had no one to turn to for help…..says something replusive about society today.

      • DICKERSON3870
        July 16, 2012, 3:56 am

        RE: “Well that Professor [Amir Herstroni, a noted far-right faculty member at Ariel College] is one sick sob.” ~ American

        MY COMMENT: It is not at all surprising that Herstroni is a professor at Ariel* College (soon to be University, if the settlers get their way) in a West Bank settlement that has been heavily funded by John Hagee**. As SNL’s “Church Lady” was wont to say: “Well isn’t that special!”
        Perhaps Hagee will establish an endowed chair for Herstroni at Ariel. They can call it the “John Hagee Professor of Compassion”!

        * SEE: “Recruiting Brecht to Whitewash Occupation” – link to richardsilverstein.com

        ** SEE: “Hagee’s Gifts to Pro-Settler Groups” [Ariel (settlement), $500,000 – link to richardsilverstein.com

  10. atime forpeace
    July 15, 2012, 11:31 am

    Who precisely are the “us” referred to here by this anonymous author? I am curious as to whom this refers to specifically in this authors letter to us.

    In this case this looks like the socialist state of Israel in order to redistribute the private wealth of this man to those in need in that society placed a lien on his privately owned company.

    So i guess that redistribution of wealth ( to help the poor and needy of course) via the National gov’t is the new Robin Hood .

    The state is a poor mechanism to help those in need plain and simple.

    • Mooser
      July 15, 2012, 12:15 pm

      “The state is a poor mechanism to help those in need plain and simple.”

      They couldn’t have found him a house in a settlement, and assigned him some useful work to do? He can’t light a match? He can’t turn a sewage-line valve? He’s lost his voice and his memory of pejoratives for “Arab”? I call that not trying very hard to help him. A man that desperate could have been a valuable asset to the Jewish State, but apparently nobody cared!

    • Daniel Rich
      July 15, 2012, 7:05 pm

      @ atime forpeace,

      I care as much for anonymous authors as I do for authors who don’t show their face/s on MW.

  11. Mooser
    July 15, 2012, 12:12 pm

    An acrobat-performer, who hadn’t worked in a long time, finally got into a booker’s office by dint of wheedling persistence and telling the man he had an act he must see. Finally the man said “Okay, show me your act” The down at the heels actor said, “This is a great act, the greatest ever, but there’s one small problem” So he set up a 150 foot ladder with a small platform at the top, and set a glass of water at the bottom……

    Well, you know the rest.

  12. YoungMassJew
    July 15, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Klaus, don’t listen to Woody. There’s no racism in your statement. I get the gist of what you’re saying.

    • Klaus Bloemker
      July 15, 2012, 4:06 pm

      Thanks YMJ – I don’t know what Woody read into my comment.

      The problem of socioeconomic inequality in Israel was suppressed as long as there were security threats. – Actually, Israel started out as a rather egalitarien social- democratic country but the poor-rich divide is now very wide, “second only to the US”, as the Israeli Pollster says.

  13. Mooser
    July 15, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Take a look at the comments! They are, like, totally exilic and prophetic!

    • YoungMassJew
      July 15, 2012, 12:58 pm

      Yup

    • Citizen
      July 15, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Arab Spring, Jewish social protest, OWS in USA, Greece et al in EU–how much longer will the big bankers and corporate leaders be able to stifle all this misery? I bet their solution will be more war. Yeah, that would do it, at least some regional wars, and hopefully WW3. They will be sleep walking all the way, of course, thinking they are doing the right thing. So, what will be the result, given the world awareness of the horrid USSR, which gave us Marx realized to the best of more common man on-the-ground ability?

      A myriad of new fascist masks? Maybe not in unison, or immediately, or even soon, after the devolving ethnic/tribal balkanization of the USA, the death of the old world standard post 1945, the “propositional nation”?

      • Roya
        July 15, 2012, 2:36 pm

        ” I bet their solution will be more war. Yeah, that would do it, at least some regional wars, and hopefully WW3. “
        Right on. Wars are one of the best ways to unite citizens of a country in domestic turmoil with their government against the “Other.” But after the mess we created in Iraq and the resultant lack of appetite for war that strategy is not going to work in the near future.

  14. Mooser
    July 15, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Maybe he thought he was protecting himself against the flu, or shingles or something? I always get those two mixed up.

    • Taxi
      July 16, 2012, 2:14 am

      Who switched your funny-bone with a mean one while you were snoozing?

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2012, 12:04 pm

        “Who switched your funny-bone with a mean one while you were snoozing?”

        Sorry, but you know how I am before they both finally fall off. It hurts and my neck aches. I get grouchy. And then after they’re both gone, I have to endure all the jokes about having a sex change, til the new ones grow,

      • Taxi
        July 17, 2012, 1:50 am

        Glad to hear your keyboard is gonna finally be getting a break from your meanass pounding.

  15. Dan Crowther
    July 15, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Is there anything anti-semites wont do to de-legitimize Israel?

  16. chinese box
    July 17, 2012, 8:17 am

    I wonder how strong the J14 was in the first place:

    link to nytimes.com

  17. Rusty Pipes
    July 17, 2012, 5:23 pm

    It is we who are anesthetized, not he. Just saying.

Leave a Reply