Keret writes on protesters’ fight for social justice

Keret writes on protesters’ fight for social justice

The author/activist Etgar Keret writes at The Nation’s website on the rediscovery of social solidarity as an Israeli value, illustrated by prosperous Israelis demonstrating alongside poorer ones for social justice:

Tent encampment as part of massive protests. (AP)

…. in today’s privatized Israel, choosing to fight for other people’s rights is considered dishonest, exploitative or just plain foolish.

Until just a few weeks ago, the word “community” was, for my generation, something you could find only on the Internet, in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods or among homo-lesbian groups…. And from that point of view, this fight, which I hope will try to achieve a great deal more, has already succeeded. It has broken out of the alienating, individualistic cage of the radical capitalism on which we were raised. … And the passivity and herding instinct have been temporarily restrained.
For those who still haven’t taken to the streets, I recommend that you participate in the next protest rally, if only to see each demonstrator waving his own placard, the one he formulated himself about the issue that disturbs him the most…. And bring your kids with you. Yelling “The people want social justice” with them at a nonviolent demonstration is the best civics lesson they’ll have this year, and that lesson isn’t just in civics: it will also awaken in them and in you a few ancient, dormant Jewish values such as compassion and helping others, values that even the mandatory class visits to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, organized for your children by the right-wing education minister, never managed to stir. ….

The claims of those who want to oust Netanyahu vary: some are social, some political, some personal and even esoteric, but it is totally clear to each one of the people sleeping in tents—including the Jewish and Arab left-wingers who are dominant in quite a few of these tent camps—that this protest would never have erupted if the person at the head of our country were a different right-wing leader, one more sensitive to social problems. Such a leader may have worked harder to hide the fact that massive state support for the settlements, as well as Israel’s huge defense budget, are among the main reasons Israel’s recent governments have neglected poor and middle-class citizens….

Read his entire article at The Nation’s website

By | 2011-08-17T12:40:00-04:00 August 17th, 2011|Blog|4 Comments


  1. Anonymous August 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Dear Ralph,

    This is indeed troubling, seems like more of the Nation’s one-sided, anti-Israel slant you’ve documented previously (see below).

    In the same vein, looking forward to Meretz-USA’s follow-up on the evils of Yale’s newly opened antisemtism center:

    Those of us in the US can be comforted that the “progressive zionists” at Meretz-USA continue to work to protect Israel from the biased attacks of these influential, faux-progressive US institutions.


    My difference of opinion with Ron Skolnik’s view of a recent Nation article is more about nuance and emphasis than the facts. Ron sums up this article as follows:

    In “The Romance of Birthright Israel”, Kiera Feldman synthesizes her 2010 Birthright experience with a series of interviews with past participants, as well as Birthright funders and staff. She comes away seeing the Birthright excursion as a shallow, feel-good but purposely-mind-numbing exercise, whose ulterior motive is no longer Jewish heritage or continuity, but pro-Israel advocacy of the right-wing kind.

    I’m disturbed by this Nation article, not because there isn’t some truth in it, but because it’s written with the same mostly one-sided anti-Israel slant that The Nation and the Nation Institute has taken for years.

  2. Benjamin August 18, 2011 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    You’re right about faux-progressive, Tod. I mentioned on a earlier post, but one of its regular columnists, Alexander Cockburn, publishes the excretory Counterpunch, which caters to the basest of antisemites. I’d call the National Review slanted towards ‘white nationalism’ since John Derbyshire writes for them, which is why I believe calling out the Nation for its bias is justified. One decent article doesn’t wipe away the fact that they employ a bigot.

    Oh, and I just remembered a question I’d asked you before: What would have happened to the Jews in Israel had Israel lost the War of Independence? Take your time coming up with an answer; I’ve waited this long for one.

  3. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Dear Benjamin,

    Maybe you should write to Etgar Keret and enlighten him re The Nation. I am sure he will then stop writing for them.

    Re the Nakba/War of Independence, I don’t specialize in historical predictions. We can look at some historical analogies and ask what would have happened to the Europeans who came to America had they not succeeded in their conquest of native Americans? Would some have been killed in the battles, some stayed on, and some left? Quite possibly.

    We can look the the fate of British in Kenya and India, whites in Zimbabwe and South Africa, French in Algeria and see a variety of results, with a general rule that some who adapted have often stayed on, in varying degrees of comfort, and some who did not (French in Algeria), fared much less well. We can also bear in mind that many Jews and Palestinians speak of positive relations that existed prior to Zionist conquest.

    In short Benjamin, I don’t have an answer for you, which is why it is not very helpful for me to respond. What we do know is that 800,000 Palestinians were actually driven from their homes.


  4. Benjamin August 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    I’ve become vaguely jaded to writing to purported leftist and progressive sites about the biases and bigotry they’ve kowtowed to. And the sole response I’ve received has been worse then useless, along the lines of ‘you wouldn’t understand my answer’. But hey, maybe the fifth time is the charm.

    Thank you for your answer. It’s been illuminating in many ways.

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