|Labor MK Merav Micaheli|
Merav Michaeli‘s first Knesset speech is astonishingly good. I hope you take a few minutes to read the short post, “Why Israel Is Different,” and watch the video at Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish.
Michaeli is the granddaughter of Rudolf Israel Kastner (1906–March 15, 1957) an Austro-Hungarian-born Israeli civil servant, journalist and lawyer. He became known for negotiating the departure of over a thousand Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust. He was assassinated by Stern Gang veterans in 1957, after an Israeli court accused him of having collaborated with the Nazis.
Well, it’s not bad if she represented say… France. But given the centrality of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians to the issues that Michaeli should deal with, her passing references to Palestinians reflect the pervasive avoidance of the basic realities that more and more look likely likely to bring about Israel’s eventual collapse.
There is nothing revolutionary here. Her speech falls within safe boundaries that ensure that Israel will continue spiraling downward towards crisis unless somehow the country musters the willingness to confront the reality that it cannot oppress another people and survive. “Social justice” cannot be built on top of injustice. Like most other Israeli “leaders” Michaeli displays few signs of leadership on the issue that will determine Israel’s fate.
Wow!!! What a powerful, moving, and terribly sad commentary on the state of affairs in our beloved Moledet (Homeland). I hope everybody who gets this watches and listens all the way through.
Anonymous (aka Ted) might think Michaeli is not critical enough regarding Israel’s wretched treatment of the Palestinians, but for “maiden” address before the Knesset I think it was incredibly gutsy as well as eloquent. She can’t be expected to take on all of Israel’s ills at once in her very first outing. My guess is that we’ll be hearing a lot more from this brilliant young woman.
Right Gil, and the social protesters were right not to emphasize social justice for Palestinian immediately, but they’ll certainly be getting to it later. Oh wait…
I guarantee you that in two years time we will look back and find that Israel has moved even further to the right and become more racist, and that Israel has become increasingly marginalized internationally, and Michaeli will likely still be very timidly addressing the issue of Palestinian rights.
This is Israel’s fundamental failure and Michaeli shows no sign of being a leader who will take the bold steps necessary to mobilize people to address it. Looking at someone who delivers this kind of speech as someone who will save Israel from the path it is on is simply more self-deception.
I’d like to add some detail on Rudolf Kastner, Michaeli’s tragically famous grandfather: He headed a Zionist rescue committee that failed to get a deal with Eichmann to save the Jews of Hungary; he did succeed in saving one trainload of over 1600 (ironically including a future Rebbe of the anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidic sect). Since those rescued included his own family, he was hounded by Revisionists in Israel as a “Nazi collaborator” and assassinated in 1957.