The Israeli Summer is dividing the Israeli left….

Yesterday, The Guardian reported that Israeli social justice activists are planning a lightning campaign of squatting unoccupied buildings at protest at rising rents in Israel. All this follows hot on the heels of a 250,000-strong anti-government rally earlier in the month as Israelis, like the rest of world, start to feel the economic pinch. Not that you would necessarily know any of this with courage of these events being minimal in the Western media. However, regardless, it seems the Arab Spring, which is running into trouble elsewhere is finding its echo in an Israeli Summer.

It is this, as much as external moves to grant the Palestinians formal recognition of the right to statehood and continuing instability in Syria etc, that is driving Israel in its outbursts of aggression. However, this movement while being an undoubted welcome development is also leading to serious tensions on the Israeli left. Some, like Shelly Yachimovich, for example, argues the strength of the new movement is that they skirt round issues such as Israel’s entirely illegal (under international law) settlement programme:

“I am familiar with that well-known equation: that if there were no settlements there would be a welfare state within Israel’s borders. I am familiar with the worldview that maintains that if we cut the defense budget in half there will be money for education. It’s a worldview with no connection to reality.

It seems this view is in danger of becoming the majority view on the Israeli-left, no doubt encouraged by the spontaneous growth of the movement. Thankfully, some still hold to the more traditional view:

The Israeli left – Jews and Arabs, members of the middle class and below – in other words, all those who will join the “million-person march” – need a leadership that can lead them with two legs: one of peace, and one of social welfare.

The first view is a dangerous one which blinds Israel’s left not just potentially to the plight of Palestinians beyond its normative borders but also Israeli Arabs who suffer gross inequality and discrimination within those borders. Israel’s Summer is unquestionably a welcome development, however, it will be tragic if this advance blinds the Israeli left to its responsibilities beyond its own borders and the damaging effect that the oppression of the Palestinians has on social justice within Israel itself.


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11 responses to “The Israeli Summer is dividing the Israeli left….”

  1. john reid says :

    grant the Palestinians formal recognition of the right to statehood and continuing instability in Syria etc

    should the Isrealli’s be allowed the right to their own land in Israeel ,the Palestinians own such a large place, the Israellis’ came along took isreal in 1948 when it was wate land and built on it, since then teh palsetinians have seen it, seen what thy’ve done to it, and the way they make out they’re hard done by is they’ll get suicide bombers to go their and say they are peacefull and when the Israelli’s shoot them in slef defence ,the Palestinians then call teh israellis “murderers”


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I have been a consistent supporter of a ‘two-state solution’ which, of course, recognises the Israeli’s right to a state. Your historiography leaves out the fact that the *Palestinians* actually lived on that land and were evicted. Your attempt to paint them as something akin to a jealous child is absurd and historically ignorant.

    Shooting Palestinian children is not ‘self-defence’; the collective punishment of Gaza is not ‘self-defence’ so don’t you even try to dignify the Israeli governments actions by calling them that.


  3. modernity says :


    Do you think that Israelis, being blown up might also have some bearing on matters?

    When rockets are fired at Israelis, is that collective punishment or not?

    I think people in the West are *very* reluctant to acknowledge Israeli fears, their history, the intertwining destiny of them and the Palestinians, and ultimately how it must come down to a negotiated settlement.

    Most Israelis accept the need for a negotiated settlement., as do Palestinians, according to surveys.

    However, in the West there is a much more, er, intellectually aggressive attitude towards Israelis (and their predecessors), where all of their fears, all of their history and their complex interactions in the past 100+ years are largely dismissed.

    That doesn’t help when it comes to discussing these matters.

    The sour attitude in the West towards Israeli’s self action is contrasted to the welcome of protests in other countries.

    A negotiated settlement is unlikely to come about with the current government in Israel, and if you are for a negotiated settlement, then one could hope that the Netanyahu government leaves power and it might, *IF* the protests in Israel change the political climate, even slightly, which most reasonable and thoughtful people would probably welcome.

    Thus, the protests could change the government and in turn enable a negotiated settlement, a withdrawal from the occupied territories, a reduction in conflict and a resultant reduction in military expenditure, which most progressives should probably welcome.

    Further changing the government of Israel may make the creation of the Palestinian state a reality and help it along that difficult process, something that pro Palestinian activists should want.

    So in the West we can moan about Israeli protests or see their potential, what do you think is better?


  4. john reid says :

    i didn’t see your reply darrel, shooting palestianian children, is just them prtraiyng themsleves as martyrs as they get kids to shoot israelli borders


  5. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Never did I once say I agreed with or supported Hamas. However, it is entirely possible to be critical of both the Israeli state and Hamas and apologists for the actions of the Israeli state insistance that somebody criticising Israel is automatically siding with Hamas is disgraceful and dishonest. I only metion this because this is what you seem to imply is happening here.

    I am not reluctant to acknwledge their fears, I support a two-state settlement with Israeli’s equally having a right to their own state. You also seem to fail to recognise I am very much welcoming of these protests – maybe that is not clear here but I have made posts on my Facebook and Twitter to that effect.

    Yes I would welcome that, totally and utterly. I am not moaning about the protests themselves, in fact, as I have pointed out, I welcome them, but the protests themselves is different to a legitimate discussion about how the political left should engage with them is it not?


    Utter rubbish….


  6. john reid says :



  7. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Your talking rubbish!


  8. john reid says :

    constructive criticism ,can’t beat it,


  9. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Well what do you expect me to say? It is utter garbage…


  10. john reid says :

    why’s it utter garbage?


  11. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Because are you going to tell me every Palestinian child shot dead was a suicide bomber….you going to prove that statement?


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