Sunday, July 31, 2011

The politics behind the protests

Dror Eydar

Saturday evening we watched Channel 2 news anchor Yonit Levy turn into Marxist activist Rosa Luxemburg and compete with protest organizer Daphni Leef in encouraging and recruiting protesters. Channel 2, like most other media outlets, long ago stopped being a fair observer of events and became an active subverter of the elected government. In the studio sits the haughty crossword compiler Amnon Abramowitz, who lives in a black and white world. The bad guys are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the settlers, religious people, and the Jewish state. The good guys are members of the “white tribe,” for which Abramowitz is a loyal spokesman. I am surprised that the public has not yet ransacked the studio building over this constant incitement by Abramowitz and his friends. As with all his broadcasts, in this one too he brandished his voodoo dolls of settlers and religious people. “Netanyahu talks about the periphery, but for 80 days of the year, there is no public transportation,” he said, referring to the closure of public transport on the Sabbath and on religious holidays. “This is the political price the religious people exact from us.” Listen to what he is saying: the Sabbath day is a political price! Perhaps it is for Abramowitz’s “white tribe.” The Sabbath day, like the Jewish state, is a political price. For most of the public, the Sabbath day is a value. This seems to be true even for some of the protesters in Tel Aviv.

Good and innocent protesters, you are just in your struggle, but you are being led by the nose. You have to differentiate between attempts to correct long-standing injustices, and attempts to destroy everything. Israel is not Egypt. The country cannot bear the responsibility for everything in our entire lives. We too have responsibilities. The social justice being discussed here now was tried for years in the former Soviet Union. Every immigrant from the former Soviet Union can attest to its failure.

The government has to deal not with the protest but with those behind it, forces who are cunning and cynical, some who are even experts in social engineering, media spins, and political subversion, who have a vision of a state belonging to all its citizens. Some of them are wealthy individuals, who ironically, despite the protest slogans, feel threatened by Netanyahu's government, which is currently investigating the concentration of financial wealth in the hands of a select few. Negotiations with the tycoons would be scorned by many, but welcomed by the tycoons and many in the media.

Slogans shouted out at the protests were filled with hate against the prime minister. Some called him a bloodthirsty dictator. One sign portrayed Netanyahu as the servant of the tycoons. How many lies can you feed the public? Netanyahu's government is the only one that has stood up to the tycoons: in the mobile phone market and in the revenues the state would get from the new gas reserves discovered off the coast, and now with the committee set up to investigate monopolies.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) sat in the studio and said, “I am telling you that Netanyahu doesn't care. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He never saw an empty refrigerator in his life."

It is appropriate to mention this rude and provocative sentence, coming from the mouth of someone who aspires to be a leader in our society. In every place, after trying to hide the political drive behind the protests, it came out anyway and appeared in the middle of a city street. If the protest is indeed political, other groups will have something to say about it as well.

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