Monday, August 8, 2011


While sitting in Eccleshall Road's Caffè Nero.on Monday the story on "hundreds of thousands" protesting over the cost of living in Tel Aviv was picked up on in hard copy of 'The Times'. Unfortunately, with Daniel Finkelstein getting us to pay for the Murdoch press's "quality journalism" no link can be provided. Still, with 'Al Jazeera' already having run the same story on Sunday, there is, at least, no reason to doubt the accuracy of 'The Times' report. It might, however, be pointed out that a regular100-square-metre flat  in modest middle-class neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv costing upwards of $600,000 is not something that interests me in the slightest and why should it when the ethnic cleansing of Palestine has long since extended to Israel "proper"? Are we being asked to view this as a "human interest" story when Arab families are being evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem on a daily basis and when the ongoing ethnic cleansing of what is left of Palestine continues unabated?

Of course, this is not meant to be a "human interest" story and what it does in fact represent, as the demonstrations in Tel Aviv itself represents, is an example of what Slavoj Žižek refers to in his book 'Living in the End Times' as a longing for an alternate reality that as become embedded in the Israeli's psyche. This is an attempt to cast off what Israelis call "hamatzav", "the situation"; a situation which is determined by the occupation, Gaza, the electric fence, a situation which permeates their lives at every level. This is Israelis crying out, "we are just normal people who want to live normal lives." It is, of course absurd and no matter how they loud they scream their political reality is, and will continue to be, dominated by the ongoing ethnic cleansing of a country that is not  theirs, by the bombing and murder of innocent men, women and children and by a brutal occupation that has now being in existence for forty four years. These are the questions that have to be addressed and until they are there can be no escape from "hamatzav" and there can be no normality.

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