Sunday, August 14, 2011

My views on the demonstrations in Israel were made clear in last Monday's post. However, if we can see past the the leader of Haifa’s Carmel tent city, Yossi Baruch's, demand for "a welfare state (and) free education for every girl and boy, from the moment maternity leave ends and until the child finishes a doctorate", and return to the initial demands for affordable housing, we might at least suspect that any eventual evacuation of the settlements has become just that little bit more difficult to envisage.

Nevertheless, while only a week ago I was viewing the demonstrations as just another a attempt by the Zionist state to escape that "hamatzav " which must inform their everyday realities, there is some evidence to suggest that we might not be totally pessimistic regarding the Palestinian cause for even if we suspect that the solidarity between Israeli Jews and Arabs in, for instance, Haifa will dissipate once "the situation" has reasserted itself, there is no need to doubt the writer Sami Michael's sincerity when he told a crowd in Arabic:
 “At age 85, it’s hard to be optimistic but the younger generation today makes me feel optimistic. Today the public is showing for the first time a connection between classes, between cities and villages, between Arabs and Jews, and I don’t remember anything like this in Haifa. The impact of the Middle East has reached us, too,” 

Unfortunately, while we might not doubt Mr Michael's sincerity and forgive him his optimism, there is enough evidence to suggest that he suffers from that euphoria and myopia which indeed also affected those who took to the streets in Cairo and elsewhere in the Arab world. There too "the situation" has reasserted itself, nowhere was there a real revolution, and to expect that there can be any real change in the Zionist state can come about because of these demonstrations is actually quite absurd.

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