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Monday, 21 May 2012

The ‘Only Democracy in the Middle East’ Teargases Joint Israeli-Iranian Demonstration

Any joint anti-war/anti-occupation activities and demonstrations in Israel are to be welcomed.  Just as the ANC welcomed the participation of White South Africans in the Anti-Apartheid struggle.  However one should be under no illusions that those taking part will be a small fragment of Israeli-Jewish society.

That is not to say that Israeli Jews are not suffering from the Stability Pact and neo-liberal economics of the governing coalition.  Israel is one of the most unequal societies in the world and that is why Zionism is so useful in channelling dissent into nationalist channels.

At times social protests will break the borders of acceptable political activity and the state will engage in whatever repression is required.  In addition those such as the Israeli Labour Party will intervene, as they did last summer, to make it ‘non-political’ i.e. no discussion or position on the Occupation.  The Occupied Territories are somewhere else even though the massive investment in the settlements is in contrast to lack of investment in social housing in Israel itself.

There are leftist groups who will see any sign of joint Jewish-Arab activity as heralding the end of Zionism and there will also be Palestinian nationalists who will look on the whole matter with disdain.  My own view is that any such protests should be unconditionally supported, but without illusions that the development of an anti-Zionist consciousness will occur in all but a tiny minority of Israeli-Jewish society.

However we should be clear that within Israel, it will only ever be a small minority of Jews who break free from the shackles of Zionism

Tony Greenstein

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