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Saturday, July 30, 2011

'A Revolution'

Yonathan Shapir, an Israeli now living in the US, writes:
Everyone who was asking: "Where is the Israeli left?" - in the last few years cannot but feel elated tonight. So excuse me if my emotions carry me a bit too far. I just finished watching, on three national TV channels in parallel, the 150,000 demonstrators in six different cities. The electricity in the air was so strong that it was carried through, by internet cables and electromagnetic waves, around the world.
It will take some time to see how this plays out and even more to assess the full consequences of this movement. But already the anchors and reporters on the tube are talking about "Israel before" and "Israel after". Bibi will not, they said, be the leader of the new Israel because he speaks the old language with outdated metaphors and fears. His rhetoric and gestures look grotesque to the young generation which communicates instantly through Facebook or Twitter. His frequent press conferences look panicky and artificial (what a difference compared with the US Congressmen/women).

[The demonstrators] mostly represent the progressive and liberal Israel. They do not address the Mid-East  peace and war issues since this will hurt their main goal, namely the social and economic deficiencies. But everyone understands that these deficiencies are, to a certain extent, the outcome of the policy of settling the West Bank and Gaza for more than 40 years.

Like Bibi, the Jewish establishment here will not be able to communicate with this young generation. They were, and still are, the natural allies of the "old Israel". We, and especially the younger supporters of J Street and other progressive organizations, have to step up to the plate and be the US Jewish partners of those to whom the Israeli future belongs. Of course, by doing so we will be rendering a tremendous service to the whole Jewish community here, even if it will take time for them to recognize it.

Let me finish with what my over 55 year old, quite cynical brother Nimrod, who volunteers to assist the young activists in their organizational work (and was active in Peace Now before), wrote on his Facebook page: "As I walked through the tents on Rothschild [Avenue] this morning I had a smile on my face and tears in my eyes, and all from emotions. I never imagined that some day I will witness a revolution - and what is taking place is a revolution. Absolutely."

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