The past few months you protested the disaster that would attend to the assault on the Supreme Court in particular, and the judiciary’s independence in general. Several months ago you may have protested against the criminal absurdity attending to our returning crime-minister appointing to his cabinet a hate mongering racist as well as another convicted criminal. A year or two ago, some of you may have attended protests against the gross inequity in both the suffering from and profiting off various regulations meant to protect ALL citizens equally from the pandemic’s dangers.
Few of you would argue against the proposition that all these protests basically demanded one thing: Justice.
The only means for Israel to avoid the disastrous fate that awaits sectarian nations (that are, by definition, religious, fundamentalist, and exclusionary), is a powerful, widely supported political movement aimed at creating an influential party focused on a few basic precepts, all of which come under the banner of secularly defined Justice.
As David Grossman so aptly put it: “We have here in the streets representatives of many groups who don’t usually come out to protest……..This immensely diverse group is prepared to put aside its differences, and fight this existential fight … In its 75th year, Israel is in a fateful struggle for its character, for its democracy and for the status of its rule of law.”
Realistic and comprehensive understanding of the issue precedes any effort with a reasonable chance of succeeding in its redress. Imagining our ability to change our circumstances, creating a different scenario for ourselves through a particular set of actions is, of course, a capability unique to humans.
So, I invite you to first consider the following assumptions. Among the hundreds of thousands nationwide protesters of recent Shabbats, there were voters for probably eight or ten diverse political parties, arguably, perhaps even 15. These days, however, the focus – of outrage and of action – should be narrowed. Secondary agenda items should be ignored exclusively in favour justice and sustainability – sustainability for Israel & for the planet. We have seen the results of splitting votes among various boutique parties: Netanyahu and his most nefarious coalitions!
We must create a “big tent” Israel Justice party. This must be a party initially founded by a broad “All-Star” coalition of high-profile personalities from academe, media, show business, sports, and the arts – “influencers” with a conscience and concern matching that of the protesters. Perhaps Mr. Grossman may be persuaded to head this movement. No politicians wanted! No aspect of “political expertise” will be required. It is an over-rated skill to begin with, and recent experience has shown that it is most frequently deployed self-servingly, and at society’s cost.
Imagine if every protester recognised the logic of this argument and not only signed on, but assumed responsibility for addressing the subject with two or three others who could not join the protest, but who share the desire for change – change, toward justice, instead of what is taking place now in the opposite direction.
Supremacy of justice can be established, but not through protests. No matter how outraged, protesters are essentially supplicants for change. Voters, in large enough numbers, have power to force change.
Refocus and channel your outrage through this one outlet.
It could be argued that what I call “boutique party” vote-splitting is the reason you have joined so many others in protest. This frustrating realization may, however, be used to reverse this malignant series of events. Join your fellow protesters in one political party. To make sure these protests have lasting impact we must unite in political action as well. Just as firefighters do not use a dozen garden hoses to fight a blaze, we must not try to force change through a dozen boutique parties. We must create a high pressure fire-hose.
Most of you, “know” many reasons why “it cannot be accomplished, no way!” – “Moshe would never…” “Ahuvah could not possibly….” “and forget expecting anyone with a kippah to join us!”
Well, there are several much more powerful reasons that override all previously held doubts and hesitation. Seeing Israel fall to unimaginable and possibly irreversible control by a coalition of religious atavists and secular demagogues is the overwhelming reason for overriding any skepticism-based hesitation.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King succeeded in their stubborn marches for justice well before the age of Internet, and before most of their followers even had the right to vote. You have both facilities at your disposal. Use the Internet to broadcast your mission, and use your votes to accomplish it, through one power-hose.
Nowadays, simply marching to force change is equivalent to protesters using donkey carts for transport and smoke signals for logistics.
“Unprecedented” describes many of the factors that brought you out into the street. “Unprecedented” demands unprecedented reaction!
Protests are spectacles. Resolved, united, political action is power. Harness your anger and frustration more constructively because that is the only thing that will bring about the desired reversal of the steady demolition of justice and equity in Israel.
No ideal is perfect to begin with. And all ideals are instantly vitiated by human involvement in their actuation. History is full of examples validating this claim. Israel, as currently configured and governed, is another exquisitely sad example of humans messing up ideals.
Seventy-five years ago, the ideal that was Israel depended for its establishment on voting support from a collective of otherwise differently aligned countries at the United Nations. Now Israel’s future depends on the collective voting of otherwise differently aligned citizens – voting for a new party that will be determined to bring Israel nearer to the ideal of justice and equity.
Israel can be remade with that ideal in mind. A righteous, progressive, intelligent, and secular near-majority can still be aggregated here. And it can be done (must be) with complete protection of equal rights – not special privileges – for those who currently seek to curb everyone else’s rights while advancing their own.