17 July 2012

Thatcherism: The Belief That Things Will Get Better if You Make Your Modern State More Like An Arab Dictatorshiop

It is therefore no surprise that an Israeli has set fire to himself to protest the continued right wing tilt of Israeli society:
TEL AVIV — As doctors struggled on Monday to save the life of Moshe Silman, an Israeli man who set himself on fire at a protest for social justice in this Mediterranean city two days earlier, a grim mood had already replaced the mostly blithe atmosphere that characterized Israel’s popular movement for social change last summer.

While activists said Mr. Silman’s desperate act reaffirmed the relevancy of a grass-roots struggle that had seemed to be floundering, they appeared traumatized as they searched for an appropriate response.

“We must never encourage such a thing,” Stav Shaffir, a prominent leader of the movement, said in a telephone interview. “On the other hand, it cannot be ignored. Moshe Silman cried the cry of a lot of people.”

At the peak of last summer’s rallies, at least 400,000 Israelis peacefully took to the streets in this city and others, in one of the largest protests in the nation’s history. In the past few weeks, though, efforts to revive those heady days have been met with a degree of public apathy.

Then on Saturday, thousands of demonstrators turned out to mark the anniversary of the start of last year’s protests, dividing up into clusters and gathering around small stages. One by one the protesters voiced a wide range of complaints, from limited resources for school psychologists to the lack of public housing for disadvantaged Russian-speaking immigrants. A few people danced nearby to a song by an Israeli rap group that boomed from large speakers.

Suddenly, a tower of flames shot up near one of the podiums.

Mr. Silman, in his 50s, a fixture at the street protests over the past year, came to Tel Aviv on Saturday night equipped with gasoline and a suicide note. He had once run his own truck delivery business, but he had gotten into debt and then suffered a stroke.

In a typed letter he had copied and distributed in advance, he complained that his pleas for help had been rejected by the courts, the Housing Ministry and the National Insurance Institute, and that he was about to become homeless.

“The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me,” he wrote. “They left me with nothing.”

He added, “And I will not be homeless and this is why I protest.”
One of the worst things that Netanyahu had done (and that's saying a lot) was to shift political discussion in Israel completely away from any consideration of a just society.

This is some kind of Middle Eastern version of, "When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you."

Israel is now Tunisia.


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