The 'power' of Facebook
The election burst the illusion of radical left parties that invested their energies in campaigning primarily through social networks.
The vote for the Da'am Workers Party makes something clear not only to its 3,300 voters, but to the electorate of the entire shrinking radical left, about the bubble into which they will evaporate, thanks to limiting their activity to the "social networks."
Although Da'am held get-togethers in living rooms, its main activity was a Facebook demonstration: "There is someone to vote for." The campaign convinced people that they were talking about many thousands of voters. Let's leave aside the voting threshold. In terms of the organization, the election was "an enhancement of consciousness." And the consciousness was mainly the charisma of Asma Aghbarieh-Zahalka who, as an Arab woman, recommended to us that we forget that we are Jews and Arabs, and remember that we are proletarians.
On Facebook there is no opportunity for a debate, for example, between Hadash and Da'am, as to whether Israeli citizens can really forget that they are Jews and/or Arabs, on the way to equality. Facebook is "streaming images with captions," which turns into a fetishistic hall of mirrors. "I know that it's not the world, and yet I believe that it's 'the entire world.'" Here self-love is the star. It was a central motif even in Da'am's election campaign ("a vote of conscience").
Like any narcissistic phenomenon, this one also has an aggressive reverse side. Here are two ordinary examples of "political" activity common on Facebook, unrelated to Da'am: One brilliant young man slipped and wrote that MK Hanin Zuabi is a legitimate "Israeli Arab woman," not a "Palestinian woman"; "There is no place for a Palestinian woman in the Knesset." The condemnation followed quickly, including a photograph of the quote, in case it was erased. The series of critics, who were actually refined and sophisticated, were unaware that the statement reflected an accepted linguistic distinction. Even MK Azmi Bishara has used it in the past.
A clearer example of the Internet-style "political struggle": Yigal Shtayim, one of the founders of the Levinsky soup kitchen group (which organizes hot meals for migrants at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station), has in the past exhibited insensitivity to the pain of Mizrahim (Jews of Middle Eastern origin) and also denied claims that children of Yeminite immigrants were kidnapped and raised by Ashkenazim in the first years after statehood. The material against him was accumulated with the diligence of the KGB, and as soon as Shtayim announced that he intended to run for the Tel Aviv Municipality on the Meretz slate, a field trial began – on Facebook. In the trial the issue of the Yemenite children was not discussed, nor the left-wing contradiction between tolerance for Palestinian pain and denial of Mizrahi suffering. The discussion, which snowballed with the usual haste, was a condemnation of Shtayim's "racism," and the "racism" of those doubting his "racism." Even the Levinsky Soup activists were condemned as "racists."
In a swift procedure the condemners lost their certificate of kashrut, because in this activity, which becomes the main thing and not a by-product of a political activity, "we" remain a tiny, frightening core group, which in fact is weak and scared. The condemnation is part of an impotent pleasure, which makes the hack omnipotent. In every such gathering there is always a hierarchy of power (as opposed to the post-modern self-image), and there is an absolute majority for "what we are saying." The Internet is the pleasure of the unconscious. It contains no prohibitions. That's why it replaces politics.
Da'am is better than that: dedicated to the goal for decades. Its failure exemplifies falling into the trap of Facebook, the deception of mirrors and the absence of discussion. Within a stream of photos of evil on behalf of justice, which present horrors and "Likes" and the next day everything is erased, only the self-righteousness remains, without analysis. It is, in effect, an addiction to "I write" in front of the computer, instead of acting in the real world. In the Communist party newspaper associated with Hadash, the party's relative failure in the election "despite the use of the social networks," was analyzed courageously. But the decline in the Jewish vote for it was due mainly to this activity.
The election is over. We won't establish an organization, nor a magazine. We won't demonstrate in the streets. Let the real world be abolished! We will remain a minority rubbing shoulders with itself, assassination squads, condemnation, boycotts. Sometimes they will report on us in the newspaper: "Organizing on Facebook." Someone will even be interviewed on television about a "petition."
Politics? Yuk. Only a Stalinist desire to be lawmaker and policeman and judge and hangman. Not in the real world. In front of the computer.