Now Is the Time for the Real Protest to Create a New, Relevant Social Order

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Members of the opposition celebrate their victory in the citizenship law vote at the Knesset, this week
Members of the opposition celebrate their victory in the citizenship law vote at the Knesset, this weekCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The only relevant conclusion to be drawn from the pathetic spectacle of this past week surrounding the citizenship law and the extension of the emergency order on family reunification is how Israeli politics is dying. And this pertains not just to the opposition or the coalition, but to the whole absurd spectacle.

When “an important matter of national security” becomes nothing more than a pawn in a quid pro quo, and when solemn ideological pronouncements are continually revealed to be utterly meaningless, we need to grasp that the problem runs deeper than this or that government, than this or that outlook. For the entire justification of the democratic political system is built upon giving representation to differing ideologies concerning the question of how to improve the reality. When you don’t have that, what is left?

I once likened our current politics to the tail of a lizard that continues moving after it has been cut off. The comparison is still relevant. Every citizen who cares about this place needs to understand that salvation will not be forthcoming from these politics, from this system. And moreover, acting as if it will bring salvation only leads us to sink further into the mire. All the writers of the numerous texts being written every day about what the new government must do and what must happen, etc., need to recognize that for all of their good intentions, the political system as it is today, in such an advanced state of degeneration, is not the address.

Who is the address? The public. The people who for 70 years believed that the political system is their representation and that the elected officials are their representatives.

The issue is much greater than this or that government, these or those people. There are good people in the political system, with good intentions, but their ability to realize these good intentions within this framework, at this time, is close to zero. Like any system, it will always be stronger than those who operate within it. And right now, this system is concerned first and foremost with its own survival. And as has been written here numerous times – and must be written once more, insistently, given the countless forces trying to plant the belief that what was is what will be – this system, which was designed for a different era, is no longer relevant to the era we live in.

How is it possible to ignore the direct connection between the change in the way that human society functions and the breakdown of the order that governs this society? The big test for Israeli democracy will be in its ability to enable us to give rise to a new framework that will serve us. For we must be aware: The real protest, which began early last year, is still only beginning. In many ways it has not yet truly begun.

All those who think Benjamin Netanyahu’s ouster marks the culmination of the protest, all those who are celebrating the “victory,” who feel that now they can rest on their laurels, are primarily serving those against whom they sought to protest. The only ones who could rightly be celebrating now are the aloof and self-satisfied “people of the past,” whose only concern is to retake control of the rotting system. They will surely pay the price later – just like the 19th-century nobility. Not for nothing is the media suddenly embracing this protest; not for nothing is it bestowing upon it titles of heroism and honor. There is no more effective way to stifle a protest than to embrace it to death. “Good job, you did it, now go back to sleep.”

But in truth, now is the time for the real protest, which should aim for what Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim called a “Blue Ocean Strategy,” creating a new and relevant social order. It must act, go from door to door, from public square to public square, listen to the public, talk to the public, give the public a voice, see how to get the current reality to give rise to new, relevant infrastructures of society and culture and dialogue that make the public and its liberty the top priority.

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