eumelia: (master politician)
It's worse, because it is far more insidious than ever. You know the old saying about the frog in the boiling pot?

That's us.

It's been forever since I've had a good "bad news" round up. This platform has become something of an escape for me, you see, since the Summer in which thousands of people took to the streets protesting the current political, financial and social disparity in Israel - we forgot to take into account the underlying reason the current government has managed to shut us up and shut us out.

We are occupying another people and the Summer of so-called social change decided that that was too "political", not to do with "us" and not to do with the fact that the cost of living is practically unbearable within Israel. Because that's one thing and Israeli society is another.

Apartheid never seemed so clear.

Over the past few months, while we were resting on the laurels of actually being in the street and protesting the Men, the superficiality of (Jewish) women's equality has been steadily eroding.

Who is to blame? I mean, other than patriarchy. Of course.

Deepening religious extremism is one reason, I mean, when you have a Settler Rabbi telling soldiers should chose death rather than suffer a woman singing. You may go O_o at this little piece of News, but when you have more conservative interpretations to the Jewish adage "A woman's voice is Ervah" i.e. the sound of a woman's voice is pubic or sexual by it's very nature.

A woman is nothing but her sex, of course.

Speaking of voices, our freedom of speech has been basically been taken away, I can't tell you who you should boycott for fear of being sued for damages and now I can't call the Prime Minister, for example, a smug lying asshole, due to this abso-fucking-loutly spiffing amendment bill.

In which, and I quote the article linked above:
The bill represents an amendment to Israel's existing libel law, which would make it possible to sue a newspaper for libel, not only for commensurate compensation for any tangible damage caused by the publication, but for an additional sum of NIS 300,000 − without having to prove damages.

Emphasis mine.

Was there an emergency meeting of journalists? You bet there was.

Unsurprisingly, this bill coincides with the firing of one of Israel's few true watch dogs from public broadcasting Keren Neubach. As you can read in the link, the "reason" given? She "looks" bad on screen.
They're not even bothering any more.

Ditto on shutting down the Ramallah based radio station Palestinian-Israeli cooperative "Kol Ha'Shalom" (a play on words, as "Kol" is a Hebrew homophone for "voice" and "all").

Last night 2000 people rallied in protest of this bill.

2000. Yep, that many.

That really is the equivalent of crickets chirping.

The other bills that have been passing through the Knesset floor have been eroding civil society for years.

But wait. There's more.

The totalitarian nature of the Occupation is finally catching up with Israel proper. The non-violent demonstrations in the West Bank, exemplified by the recent Freedom Rider arrests (amazing pictures) shows the stark contrast of what is actually happening on the ground and the mindset of the average Israeli.

I mean, when the Prime Minister "shelves" the bill set out to persecute NGO's by limiting their funds, but his Foreign Minister goes ahead and does it anyway is, well, telling.

Add to that the fact that there is an all out political attack on the political science department of Negev's Ben-Gurion University, the alarm bells should be ringing off the walls.

Because when the Germans are telling the Israeli government: Um, excuse me, this is not very good and we're really sorry that we have to criticise you like this.

History repeats and really, the Germans would know.

In the meantime, my parents are watching commentary about a documentary about Steve Jobs and Apple.

I fucking hate the world.
eumelia: (resist!)
A month ago when the civil unrest in Israel began and I put aside my cynicism in order to participate in the protests and demonstrations, I was irked to hear people (friends and not friends) say they hoped these demonstrations don't turn "political".

I was baffled.

Social justice is probably the most political standpoint in society at large. The demand that resources, the economy and legislation treat everyone fairly is without a doubt a hard political line.

But in Israel, "politics" doesn't mean the power dynamics between groups of people, or how one's identity creates intersections of privilege and disparity, oh no, politics is that dirty laundry best left to elected officials, you know, which dirty laundry I'm talking about.

Racism. Occupation. "Security".

One of my friends the other day accused me of not liking her as much, because she's Right Wing. I'm like, you're not Right Wing, you support economic justice and she's said, in more words but that's the gist, that I was being deliberately obtuse and that Right and Left in Israel don't mean what they mean in other places in the world.

It's true, Left in Israel means opposing the Occupation to the point of hating Israel and Right means that the only way for Israel to survive is for the Occupation to stand because then Israel will be on the brink of destruction.

Safe to say those are two extreme positions even without breaking down the facets of race, nationalism and trauma that are intertwined into both arguments.

The demonstrations against the high cost of living, the class disparity and the over-all economic injustice that swept through the nation did not touch on the subject of the Occupation. I felt that it should have, because so much of what creates the economic disparity in Israel has to do with building settlements in the West Bank, has to do with building the Separation Wall, has to do with troops out there culling non-violent protests and with pushing an Apartheid economy in the West Bank.

An unregulated cartel like economy thrives in conditions like an Occupation.

I don't know much about the economy, but I do know that.

So the Occupation and the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank were excluded from the discourse and activity to do with the social justice campaign the Tent Demonstrations started.

For good reason, Left and Right, such as they are conceived in Israel have to do with security, how Israeli Jewish bodies can be kept safe in the face of the big bad terrorists.

The government solution, bomb the shit out of civilians living under siege (because of Israel) and under social and religious oppression (because of Hamas), even though the People's Resistance Committee (PRC), who committed the co-ordinated attack, are not affiliated with Hamas, have nothing to do with the Hamas government and were all ID'd and killed by the IDF on the day of the attack.

And not to mention that the skirmishes that followed on the Egyptian border killed 5 Egyptian soldiers, after they had to deal with a suicide bomber of their own.

This, as they say, is a clusterfuck.

Beyond the diplomatic nightmare (Egypt has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel) and the "cease fire" between Israel and Hamas being thrown out the window.

Yes, beyond that, the Israeli paradigm that Security trumps society will be tested, and I fear that it will hold true, because we are nothing if not predictable. Our fear and trauma prevents us from seeing that war benefits very few (Israelis and Palestinians) and hurts the innocent more than anyone who actually perpetrates violence.

The Hebrew Leftists blogosphere is already talking about the end of the social justice demonstrations in light of the government's hawkish endeavours. I'm hoping the people have wised up a little, and notice that the government who sweated due to the fact that we know they used the economy against us, will have wised up and see that the government will exploit this renewed violent conflict in order to get back the control it had briefly lost on the citizens.

My response?

Resist and go back to the streets where we've been for the past month.
Resist and don't accept the idea that "security" demands social justice to be forfeited.

*V For Vendetta. What else?
eumelia: (verbiage)
Yesterday Israelis took to the street again, for the third week in a row.

Mass demonstrations and protests, which are planned during the weeks in the tent cities that have mushroomed all over the show.

The main reason this is happening now?

Because the neo-liberal economic system is hurting everyone and finally we middle class peeps don't have pockets as deep as we thought.

Yes, this is an economic justice protest, it is a socially political protest, it is a demonstration of my favourite thing - Vox Populi.

I was one of the 300,000 that walked the streets, I didn't sleep last night and I'm still wiped, who knows when I'll have a proper night's sleep this week.

On Twitter, someone asked, why are we having such huge protests if we are a democracy and chose our leaders through elections?

I didn't answer at the time, but I'll answer here, because it's true we are not like Tunisia and Egypt, though economic justice and welfare were the bottom line in many cases for those demonstrations as well (there are still people in Tahrir), but the fact that our fear, Israeli Jewish fear to be precise, for our survival in a hostile territory created a voting system based on national security rather then job security, affordable housing, a proper welfare system and public health care - every single one of those aspects of Israeli life has been eroded through privatisation (school children aren't getting their vaccines because of privatised school nursing system) and de-regulation (people can't buy milk and cheese and fruit and vegetables!).

And so we reached a brink, there's an idiom in Hebrew is to say enough is enough, literally it means "The water has reached our breath/spirit" and never before have I seen so many people demanding to what should have always been there.

And finally, little by little, I'm seeing more and more people demanding political justice as well, calling an end to the Occupation - because though it is the moral and ethical thing to do, it is also the practical thing to do. The Occupation take money out of our pockets and is used to opress another people in economic and political dire straights.

Come September, and the UN bid for Statehood, if things don't get moving, this whole summer may be a waste.

I have hope, actually, for real, seeing all those people, being among them with my friends, it's enough to start a revolution of some kind.
eumelia: (fight the rich)
In case you weren't aware, Israel is in turmoil. The good way, as in, people are taking to the streets, rather than to our guns.

Three weeks ago, a protest regarding the cost of living (mainly the price of rent) was started by a young grad student who set up a tent in one of the businest boulevards in Tel-Aviv. And well, the rest is history.

[personal profile] roga has a picspam that will show you the magnitude of this, well, surge.

There have been quite a few big marches and demonstrations, and tonight there were simultaneous demos all over the country.

150,000 people marched in Tel-Aviv alone.

I didn't go to that one. I went to the one close to home, the one in my town. We were 300+ people shouting slogans about social and economic justice.

My town is very fiscally conservative, like most of wealthy suburbia, so I felt it was important to show a presence in places where it is very much not obvious that there will be a turnout.

So there I was, shouting along and holding up the symbolic tent.

Times they are a-changing?

I can only hope the idea of social justice, welfare and economic justice will spill out towards actually touching the Occupation and how the majority of our issues come from the fact that cheap housing is built in the territories, that the jumbo budget of the army should be allocated towards education, welfare and public health.

I don't have faith, but I do have history, I rely on it being repeated.
eumelia: (this small)
So, yeah.

This week has been insane, hasn't it, particularly this weekend, most of which I missed due to the fact that I am both lame and trying to wrap up my degree.

So I missed what is probably the most important demonstration of the last decade studying for a stupid exam. Plus I wasn't feeling 100% hopefully the fresh muggy air of morning helped clear my head in order to pass this thing.

The important demonstration is ostensibly about the fact that people can't afford to pay rent or buy a flat in this country, but really, it's about the fact that we're not getting paid enough money, that there is no regulation of practically any market and that the government hates us.

Bibi, will you please fuck off already!

And then there was Norway - which, amazingly enough, the local news didn't jump to the conclusion that it was, you know, brown people like the rest of the world. And man, isn't the world feeling that smart.

I'm sorry to be glib, but in the face of such a horrendous tragedy, my only choice is tell the world to get over itself and stop Strawman-ing groups of people that are easy to blame because they're a They, rather than Us - white people have caused more destruction and murder all over the world, than many other atrocities combined.

And yet, I don't see anyone blaming Whiteness and Christianity for this killing spree.

My heart goes out to the family of the victims in what must be the worst time of their lives.

Be strong, Norway.

I'll mention Amy Winhouse, because she shouldn't have gone. It's always sad when an artist as good as that leaves the world.

And last, but not least, on the fandom front, because mixing political and social disasters with fandom on this blog is so rare - I mainlined the first season of Hawaii Five-0 for which I blame [livejournal.com profile] verasteine, who showed me picscams of Scott Caan and told me about the subtext on a show that really shouldn't be all that good, but is actually really, really good. Character consistency! Who would have thunk it.

So, now I have an icon of Scott Cann being sarcastic.

The show itself leaves much to be desired in, um, plot. The plot, was, well, okay, it made the characters suffer which is fine.

Now I'm invested and I'm watching you CBS, do not fuck it up!

I'm resting, now, and I need to watch Torchwood - oh, man I need to write about Torchwood.

I have no time.
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
My speech (which, no matter what people say, has never been absolutely free) has been curtailed in a frightening way.

I cannot tell you which companies not to buy from, because I could get sued and fined (but not confined) for it.

The "anti-Boycott" law which passed last week in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament stipulates that it is a civil wrong (not a criminal offence) to call for a boycott on Israeli made, well, anything.

It is meant to protect Settlement made goods from the West Bank from financial loss.

In effect, it punishes people from doing the most non-violent action possible, asking people to be conciousness consumers.

I am not telling you to boycott, because that would open me up for law suits that could sue me for more money that I've got, due to hypothetical financial loss.

If ever there was a time for you to learn about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign and movement, it is now.

But, well, I can't tell you what you should do regarding that.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
I didn't think I'd write about my Pride angst, just because it's June. I pretty much write about my ambivalence of being an Israeli Queer, that the (Tel-Aviv) community is used to portray Israel as the land flowing with Free Love and Milky Substance.

I hate that.

RM of Letters from Titan wrote a great post titled The Ghost of Pride Past (and Future), in which she talks about the change the New York City Pride parade from an angry protest march to a corporate extravaganza in which various companies show how Gay Friendly they are.

This is the same change I have been told happened in Israel, but in a shorter amount of time and only in Tel-Aviv. Only. The first Pride march (not a parade yet!) was 1998, which was a culmination of a lot of protest activities that mostly ended up with police confrontation - the year 1998 was a big one when it came to queer visibility in Israel, what with Dana International winning the Eurovision and the Wigstock Riots, which was partly sponsored an LGBT AIDS support and advocacy group known as ב.ל.ה דואגת (B.L.A. Doeget = Bella Cares), which has since become a part of Israel AIDS Task Force. The riots erupted because police came to break up the event because it was violating Shabbat.
...Yeah.

When I was a teenager, I didn't go to Pride. I didn't think I needed to, as I was oblivious to the reality of queer lives. When I was a teenager I was pretty oblivious to a lot of things.
I had "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and that was good enough for me - though apparently that has also changed into a corset fashion show.

But since my teenage years, things have changed. It took only a decade or so for Pride to become the radical march it was above, to the corporate funded pink-washing (Facebook Page) event it now is.

Last year, I marched in a politically charged Pride march, which was critical of the fact that Pride has become a mostly gay male event, sponsored by gay celebrities and use gay culture and gay tourism to cover the fact that Israel is a racist, sexist and homophobic state - the murderer from August 2009 is still at large, just so you know, most likely he never will be. But I joined the Municipal Pride Party - all in all, I walked for about five hours and didn't get scorched by the June Tel-Aviv sun.

Last year, the first Pride marches of Be'er Shevah (the biggest city in the Negev desert) and Rishon L'Zion (one of the largest cities south of Tel-Aviv) were initiated, with a whole lot of resistance from the city municipalities.

In Haifa, the largest northern city, they've had Pride for eight years, every year is a struggle to get funds and support from the municipality and the larger LGBT organisations. Every year they are forced to march the side-streets so as not to disturb "the residents".

Do I even need to mention Jerusalem? In which people's humanity is debated and if fact taken away when we're called "Animals" who commit "sin"?
I marched with my sister last year and will most likely do so again this year.

So this year, despite my it going against my instincts, I'll be marching in the Tel-Aviv Municipal Pride Party, in which I and many others feel marginalised and excluded.
Worry not, there will be a political/critical march as well, and I'll be there too.

I wish I could say I was feeling split by this, but honestly, I just feel as though the majority of the LGBT community is either politically apathetic and those who are political are ineffective.
Mainly, and more often than not, the feeling of frustration accompanies me when I am out and about.
eumelia: (flags)
I don't know what to write about this day.

I will say one thing though. The Police and IDF knew there would be marches. The IDF knew the Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, would be coming.

They expected violence, though the only act of violence that happened in Israel was a deliberate traffic collision, though honestly, to me it just seems as though people are out for blood and any excuse will do.

And yet, for some unknown reason, they were "unprepared". Let's blame the regional bogeyman, Iran.

Over the weekend, on the 14th, when the commemorations of the Nakba began, border police used rubber bullets and they ended up killing a teenager who took part in demonstrations in East Jerusalem.

Non deadly force is a myth.

I speak only as an Israeli Jewish grrl who has had enough of the injustice that is perpetuated by trying to keep the Nakba outside of our own discourse and public arena, and that at least ten people died because of our fear that they may become an "Us".

In the link above about discourse, it is mentioned that the word Nakba only entered the vocabulary in the 90's. This may be so, but the first time I remember hearing about it was when I was doing my time in the IDF and it was mentioned that there are days to look our for when it comes to terrorist activity, one of them was May 15th (along with Independence Day). That was the mid-2000's and really, I think it is only the past five years or so, that Israel has become so extreme so as to shut down Jewish activity regarding the Nakba.

It is because we know that we will have to compromise. For real. And not pretend we're giving into concessions, when we own the playing the field.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
The Nakba (Arabic for "Disaster" or "Calamity") began in 1948, when the Jewish people created a homeland (our Independence) on a land we could have shared, maybe, with the Arabs (Muslim, Christian and Jewish) who lived here for generations before European Jewry got into the nationalistic fervour that swept the continent in the mid-19th century.

A law from our Parliament tells us it is illegal to use public funds to commemorate the Nakba, as it undermines the legitimacy of the existence of Israel.
Seeing as Israel has no problem denying nationalistic aspirations to the Palestinians, the hypocrisy, not to mention the perversity of the democratic idea that is supposed to enable minority voices and narratives to speak and be heard.

But we've always been good at silencing those who punch holes in the cohesive story of our nation building. As though a story needs to be factual in order to be real.

On the 14th of May (my birthday) David Ben-Gurion declared the Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The 15th is the Nakba day and in Israel, the IDF is preparing to deal with marches that will take place in the West Bank to commemorate, there is fear the actions will spill over into Israel and that Palestinians with Israel citizenship will make a statement of their own.
The IDF is preparing for violence, though god help us if no violence comes.
The IDF doesn't know how to deal with nonviolence.

All this, was an exposition to the fact that it is commonly said that the Occupation of the West and Gaza began in 1967 and "ended" with the Oslo Accords in 1994.

Well, let it not be said the Nakba and the Occupation aren't intertwined.

Being the Trouble Maker that I am, let me tell you, with some facts brought to light this morning on the national News, just how intertwined they are.

It would appear, that between 1967 and 1994 140,000 Palestinians lost their residency due to a covert procedure used on Palestinians who traveled abroad.
I have to admit, I feel queasy.
According to the article:
From the occupation of the West Bank until the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians who wished to travel abroad via Jordan were ordered to leave their ID cards at the Allenby Bridge border crossing.

They exchanged their ID cards for a card allowing them to cross. The card was valid for three years and could be renewed three times, each time adding another year.

If a Palestinian did not return within six months of the card's expiration, thier documents would be sent to the regional census supervisor. Residents who failed to return on time were registered as NLRs - no longer residents. The document makes no mention of any warning or information that the Palestinians received about the process.


You know, I'm not always keen on using Apartheid to describe the Occupation, as I consider the situations different, the reasons behind the segregation (which are not the same either), but I think in this instance it is justified, especially considering that this practice is apparantly still going on in East Jerusalem, which gives a really tragic and ironic spin on the whole "United City" propaganda:
Today, a similar procedure is still in place for residents of East Jerusalem who hold Israeli ID cards; they lose their right to return if they have been abroad for seven years.

Palestinians who found themselves "no longer residents" include students who graduated from foreign universities, businessmen and laborers who left for work in the Gulf. Over the years, many of them have started families, so the number of these Palestinians and their descendants is probably in the hundreds of thousands, even if some have died.


I cannot think of anything that can justify this procedure on a human level, never mind an ethical one (are they even the same?). This kind of demographic control and expulsion is reminiscent of regimes so dark, I can hardly swallow the notion that I am a benefactor of this racial and national crime.

Fucking hell.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
I love Passover/Pesach.

I was practising reading a portion of the Haggadah with my father this afternoon and I commented, as I've done for years now, how skewed it is when it comes to gender (as in women are not mentioned even once in it) and the new finagled traditions that my American siblings of the feminist and queer variety have tried to instil (the Orange and Miriam's Cup) just do not fit in the Israeli culture, not even alternative culture (Fruit isn't a pun in Hebrew and water isn't an alcoholic beverage and thus has no significance).

I'm going to try and read something extra during the evening, to show that we aren't all free as of yet and just as we remember our bondage of past, we have to remember the bondage of present.

This is especially pertinent, because there are two things we say during the Seder that really cut through me.
"Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not" and Next year in Jerusalem, both recited at the end of the Hagadah.

I was chatting to a friend and mentioned that as an Israeli I'm conditioned to *SMASH* things I don't like. As an individual I mainly shout and judge things without apology.

It is, however, a symptom my locale.

An interpretation of "Next year in Jerusalem" for me, is protection from persecution and antisemitism. Knowing that my family are immigrants to a country designed and designated as a the Jewish Homeland. The historical and political issues and realities aside for the moment, one the things this has always meant in my understanding, that Jews in Israel are safe from persecution on account of our Judaism.

Well, if you're not the right kind of Jewish (i.e. Orthodox of a certain kind) your persecution is guaranteed.
It's one thing not to be completely understood (why I as an atheist goes to shul once a year and light Shabbat candles with my mom every Friday night), it's quite another to have your synagogue vandalised.
There is no doubt, that the Reform shul was vandalised by other Jews, seeing as it was spray painted with Hebrew words saying: "It's Begun" and was signed with a Star of David.
This is the third time this specific shul was targeted. Earlier this year, the shul my family attends, which is Conservative, was also vandalised and spray painted with "Live the People" which is fucking creepy.

But hey, we're the Jewish homeland.

The land of freedom.

If you're Jewish enough. God forbid, you're not a Jew, second class citizens doesn't even begin to cut it.

Making the whole "Wrath Unto the Nations" even more disturbing.

I love Passover. Sometimes (most of the time) I feel the majority of Israeli Jews are just too blinkered to get what it's all about.

As I said, I'm going to try and read something outside the Haggadah, because change only comes if you drag the tradition kicking and screaming.
eumelia: (exterminate!)
Not because of the events themselves. One of the things I enjoy about facebook is seeing all the things I don't have time to do or I'm too lazy to attend fly by and be spoken about by those who did go and enjoy themselves.

I'm going to an events I found on Facebook this evening, hopefully accompanied by a friend, but also maybe not.

I'm going to listen to a panel at the Tel-Aviv LGBT Centre regarding the discriminatory paragraph on the blood donor's restriction guidelines. As with the rest of most Western countries in the world Israel also restricts gay men and men who have sex with men from donating blood due to being a "risk group" for HIV/AIDS.

So, I'll be going this evening to hear a panel on the subject. The speakers are going to be a representative from the QUILBAG outreach branch of the Israel AIDS task force, a researcher from an education and youth organisation movement and the chair of the MADA (the Red Star of David, our version of the Red Cross/Crescent) blood bank.

I'm looking forward to it, as a regular donor and queer person, it's one of my regular peeves that I talk about when discussing institutionalised homophobia and an issue I try to discuss with the blood technicians; most of the time they're like "we're just doing our job, we have no control over policy" which is fair, but irritating and sometimes I actually manage to have an interesting discussion with some of them (usually women technicians) and during one of those conversations I was told that the Israeli policy is part of a world wide policy recommended by the Red Cross - something I'd not known at the time (this was about three years ago, I think).

It's worth starting discussions with people who poke you with needles, I say.

In any event, yesterday, I posted the event on Facebook and put out a general request of "who's coming with me?".

The discussion that transpired irritated me to the level of KEY-BOARD-SMASH!!!!!!.

I'll spare you the details as they're not that important and interesting. Not to mention, they're in Hebrew. However, there was something that was written that made me double take and got my ears roaring.

There was agreement (total, I might add) that the restrictive paragraph was discriminatory and wrong, but the gay community (at this point we were talking about gay men specifically, because they're the group that's eschewed from being able to donate) contributes to its image.
Meaning?
That there is a culture of casual sex and one night stands in the gay community that isn't as widespread like in straight culture - casual sex and one night stands create a higher risk of infection.

My mind, it was blown. My blood, it was boiling.

I tried, really really hard to explain, why that kind of statement is homophobic and victim blaming. No dice and this discussion went on for hours on and off. It even went on to say that some women are to blame for sexism.

Fucking hell.

Now, the thing is, the person saying all that, I don't know 'em very well, but I like 'em and they like me as well and we're becoming friends and the discussion itself is interesting, but I'm finding it very hard to keep an even keel and cool head in light of this espousing of bullshit.

Hence the aforementioned KEY-BOARD-SMASH!!!!!!.

Facebook is stress causing in this case. I can tell you that if someone had said this crap to my face in person I'm pretty sure I would have thrown something heavy at that person's head.
And left the room with a door slam.
I'm dramatic that way (my officer's nick name for me during my Army service was Melodrama).

I know I haven't given y'all nearly enough info regarding what was actually said in the discussion for you to actually have an opinion on who was right, but honestly, I don't care.

I'm sick and tired of being in a position in which the basic humanity of individuals of a certain group needs to be proven as actually worth while, existent and ratified. Especially when I'm the company of so-called straight allies and friends - yeah, in case it wasn't obvious, the person I was commenting back and forth with is straight - there was another participant and their input didn't make want to, once again, KEY-BOARD-SMASH!!!!!!.

I think I'll go check if I have company this evening.
eumelia: (buggering)
I had a really frustrating discussion today.
It's felt very much of dismissal and prioritising the "struggle".

I dunno.

I mean, is the threat fascism in Israel (which is very real) more than the Homophobia inherent in this machismo and militaristic society?

Hearing the words "Homophobia is a prejudice found in every society and really, things are much better than they were 10 and even 15 years ago" is incredibly glib and frustrating to hear.
Especially considering who tends to be the victims of fascist, ethnocratic and theocratic governments.

Just a thought. Call me over sensitive, but I tend to find connections between rampant prejudice and jingoism.

It may not appear so, but the fact that in the same week I read about a family being treated as second class citizens at a national park because they're gay and the Tel-Aviv Police Department backing out on an expedition to Berlin regarding combating Homophobia related crime.
Who needs fucking "tolerance" when we have consumer surveys asking people if they'd mind travelling with Arabs on the future light rail in Jerusalem.

While I'm often an in-your-face aggressive Levantinit myself, this kind of unapologetic prejudice is just despicable. I suppose I should be greatful we're not even pretending. But then again, no one seems to be aware of this racism thing. You know, that we're racist.

Fuck it.

I'm pissed about a lot of things. It may not be good for my health, but it keeps me going. My outrage fatigue creeps up, but seriously, when I hear people say separate the issues deliberately and really I'm not a proponent of the whole "one struggle, one fight" ideal, it makes me wonder where the Left has gone wrong.

To prioritise "issues" according to some arbitrary criterion is irritating and frustrating and reminds me of the article that circulated a few weeks ago, Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements:
The guys who said they would complete a task, didn’t do it, brushed off their compañeras’ demands for accountability, let those women take over the task, and when it was finished took all the credit for someone else’s hard work. The graduate student who hit his partner—and everyone knew he’d done it, but whenever anyone asked, people would just look ashamed and embarrassed and mumble, “It’s complicated.” The ones who constantly demeaned queer folks, even people they organized with. Especially the one who thought it would be a revolutionary act to “kill all these faggots, these niggas on the down low, who are fucking up our children, fucking up our homes, fucking up our world, and fucking up our lives!” The one who would shout you down in a meeting or tell you that you couldn’t be a feminist because you were too pretty. Or the one who thought homosexuality was a disease from Europe.

Yeah, that guy.

I'd really appreciate it, if we stopped shooting ourselves in the foot.

Just an idea.

I'm going to eat something. I'm starving.

That Word

Aug. 3rd, 2010 11:43 am
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
You know, generally speaking, I think it's a mistake to use the word Apartheid when speaking of Israel proper (the West Bank and Gaza are, of course, under Apartheid rule) possibly because my family is South African.

Most likely, because it is one of the reasons my family immigrated and sought out a better life. I mean, even if they were white, they were still Jews.

Zionism probably looked like a good deal. I wonder how it is living up to the dream.

I have no dreams of that kind. Of packing up and leaving for a better life in a land far away from the one I was born in. I am not an immigrant, despite living with a bunch of them and I wonder if that has made me take this country for granted.

Possibly. But so what? By virtue of being Jewish I have no fear of deportation, nor do I have any fear of imprisonment for anything to do with my ethnicity.

Unlike the 400 children of immigrant workers who are to be deported. Without their parents, because Netanyahu's government is heartless, cruel, near-sighted.
Consider, that this is how Netanyahu justifies the Cabinet's decision to deport these children:
"This is a reasonable and balanced decision," Netanyahu said Sunday after deciding to deport hundreds of migrant workers' children. "It was influenced by two primary considerations - the humanitarian consideration and the Zionist consideration. We're looking for a way to absorb and adopt to our hearts children who were brought up and raised here as Israelis. On the other hand, we don't want to create an incentive that will lead to hundreds of thousands of illegal migrant workers flooding the country," he said.

Consider, that just this morning, 230 immigrants from North America - i.e. Americans and Canadians - arrived in Israel, 85 of them are going to enlist immediately into the IDF.
A "privilege" they are denying an Intersex Haredi man. This here, is intersectionality. I mean, a Haredi man, who wants to serve, is denied because his body doesn't match the criteria of manhood.

I wish we would stop pretending we're a democracy and just acknowledge that we're a liberal ethnocracy (as my friend Yael, aptly put), because see, we're not totalitarian in the classical sense. We have no actual dictator or figure head... we have a pervasive ideology, which we cow-tow to and destroy lives to live up to.

That act of Jewish immigration is, I'm sorry to say, Apartheid. Not the same kind that was committed in South Africa and indeed, perhaps it is the wrong word, it is often a word which doesn't mean what we think it means. So here's what it means to me; as a person who grew up hearing it, hearing about Nelson Mandela and growing up under the love and care of people who wanted me to be colour-blind: Apartheid )

The Occupation is not just in Palestine. Apartheid may have a very specific meaning, but language is a very flexible thing. And separateness (which is the translated meaning of the word) may not actually be what it means, but difference, prejudice and the assumption that this is done for the good of the nation, is appalling.

I was going to write some more about the fact that different Jewish groups are treated differently under the law, about pinkwashing, about the privilege of writing this and being (relatively) safe.
But that would just be procrastination.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
What Ethnic Cleansing?
While we were sleeping!?
No, no way.

Sarcasm aside.

Over the night 1000+ police men demolished the Beduin village on El-Araqib situated in the Negev, just north of Beer Sheva (the largest Southern town).
The village had 30 houses and they've all been bulldozed.

I've only seen small update reports in the News websites and a few short blog-posts like on The Only Democracy and Mondoweiss.

The reason for this demolition?
The Jewish National Fund deemed the land designated for Jewish use only and are planning on planting a forest there.
No, really.

I can't believe I heard the report about this happening from Facebook.
eumelia: (resist!)
This is my ANGRY FACE! It ain't no damn Poker Face!

The Jerusalem Police is banning the Pride March to the Knesset, our Parliament, and telling the organisers (J-Lem Open House) that the route, through side streets from one park to another, we marched on last year is the one they're approving.

The Open House is appealing, of course.

The reason? "Security".

The article, linked above, doesn't state any particular security reason, simply... security!

"Security" is like a worm in a computer, it can shut down any and all conversations regarding the needs and wants of anyone. If it's security, it trumps all. That's why there are stories journalists aren't allowed to write about.

Fuck this shit. I can grantee, if the police doesn't approve the March to the Knesset, there will be a sever case of civil disobedience from citizens who are fucking pissed off at having their rights trampled on!

Fucking pigs.

On better notes:
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will march at Toronto Pride!, well done you guys!

And President Obama presents an initiative to gelp homeless queer youth, *thumbs up* Mister President. This would be a good time to remind you Yanks, that Obama has been none too shabby when it comes to QUILTBAG (Best Acronym Ever!) Rights in the U.S.A - I love lists of good things.
eumelia: (media lies)
I know it seems like I'm constantly talking about this, but honestly this stuff is scary and so blandly disingenuous that I'm not sure people actually realise the danger of this sort enterprise.

There was a "Police Day" at an elementary school in a small town in the centre of Israel.

Just the title got me prickly with anxiety:
At 'Police Day,' first-graders get to play with real rifles and machine guns

"An educational institution should educate for civic values and independent thought, not admiration for force," said Amit Sharon, whose daughter attends one of the schools. Border Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Moshe Fintzy said the program was authorized and coordinated with the Education Ministry. "We're not like Hezbollah, which train kids to commit suicide," he said.
[...]
[Another parent] noted that although the children understood that all the weapons were used for dispersing demonstrations, there were no explanations about why people held protests or when they might need to be dispersed. "As far as they know now, all protests need to be disbanded by any means necessary. That's hardly education for democracy," he said.


I live in fear of the future generation if this is the public education, especially when one parent is quoted saying:
"the children were very impressed by the demonstrations, especially by the dogs that attacked and stopped someone on command. I don't understand their complaints - there's nothing wrong with demonstrating Border Police activities. It's part of the reality of life here. The kids' tender souls weren't hurt".

Jesus.

Of course, Israeli schools are the "shit" these days, what with racial segregation which is finally being cracked down after years of this shit going on in the Orthodox Settlement of Immanuel.

And yes, when I say Settlement, I mean it is a town built in the West Bank, Palestine. So, yeah.
Racism.

The irony is anvilicious.
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
Two years ago, I went to Bil'in. To those unaware, Bil'in is a Palestinian village in the West Bank that was and still is the forerunner in the popular struggle against the Separation wall cutting through the landscape and usurping Palestinian land beyond the Green Line (the historical 1967 border).

Two years ago I went to Bil'in and I haven't been back. I haven't been to the West Bank since.

Mainly, because I'm afraid.

I'm a coward, because I long for normality. I know many who go to Bil'in, Al-Massarah, Wallaga, Nialin, Nabi-Sallah, Sheikh Jarrah and I don't.

I'm scared of the violence. I'm scared of being arrested. I'm afraid of seeing again what I saw two years ago in that little village, what I dub in my mind as the little village that could.

With much guilt I sometimes pretend everything is okay.

The flotilla disaster was not a wake up call, it was another knot in the string of violence committed in the name of keeping Israel from showing its dirty bloody laundry.

Since the flotilla disaster, criticism and threats of isolation have grown, more and more performing artists have said they weren't going to be performing in Israel (I have a ticket to K's Choice performance in September*, we'll see...) and it has put to the average Israeli into a tizzy.

Everyone hates us. The whole world is Antisemitic. We just want to live our lives.

We can't. I can't. Because they don't.

See what I did there.

It's so easy, living where I do, in an affluent middle-class town, less then half an hour drive to Tel-Aviv and to the cultural events of that place, to forget the price we pay for that comfort. That not twenty minutes away from my sister's flat in Jerusalem there are riots because Palestinian homes are being evicted in order to enable Jews to live there comfortably.

My life, is not normal, by virtue of living in a place that creates a doublespeak and a doublethink on what's political, what is societal and what is a crime.

I broke the law two years ago when I went to Bil'in, because I crossed the border by jumping over a fence and not going through a blockade. I went there and smelt the tear gas and saw the bullets hit.
That is where the average Israeli can see that things are shite.
Because beyond the border, in Israel, not in Palestine, things are okay... I will not be arrested, I will not be attacked on campus for walking past a demo... I do not fear the authorities, even though I am threatened by them.

Israelis just want to watch the World Cup, drink their beer and go to an open air concert. They just want to live their lives like every average Joe.

But we are not average. This is an abnormal state.

We have always been at war (with Eurasia).

The Occupation is not over there and it's not about them. The Occupation is the fact that every high-tech company works with the Military on something, the Occupation is the fact that the Palestinians are another market to exploit, both in the West Bank and in Gaza. The Occupation is the fact that our economy is based on the fact that the Palestinians are starving.

This is not about who has the bigger dick. This is about the smoke-screen of normality we Israeli Jews live within and don't seem to be able to see through. That it is beyond ideology, religion and all that crap, it's not about who won the war and how many died on which side... it is about the fact that there are those who exploit and those who are exploited.

I have the fortune of being on the exploiting side, which is why I can chose to not go to the West Bank and see 18-20 year old boys and girls mindlessly follow orders and shoot directly into a mass of people who are there because they live there.

I live here too. Despite my many whinges and whines about immigrating, I cannot imagine living any where else.
Maybe it's my Zionist upbringing, maybe it's pure bloody stubbornness and maybe it's simply that I don't want to be a stranger.

I want people to stop starving so that enable drink my Fair Trade coffee in that nice cafe that has African workers who may or may not be refugees from Sudan or Eritrea.

You can say, well all places are crap, what with Kyrgyzstan starting to genocide, just as an example.

But that's deflection, that's ignoring the mess in your own house in order to make snide comments about someone else's dirty laundry.

No country is perfect and it may seem unfair that Israel is singled out in this criticism, but if you look at the fact that all Israel's gotten over the past 40+ years have been the equivalents of the US wagging its finger and the UN saying without much force "hey, now, what you're doing is not so good", I'd say we are getting off pretty fucking lightly in the wake of the amount of damage we've done to this country and the fact that our economy (have I mentioned?!) relies on the fact that the people we keep under siege and imprisoned in their Bantustans continue to be weak, lacking in leadership and without any sense of stability in their life - which yeah, not all (or even most) Israelis have that either, but ask yourself... why?

This post was inspired by this Hebrew blog entry, which should be translated pronto, hopefully by someone with more time than I.

*Thank you [livejournal.com profile] nurint!
eumelia: (Default)
Congratulations America,

I'm glad you're joined the ranks of Britain, The Netherlands, Sweden and Israel (among other nations) who do not allow soldiers to be discriminated with regards to their sexuality.

Kudos, America. Kudos.

Throughout the years in which I've heard and listened to the truly demoralising state of queers in the American Armed Forces, I've always heard Israel being used as a prime example of how inclusive the IDF is to gay men and women.

I mean, there's no institutionalised discrimination like in the US (did I mention Kudos).

Because as Sen. Barney Frank is quoted saying:
"[that the IDF is] as effective a fighting force as has existed in modern times,” does not bar gay men or lesbians from service.

It is truly a mark of progression.

I'm cynical. And yes, I am using this as an opportunity to be critical of my own locale, because it irks me to see Israel venerated as an oasis of equality and democracy in the Middle East. Considering our neighbors, I find it quite offensive that we're bragging about how good "we" are to queers, when it should be fucking human decency!

The two worst insults you will hear among Israeli soldiers will be "Gay" or "Female", both of which allude to the same thing - "you're not man enough".
No insult is greater.
While there is no legal discrimination against gays in the army, and up until 1993 gays were not allowed to serve in the Intelligence services because they were prone to blackmail and up until that decision outed gays were told to tattle on other gay soldiers.

Things aren't bad.

Then again, Israel was always a little a head of the curve from the US when it came to gay rights. But then another again, why compare ourselves to an ocean away when just a leap to, say, Sweden, and we're put smack back among our neighbors.

But that's in Israel. If you're Jewish and served your country, you'll just be murdered once in a while, or told you're a disease by Members of Knesset. You won't be discriminated against.
Much.
You know, except when you want to donate blood, or have children.

Gay men, that is.

What's a Lesbian?

Bi and Trans... mythological fringe identities, at the very least.

My point? Oh, yeah, homosexuality is still used as blackmail material in the West Bank by the Shin-Bet (Israel's Security Agency, my friends and I like to call them the Stasistim) to get Palestinians to collaborate. And then they need to be given asylum in Israel for being gay.
I like how for security reasons the stratification of homophobia in the most disenfranchised population is encouraged.

It is truly a mark regression.

Once again America. Welcome to a fairer, more equal Army experience.
eumelia: (Default)
One of the most lauded attributes the IDF uses to promote itself as an enlightened and ultimately is the egalitarian treatment between female and male soldiers.

This is bullshit, but it is an image that it quite convincingly manages to throw around - persuading us that through service social equality is gained - yeah.

Combat units in which female integration have supposedly worked the best are the border patrol units. Many women serve at the check points and in the units that patrol the West Bank.

I've blogged about Breaking The Silence (BTS) before, which is an NGO that collects testimonials from soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories and publish it for public knowledge and consumption.
Obviously, they and other organisations critical of the IDF are quietly persecuted and spoken about in the most Antisemitic and anti-Humane terms I've ever heard - "Self-hating", "deluded", "bleeding hearts", "self-destructive".
As though loyalty to the IDF is the litmus of being loyal to the notion that our lives are worth something.

Any way.

BTS published on Friday the 29th of January (yesterday) a new testimony booklet. This one is testimonials of female soldiers.
"A female combat soldier needs to prove more…a female soldier who beats up others is a serious fighter…when I arrived there was another female there with me, she was there before me…everyone spoke of how impressive she is because she humiliates Arabs without any problem. That was the indicator. You have to see her, the way she humiliates, the way she slaps them, wow, she really slapped that guy."

This is a quote from the article (which is problematic and essentialist. Then again, it's YNET) and a woman in this "feminist" army needs to prove she's as good as any man.
She must be violent towards the population the army is policing.

I always find it hair raising when I hear women who serve in the IDF call themselves feminists. It is a kind of feminism. A feminism that only focuses on her own career trying to gain the privilege allotted only to men in that position.

Not too long ago, I had a class in which the discussion of whether the use of the word "feminist" wasn't shooting ourselves in the foot because of the negative connotation.
It's an old and tried debate in my opinion, so I won't regale you on what was said - but one classmate said that as a reserve pilot she refused to consider her gender when she put on her uniform and flew - then, she was just a pilot.

Related though tangential, I have a friend who participates in sexist jokes in her workplace in order to have an environment that she isn't considered a stick in the mud and "one of those" women. Yeah.

Back to the IDF.
Female soldiers in order to show and prove that they are as good as any man, have to be "worse" than their male fellow soldiers.
Prove she's got the "balls", so to speak.

All the people who give testimony to BTS bear witness to the Occupation from the vantage point of those who actively perpetrate it. These soldiers are the nuts and bolts of the Occupation and they come back into "civilian society" with this baggage.
People wonder why Israel can't let go of trauma.
We're all infected with PTSD.

The testimonies are hard to read. They were harder for me to read than previous ones by men, because alas, I am socialised to view men as violent. And women who are violent are aberrant.
Not the case.
So very much not the fucking case.

If this is the meaning of an egalitarian army and this is the means through which Israeli Jewish women gain more power later in life, then the very basic notion of a human being is, is utterly, completely and foundationally twisted in the hegemonic Israeli mind.

Here are the links to the PDF file of the testimonials: In Hebrew and in English.
eumelia: (Default)
On Wednesday the 25th, Bibi offered a 10 month settlement freeze.

This morning I read that Israel okays the building of 28 new houses in the Settlements.

Its so ridiculous I'd laugh. Alas, it's just too tragic for words.

This in itself isn't surprising seeing as in the "freeze" announcement itself (in the article linked above) East Jerusalem isn't included in the areas in which construction is to be frozen. In case you didn't know, there have been multiple cases of evictions of Palestinian families from the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem approx. since August of this year - well, this has been going on for a while, except the families in question put up a fight - there is still no clear outcome.

Anyway, it's no surprise that East Jerusalem isn't included, seeing as Israel is very keen on keeping the "United City" (fuck that's ironic) as, um, homogeneous - is that a good word for this? - as possible.

The 28 new homes - all for the Israeli Jews' "natural growth" of course - while at the same time meandering in evicting six settlements.
After they were court ordered to get a move on in that department.

Did you know that since 1948 there have been no new Arab towns and that the existing ones have not been expanded with the help of the government and municipal funds like the rest of the Israeli towns and cities - and every new building and/or addition to an existing building is of course by default illegal and thus torn down.
Unrecognised villages, means that these already disenfranchised people get absolutely nothing for, you know, being citizens of this country..

This isn't in the West Bank.

And I don't even want to get started on the huge amount of destroyed, re-named and re-settled villages that existed prior to the State's existence.

Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture.

The hypocrisy is just too much sometimes.

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eumelia: (Default)
Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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