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Issues of the Day Radio Hosts: Is the Israeli Social Protest Movement Similar to those Elsewhere?

Now that I am about to conclude a ten station talk radio tour of US stations focused on Rise, A Novel of Contemporary Israel , I am struck by how often my interlocutors commented on the similarity between the citizens movement for change, Na’aleh, described in the book and  parallel phenomenon elsewhere, such as the Occupy/99 Percent movements.

In responding to these comments, I related that there are likenesses between what is described in Rise and social protest movements in other countries: From Russia to Yemen, Myanmar  to the US, in Belorussia and Syria, people in different parts of the world are demanding that they  get a fairer deal from their societies and the governments that rule them.

In an age of rising consciousness concerning the rights of the individual, the social contract, the injustice of social stratification and political control, people across the globe are no longer willing to be treated as objects to be manipulated by economic and social elites.


This is quite to the good, I believe, a sign of human progress and social evolution. It is a 21st Century development of  a process that began with the Enlightenment and the social revolutions in France and elsewhere in Europe in the late eighteenth century.     


I also told my hosts on the radio programs that while I do see similarity between the social movements asserting themselves elsewhere, the Israel social movement that arose this past summer was  a mighty force, largely submerged over the past few months, but which I believe will soon resume not only to counter the socioeconomic issues it has been focused on, but the steady attacks against democracy, the judiciary and the human rights community.

I anticipate that the social movement will  be directed against the perilous foreign and regional policies, notably with respect to the Palestinians, that the Netanyahu government has pursued.  The economic, social, political and foreign policy issues are, in the final analysis, part of the government’s ideologically-ossified and unsustainable program.

I also point out while several tens of thousands people appeared at rallies in Russian cities to protest the dubious results of the recent election there, and though the Occupy sites where located in American cities from coast-to-coast, the rallies in Israel this past summer involved a broader  cross-section of the society and relatively larger proportion of participants.


The Sept. 3rd rallies where 450,000 people of all sectors gathered in city squares throughout the country were gargantuan compared to similar manifestations elsewhere. I am confident of the potential of the Israeli movement – assuming that a determined leadership arises pave the way for a true social reform.  


My recent radio tour included appearances on talk shows at WICH-AM (Norwich/ Greater Harford, CT), KYW-AM (Philadelphia), WGRT-FM (Port Huron/Greater Detroit, MI), WDUN-AM (Atlanta, GA) WCXZ-AM (Knoxville, TN), WOCA-AM (Ocala, FL) (click here for Podcast), KBEM-FM (Minneapolis, MN), and WSIU-FM, the  NPR affiliate in southern Illinois and Kentucky.


My current radio tour will conclude on Thursday, Dec. 29th on the Mary Jane Popp show, KAHI-AM, Sacramento, CA.




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