Israel, Justice

The Strike as a Value

Dror Mishani writes in Haaretz:

The simple people’s bankruptcy is Zionism’s bankruptcy, they say. To prove it, they drag out of the attic of the old exile the most “disparaging” words in the Israeli vocabulary – the “master,” the “Polish landlord,” the “shtetl.” This is not the first time the veteran elites in Israel establish a link between the end of Zionism and the role and actions of “foreigners” in it. Israel’s moral deterioration, it seems, always begins there, in the social periphery, not with “us.”
And lo, in these days when “there is no king in Israel,” a general strike has erupted. It’s important to remind everyone what a strike is about, even though some people take it for granted. From scanning the newspapers, one might conclude that a strike is a terrorist act carried out by a gang of anarchists, whose sole aim is to sabotage our routine flights to Tuscany.
[…] [The organized strike] presents a social model which centers on personal and group action based on pride rather than meekness, on activism and standing up for oneself rather than begging, on cooperation rather than egoism. Therefore, in some societies striking and the ethos inherent in it are considered a value.
But not in Israel; here the elites lamenting the moral deterioration are indifferent to the workers’ attempt to uphold their rights, at best, and trying to undermine it at worst. There is no question of intellectuals or philosophers supporting the cause, and the media’s mass mobilization against the strikes is unmatched anywhere else. Days before the strike the media announce that the “economy” will suffer billions in damages. Economic commentators tell the public that the cause of the strike is in fact some Histadrut chairman’s or other’s attempt to make political gains, and the workers fighting for their wages are accused of harming the public. As though this “public” did not consist of workers, whose rights the employers will try to infringe on tomorrow.

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If you haven’t seen it, check out “The Jewish Anarchists”, the incredible 1977 documentary about The Free Voice of Labor.

3 thoughts on “The Strike as a Value

  1. amen. the right to strike is sacred. almost as much as the right of gay people to be ordained as Rabbis. perhaps we should decide where our priorities lie?

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