Sunday, May 6, 2007

Enough confusion

By Gideon Levy

".....The demonstrators testified as 100,000 witnesses: Israeli society is continuing to look for the lost coin under the lantern, and not in the right place. "We are a flock seeking a shepherd," said the moderator of the event, Osnat Vishinsky, whose son was killed in the Gaza Strip, aptly defining the shepherdless flock of demonstrators that until only yesterday wrapped itself in the silence of the lambs or in cries of "hooray for the war," and was now applauding her words.

What did the masses want? "Olmert, go home." Is this an aim or only a means? And when Olmert goes home, what exactly will happen? Not one word was said about this. The ranks must be maintained. This also applies to the other unifying slogan, "Elections Now." And what will happen after the elections? The opposition leader, Likud MK Benjamin Netanyahu. One Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be replaced by another prime minister who resembles him. Is that what this crowd wants?.....

This protest is just as hollow as the leadership against which it is aimed. Bereaved parents mourned their children from the stage, but no one suggested how to prevent the next war. A mass demonstration that had called for conducting peace talks with Syria, ending the occupation or responding positively to the Saudi initiative is what could have really prevented killing, but this is not on the agenda of this shallow protest. Courage is needed for that, and the masses won't come. "Steaks for the air force but no water, weaponry and ammunition for the infantry," read one placard, expressing the sentiment that was felt here more than anything else: The last war was not managed properly. Had it only been managed properly, had we only killed and not been killed, there would have been no demonstration.

Why, for example, is there no protest against the Israel Defense Forces? After all, the Winograd report, which was cheered here, determined that the chief of staff and the IDF led the government by the nose with false promises about the war. But the IDF stands above any protest. Why? And why is there no protest against the use of war as the first means in Israel's arsenal of responses? Why is there no protest against the destruction and killing we sowed in Lebanon? Or against the image of Israel as a warmongering state that lives by its sword?....."

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