Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Consumer culture as a balm against reality, now in Hebrew

According to Noam at the Promised Land blog , the tagline of this Cellcom ad is “What do we all want? Some fun, that’s all”.

as Anya Achtenberg wrote in the comments there:

I wanted to find a shred of hope in this absurd commercial — the possibility of a communal game, Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Absurd. What is on the other side of the wall is meant to be hidden. Some sort of animals the IDF must keep in line. Playful at the moment. But still animals to be hidden, disappeared, kept behind a wall. A wall? A concrete monstrosity.

via Helena Cobban, who notes one commenter's view that the ad

"was most likely conceived and designed by high-ups in the advertising company-- and that they would have designed it to appeal to the broadest possible zeitgeist in (Jewish) Israeli society".

In other words, it wasn't calculated to shock Israelis, the presumption being most are OK with the wall. She also has a piece at the Boston Review on the decline of the Israeli peace movement, which she also discusses in her blog, in which she argues that in the past 10-15 years a lot of moderate to dovish Israelis have simply left Israel. She doesn't explicitly spell out the demographic consequence, nor does she see it as a principal cause(it was left out of the BR piece by the editors), but the meaning is clear.

How far has the peace movement fallen? One benchmark for comparison is the war that Sharon and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin launched against the PLO in Lebanon in 1982. In September of that year, Lebanese Falangists, operating (as Ari Folman’s brilliant film Waltz with Bashir reminds us) with extensive support from the Israeli military, undertook a two-day massacre in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis—as much as 20 percent of the population at the time—took to the streets in outrage, forcing the government to establish the Kahan Commission, which recommended serious sanctions for Sharon.
By contrast, pollsters found that 94 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the recent war in Gaza. Veteran peace activist Daphna Golan, who teaches human rights law at Hebrew University, recalled the anguish and isolation she felt during the Gaza war, especially in the face of widespread pro-war activism among Hebrew University students. Golan said university authorities did not respond to her complaints about posters she described as “extremely racist” hung at the entrance of the Givat Ram campus.

N.B. For some reason I had difficulty accessing the BR article directly through the linked URL, as it seemed their server was rejecting the hyperlink. So I had to go to their homepage, where the article, "Peace Out" is currently listed, although you can probably use their in-site search window if need be. Anyway it's worth reading, and if you have difficulty like I did the URL is here:



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