Posted August 09, 2011 by Kamal Nawash | 31 Comments
Arab Revolution moves to Israel and London
By now everyone has heard of the Arab Spring. This is a phenomenon where Arabs have felt empowered to question the authority of their governments which has resulted in the removal of four long time presidents from power and one more on the way.
Soon after the demonstrations began in the Arab countries, analysts began asking whether the demonstrations will spread to Israel. However, the analysts were not talking about Jewish Israel they were instead talking about the Palestinian occupied territories of Israel. As it turned out, the Arab Spring has spread but not to Palestine. To everyone's surprise, the demonstrations have spread to Jewish Israel in what is increasingly being called the "Jewish Summer." Amazingly, Jewish Israelis were inspired by their Arab Neighbors in Egypt, Syria, Tunis, Libya and Yemen.
Ironically, the demonstrations in Israel have received zero coverage in the United States which is unbelievable considering that the size of the demonstrations are larger than demonstrations in every Arab country except for Egypt. Recently, more than 300,000 people took to the streets to protest under the banner, "The people demand social justice." As in the Arab countries, what started as a demand for economic and social justice evolved into a call for the fall of the leader, in Israel's case the removal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The following is a video of one the large demonstrations in which Israelis credit their inspiration to the demonstrations in the Arab countries. As in the Arab countries, the government of Israel has already begun making concessions to the people but the people continue to demonstrate. http://www.freemuslims.org/.
The recent changes in the Middle-East have been covered in detail all over the world. However, authoritarian regimes such as in China are doing all they can to prevent their people from learning about the Arab Spring, fearing that "people power" may spread to their countries.
The question that many are asking now, is could the uprisings in the Middle East lead to a fundamental change in the relationship between citizens and governments all over the world? One can only wonder how the Arab Spring will impact the West. Already, there are many reports that the demonstrations in London were inspired by the Arab Spring. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzDQCT0AJcw&feature=related. Many citizens in the West feel that their governments do not listen to them. This is an often repeated complaint by members of the Tea Party. Most recently, a Tea Party activist on CNN called for mass demonstrations like the ones in Egypt.
As to Israel and the Arabs, some Israeli and Palestinian bloggers have suggested that the people bypass their governments, who have been unable to make a peace, and deal with each other directly. The Free Muslims Coalition has been impressed with the empathy Arabs and Israelis have shown for each other during these demonstrations. After posting a video of Israelis demonstrating, www.freemuslims.org, many Muslims and Arabs wrote expressing solidarity with Israelis. Similarly, many Israelis and Jews have expressed support for Arabs in Egypt, Libya and beyond.
These developments have lead to cautious optimism between Palestinians and Israelis. The number of social media sites where Israelis and Palestinians interact is increasing exponentially. The Free Muslims Coalition has always believed that direct contact between Israelis and Palestinians would help both sides humanize each other. We share in the belief that Israel must allow Israelis and Palestinians to interact by traveling freely between each other's cities and towns. Segregation will cause more problems in the long run than the any short term benefit.
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