Culture flourishes in a declining democracy

Bibi ol' devil et moi - Nir Hod

Bibi ol' devil et moi - Nir Hod

Last week I was at a dinner with the North American management of Rabbis for Human Rights. They met with some of the +972 Magazine bloggers. The conversation was mainly about the decline of Israeli democracy.  Yossi Gurvitz, Dimi Reider and others were very pessimistic about the survival of the Israeli democracy. They gave reports about the most recent bill placed on the Knesset agenda by the radical right politicians.

The North American crowd was very curious and knowledgeable about the issues, but after an hour or so they asked if all of the bloggers were pessimistic. The bloggers admitted that they didn’t see any future for the Israeli democracy. The reason for this was correct:  the Israeli power scheme has lost its checks and balances. The army, the secret security forces, and the ministers in charge of defense and security do not offer any humane solution for the ongoing occupation. Their solution for the ongoing leftist criticism was to enact laws designed to silence internal dissent. The Israeli political system fell off track and couldn’t grasp what is the important different between left wing and right wing.

I tried to give the North American visitors some hope. I told them that the political system really is going down, but nevertheless the cultural scene is flourishing. I mentioned my experience with Guerrilla Culture – a group of poets and other artists who struggle alongside Palestinians and with deprived workers and in other areas  of conflict. I also mentioned the work of ActiveStills and others. This outpouring of cultural activity points to the new future that comes out of the creation and still looking for the right political structure that can hold it down and make it into reality.

I told the crowd about my experience as one of the editors of Tell it Not in Gath [The Influence of the Palestinian Naqba on Hebrew Poetry), Sedek Vol. 5, Zocrot, Parhesia and Pardes, 2010. This anthology combed through all Hebrew poetry published in newspapers and magazines from 1947 to 1958 in order to learn how the Naqba influenced Hebrew poetry. I was one of the editors of this project and felt that it made a new poetic history. It took literature and combined it with ethics. By doing so, we Israelis gained face, because of the act of taking responsibility for the “other” (as expressed in Emmanuel Levinas’ philosophy).

It still a very important task to ask why the cultural scene is so far from the political solution and why politicians refrain from using the artistic visions. I think that a great deal of positive and rich art and culture flourish in Israel-Palestine, and we can use its pluralism and multiculturalism to gain hope for the active struggle against fascism.

This opinion was first published by 972mag and was translated by Dena Bugel-Shunra

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Mati Shemoelof 
Dear Lisa, Here is a new open ed i wrote for 972 blog. i hope you will like i…
27 Oct (12 days ago)
mati.shemoelof@gmail.com 
Have had the chance to read it? Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from oran…
28 Oct (11 days ago)
Lisa Goldman 
Hi Mati – I am traveling right now and spending very little time online. Sorr…
28 Oct (11 days ago)
Mati Shemoelof 
Enjoy!
28 Oct (11 days ago)
Mati Shemoelof 
היי דימי, אשמח אם תוכל לבוא לעזרתי. אודה לך אם תוכל לערוך את הדברים שכתבתי ל9…
5 Nov (3 days ago)
Mati Shemoelof 
היי דנה, אשמח שתערכי לי את האנגלית בדעה שכתבתי ל972. שבוע נפלא, מתי פייסבוק:f…
6 Nov (2 days ago)
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Dena Shunra 

to me

show details 7 Nov (1 day ago)
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בשמחה, מתי! יהיה בידיך מתישהו לקראת ערב יום ראשון.

דינה

– Show quoted text –

On 11/6/2010 12:15 PM, Mati Shemoelof wrote:

היי דנה,

אשמח שתערכי לי את האנגלית בדעה שכתבתי ל972.

שבוע נפלא,
מתי

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mati Shemoelof<mati.shemoelof@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2010 07:51:20 +0200
Subject: New Open-Ed
To: Lisa Goldman<lisa@lisagoldman.net>

Dear Lisa,

Here is a new open ed i wrote for 972 blog.

i hope you will like it.

Best Regards,
Mati

מתי שמואלוף
אחראי  ניו-מדיה
שומרי משפט-רבנים למען זכויות האדם
נייד:  052-2471270
פקס:  02-6783611

סקייפ: budhamati

אימייל: mati.shemoelof@gmail.com

אתר: www.rhr.org.il

פייסבוק:facebook.com/Rabbis4HR<http://on.fb.me/csFXtM>

טוויטר: RHRIS<http://twitter.com/#%21/RHRIS>

Mati Shemoelof
Director of Online Communications
Rabbis For Human Rights
Cell Phone: 972 52 2471270
Fax:  972 2 6783611
Skype: budhamati
Email: mati.shemoelof@gmail.com
Site: http://rhr.org.il/index.php?language=en
Facebook: facebook.com/Rabbis4HR
Twitter: RHRIS<http://twitter.com/#%21/RHRIS>

Dena Bugel-Shunra
Washington State Registered Court Interpreter ID 10643

dena@shunra.net

Shunra Media, Inc
1132 Van Ness Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA
tel.    +1 360 379 2506
http://hebrew.shunra.net

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Mati Shemoelof 
ואהה ממש תודה. כל כך משמח. אני כבר הרבה זמן חושב עם מי אוכל לעבוד ולתרגם מאמר…
7 Nov (1 day ago)
Dena Shunra 
היי מתי! רצ”ב הקובץ הערוך בשני עותקים: האחד עם תיקונים בפנים (במצב TRK, שמציד…
21:45 (15 hours ago)
Mati Shemoelof 
Dear Lisa, My friend Dena Shunra edited the article. can you add her name and…
21:57 (15 hours ago)
Mati Shemoelof 
היי דנה, תודה רבה! מחר יתפרסם מאמר דעה שלי שמראה על תמיכה בחרם האמנים. אולי נ…
21:59 (15 hours ago)
Dena Shunra 
היי מתי! בכיף – אשמח לתרגם את המאמר. – וגם את הספר – הכל בכפוף לזמן פנוי, אבל…
22:30 (15 hours ago)
Lisa Goldman 
Thanks, Mati. Your post is up on the site now. L 2010/11/7 Mati Shemoelof <ma…
01:03 (12 hours ago)
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mati.shemoelof@gmail.com 

to Lisa

show details 13:22 (22 minutes ago)
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Much thx!

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from orange


From: Lisa Goldman <lisa@lisagoldman.net>
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2010 18:03:20 -0500
– Show quoted text –
To: Mati Shemoelof<mati.shemoelof@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Fwd: New Open-Ed

Thanks, Mati. Your post is up on the site now.

L

2010/11/7 Mati Shemoelof <mati.shemoelof@gmail.com>

Dear Lisa,

My friend Dena Shunra edited the article. can you add her name and publish it on 972 blog?

Best,
Mati

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dena Shunra <dena@shunra.net>
Date: 2010/11/7
Subject: Re: Fwd: New Open-Ed
To: Mati Shemoelof <mati.shemoelof@gmail.com>

היי מתי!

רצ”ב הקובץ הערוך בשני עותקים: האחד עם תיקונים בפנים (במצב TRK, שמציד שינויים בתוך המסמך) והשני אחרי שהוריתי למחשב לקבל את כל התיקונים.

אגב, התיקון *הכי* חשוב הוא איות שמו של יוסי גורביץ – Gurvitz ולא גורביץ’ <קריצה>. הוא אחד הכותבים האהובים עלי ביותר בעולם.

בפעם הבאה פשוט שלח בעברית – אחזיר אליך באנגלית בשמחה. ובמהירות. שים לב: אני גם מתרגמת שירה – אולי גם לכך יש מקום, במאבק הזה למען זכויות אדם בפלשתינה/ישראל?

ברכות,

דינה

On 11/6/2010 12:15 PM, Mati Shemoelof wrote:

היי דנה,

אשמח שתערכי לי את האנגלית בדעה שכתבתי ל972.

שבוע נפלא,
מתי

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mati Shemoelof<mati.shemoelof@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2010 07:51:20 +0200

Subject: New Open-Ed
To: Lisa Goldman<lisa@lisagoldman.net>

Dear Lisa,

Here is a new open ed i wrote for 972 blog.

i hope you will like it.

Best Regards,
Mati

מתי שמואלוף
אחראי  ניו-מדיה
שומרי משפט-רבנים למען זכויות האדם
נייד:  052-2471270
פקס:  02-6783611

סקייפ: budhamati

אימייל: mati.shemoelof@gmail.com

אתר: www.rhr.org.il

פייסבוק:facebook.com/Rabbis4HR<http://on.fb.me/csFXtM>

טוויטר: RHRIS<http://twitter.com/#%21/RHRIS>

Mati Shemoelof
Director of Online Communications
Rabbis For Human Rights
Cell Phone: 972 52 2471270
Fax:  972 2 6783611
Skype: budhamati
Email: mati.shemoelof@gmail.com
Site: http://rhr.org.il/index.php?language=en
Facebook: facebook.com/Rabbis4HR

Twitter: RHRIS<http://twitter.com/#%21/RHRIS>

Dena Bugel-Shunra
Washington State Registered Court Interpreter ID 10643

dena@shunra.net

Shunra Media, Inc
1132 Van Ness Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA
tel.    +1 360 379 2506
http://hebrew.shunra.net

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About Mati Shemoelof

משורר, עורך וסופר. A Writer

2 responses to “Culture flourishes in a declining democracy”

  1. יריב מוהר says :

    It is indeed irrational 2 be a leftist living in Israel this days, A kind of escapism or religious task.

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