Oudeh Basharat
Haaretz (Opinion)
July 27, 2011 - 12:00am

What do Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and Tahrir Square in Cairo have in common? Both are the seeing the creation of authentic mass protest movements, and in both countries there is a lack of formal political opposition. In Cairo the opposition is informal. Here there is a formal body called Kadima, which is not an opposition.

The Knesset is likely to become confused here between the opposition and the coalition. MK Shai Hermesh of Kadima found himself this week defending himself against an attack by MK Miri Regev of Likud on the issue of housing prices.

Meanwile the Shas MKs are at the moment serving as their own opposition, and are looking far more authentic than the members of Kadima. The right, not only here, is talented at pushing its failures onto the doorsteps of others. In the Arab world they push the failures onto the doorstep of criminal imperialism, the traitorous reactionaries and Zionist agents. In Israel the address is the left wing and human rights organizations.

The alienation between the opposition and its role has deep roots. In 1977, after 30 years in power, the leaders of Mapai (the forerunner of Labor) had difficulty functioning as an opposition. Were they expected to distribute flyers at the junctions? Wave signs? Participate in salon meetings with four listeners, one of whom wants them to repeat every sentence twice?

And so it didn't take long for them to start knocking on doors, like a drug addict looking for his daily fix, in an attempt to attain positions in a national unity government.

A right-wing opposition has a free hand. It will support any military adventure of a leftist government, but when the scent of a peace treaty starts wafting in the air, it will make sure to start protesting.

At the same time the civilized left is caught in a trap when in the opposition. On the one hand it will support the adventures of the right, following the dictate of supporting our troops, and when the right is presumably talking about peace, the left will express support.

Although she refused to join the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni behaves, on the outside, as though she's a part of it. And when she wakes up, belatedly of course, to defend democratic freedoms, there's a sense that she is declaiming words in a foreign language unfamiliar to her.

Where is the anger at the housing situation? Where are the overturned tables protesting the expensive cottage cheese? Someone should explain to Livni that she no longer works for the secret services. And because of her exalted position, the public has a right to know how she differs from Netanyahu, aside from the boasting, of her supporters as well, of the fact that she managed to set the world straight, even that she built more in the settlements and initiated more wars.

As far as the Arab population is concerned, the time has come for it to stop with the policy of ambiguity when it said, without explaining, that "their expression of nationalism will take place only in a Palestinian state." Does that mean that if they are overcome by patriotic emotion they will sing "Baladi Baladi" in Ramallah, and when they are overwhelmed by everyday problems they will knock on the doors of the Israeli National Insurance Institute? Or perhaps there are other intentions, for example an exchange of territories?

An opposition that is serving as a reserve cadre for Netanyahu in advance of September; that is serving as a reserve cadre in the discussion of the concept "the Jewish national state" in its racist sense; some of whose members are competing with Yisrael Beiteinu with racist proposals; that at the moment of truth will first of all woo Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman for its coalition - is nothing more than a caricature.

In truth, we can regretfully state that there is no opposition in Israel. And we have to start everything from the beginning. In order to bring down Netanyahu's government, which is selling the country's treasures to tycoons for a mess of pottage, we first of all have to get rid of the opposition, which is cut from the same cloth.

The young people on Rothschild aren't waiting. Last Shabbat they declared that they are relying only on themselves.


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