a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The settlements are Israel’s disaster


Do demonstrations make any real difference?
Uri Avnery Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

We demonstrated in many other places. We started in Bil'in. I was invited to a demonstration even before the whole thing started, when they started building Modi'in Illit, which later became Matityahu – it kept changing names. When it was just starting, they invited us and we made a big demonstration with the leaders of the place. Afterwards we had a second demonstration on behalf of one woman whose land had been expropriated for Modi'in Illit, and we went to demonstrate on her behalf like with Naboth's vineyard. I don't know who invented the patent, them or us. We had a demonstration like you see in the movies – rows and rows of protestors. In the first row, people carried shovels and hoes, I forgot what it was supposed to symbolize. I think we went to work for the woman or something − symbolic work. The soldiers who saw us were frightened. They were genuinely scared and started shooting over our heads. We got into conversation with them, by the way, and asked them what they were doing, they said: 'We were scared'. We have a friend who is really a bit frightening, a real kibbutznik with a huge moustache, like Stalin, and he came with a hoe and they were simply scared of him. We held demonstrations in all kinds of places. I eventually came to the conclusion that the kind of demonstrations that people have these days − 100 people or 200 people − going from Rabin Square to the Museum or vice versa, I doubt if this is still an effective tool. Moreover, it is entirely dependent on the mercy of mass media. Television stations might say: 'It's not interesting, it's routine, not interesting'. If you do not promise them something completely novel, they simply don't come. This is compared to demonstrations of 100,000 in Rabin Square on anniversaries, or even more, demonstrations of over 400,000 during social protests. But even these large demonstrations are ultimately of very little benefit. Let's take the largest – the social protest demonstration which really was a huge demonstration. In the final analysis, of what use was it? It might have aroused some awareness, but with regard to acts of government it didn't have any real impact. That's what I think and wonder about which completely different means are needed which have not yet been invented. I think about a whole new peace movement which has not yet been invented and an entirely new political party which has not yet been invented… but all of this is for the future.

הפגנו גם במקומות אחרים, הרבה מקומות אחרים. בבילעין אנחנו התחלנו. הזמינו אותי להפגנה, עוד לפני שכל העסק התחיל, כשהתחילו לבנות את מודיעין עילית, שאח"כ הפכה ל"מתתיהו", החליף כל הזמן שמות. כשרק התחיל הזמינו אותנו ועשינו הפגנה גדולה עם ראשי המקום. אח"כ עשינו הפגנה שנייה למען אשה אחת, שהפקיעו את אדמתה בשביל מודיעין עילית ואנחנו הלכנו להפגין למענה, כמו כרם נבות. ואני לא יודע מי המציא את הפטנט, אנחנו אול הם, עשינו הפגנה כמו שרואים בסרטים – שורות שורות. ובשורה הראשונה אתים וטוריות, שכחתי מה זה עמד לסמל, אני חושב שהלכנו לעבוד בשביל האשה משהו, עבודה סמלית. והחיילים ראו אותנו הם נבהלו. הם באמת נבהלו והתחילו לירות מעל הראשים שלנו. ונכנסו לשיחה אתם, אגב. שאלנו אותם מה הם עושים, הם אמרו: "פחדנו". יש לנו חבר שהוא באמת קצת מפחיד, קיבוצניק אמיתי כזה עם שפם ענק, סטליני כזה, והוא בא עם הטוריה והם פשוט פחדו ממנו. עשינו הפגנות בכל מיני מקומות; אני במשך הזמן הגעתי למסקנה שמההפגנות שעושים בימינו שזה, אני יודע? 100 אנשים או 200 אנשים הולכים מכיכר רבין לכיכר המוזיאון או להיפך, אני מסופק אם זה עדיין מכשיר יעיל. מה גם שזה תלוי לגמרי בחסדי הטלוויזיה, והטלוויזיה אומרת: "זה לא מעניין, זה שגרתי, לא מעניין”. אם אתה לא מבטיח להם משהו באופן לגמרי מיוחד, אז הם פשוט לא באים. להבדיל כמובן מההפגנות ה-100 אלף של כיכר רבין בימי השנה, ולהבדיל עוד יותר 400 אלף במחאה חברתית. אבל גם ההפגנות הגדולות האלה בסופו של דבר התועלת בהן מועטה. ניקח את המקסימום, את ההפגנה החברתית שבאמת הייתה הפגנה ענקית, בחשבון הסופי מה היא הועילה? היא אולי הכניסה קצת בתודעה אבל במעשים שלטוניים זה לא השפיע בכלל. כך שאני חושב, מהרהר באמצעים לגמרי אחרים שצריכים, שעוד לא הומצאו. כמו שאני חושב על תנועת שלום חדשה לגמרי שעוד לא הומצאה ומפלגה פוליטית חדשה לגמרי שעוד לא הומצאה, אבל זה לעתיד.‏

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Bil’in, Modi’in Illit, Naboth’s vineyard

Duration: 4 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017