Schipper, Sebastian. “Towards a ‘Post-Neoliberal’ Mode of Housing Regulation? The Israeli Social Protest of Summer 2011.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (early view; online first).
In the summer of 2011, after decades of virtually uncontested neoliberalization, Israel was swept by unprecedented protests against the rising cost of living, social inequality and, most particularly, escalating housing prices. Within two weeks, a small protest camp established on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv had grown into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Given an ambivalent sense of the significance of urban movements in bringing about social change, the aim of this article is to analyze whether the Israeli social protest was able to push forward a post-neoliberal mode of housing regulation. Building on a framework developed by Brenner, Peck and Theodore to grasp transformations in the landscape of regulatory restructuring, this article argues that the movement has indeed achieved a far-reaching hegemonic shift in public discourse and also become an important driver in promoting regulatory experiments. Despite its achievements, however, the movement was unable to challenge the Israeli ‘rule regime’ of neoliberalization, on account of two structural constraints that were shielded by the most powerful state apparatuses: the commodity character of housing; and a neoliberalized land regime, where state-owned land is treated as a profit machine for public finance.
Ben-Moshe, Liat. “Movements at War? Disability and Anti-Occupation Activism in Israel.” In Occupying Disability. Critical Approaches to Community, Justice, and Decolonizing Disability (ed. Pamela Block et al.; Dordrecht and New York: Springer, 2016): 47-61.
At the time of the first major disability protest in Israel in 1999 and then in 2000-2001, there were already many anti-occupation and peace organizations at play in Israel/Palestine. While participating in this budding disability movement, I began reflecting on my experiences of simultaneously being an Israeli anti-occupation activist and disabled activist publically fighting for the first time for disability rights. In the summer of 2006 I conducted research in Israel, trying to assess any changes that occurred since 2000 in the connections between the movements and within the disability movement itself. And then the war on Lebanon began. My intention in writing this chapter is to highlight the connections between disability activism and anti-war and anti-occupation activism, which seems to be at war with one another but in fact intersect in important ways. I hope this narrative and analysis will be useful for material resistance as well as a reflection on our current states of exclusion in activism and scholarship.
The importance of ideological beliefs held by the masses for the political stability of neoliberalism has yet to receive adequate attention. This research aims to begin to fill this gap by arguing that the ability of the neoliberal order to endure politically is assisted by key segments of the population either accepting its ideological bases or being unable to contest them. Political and socio-political research on neoliberalism tends to examine how it has become the leading framework for economic policymaking. Less attention has been given to the post rise-to-power period and even then the ideological factor is virtually absent. Directed by a Gramscian approach, this research uses the Israeli ‘social protest’ of 2011 as a case study. It probes into the ideological perceptions of the middle class through a qualitative content analysis of text-items they published during the protest on two news websites and on one blogging website. Findings indicate that significant segments of the Israeli middle class expressed ideological acceptance of neoliberalism either by explicitly supporting it or by demanding marginal reforms. Another finding is that within the middle class there is a group that lacks any relevant ideological framework regarding economic issues.
The display of unity in protest however was semiotically and politically
unstable, inviting moments of radical intervention (like the
Guillotine) only to disavow them as moments of transgression,
inappropriate for a “responsible” leadership. This fluctuating process,
which we term situational radicalism, was the outcome of an indecisive
play of boundaries, of presence and absence, inside and outside. The
double meaning of the concept of situational radicalism reflects the modus operandi
of the summer protests first as a performance of radicalism divorced
from a revolutionary constitution; and secondly, as a protest held
hostage by the ‘situation’ (ha-matzav) – a phenomenological
emic term Israelis use to collapse the temporality and spatiality of the
politics of permanent conflict onto the lived present.