Friday, June 29, 2012

Daphne puts things straight

Israeli social protest leader Daphne Leef replies to liars.

LAST weekend it seemed all hell broke out in Tel Aviv because of a woman's arrest. Well, crowds blocked a couple of busy streets, and a few banks got their fronts kicked in. But you must remember that for those who believe in bourgeois law and order, in Israel, as in Britain, such "violence" from the plebs and disaffected youth, in damaging the very rich person's property, easily eclipses anything the state can do in killing people, destroying homes or amassing weapons of mass destruction.

What particularly sparked off anger in Tel Aviv was the news that 23-year old Daphne Leef had been injured when police grabbed her and a dozen other people from a demonstration. The demonstrators had been marking the anniversary of last year's protests over housing, prices, and social justice, which began when Daphne pitched a tent on Rothschild Boulevard, and spread across the country.

Police claimed later that Daphne's injuries had not been caused by them, but by her friends trying to prevent her being arrested. Eye witnesses, and cameras, tell it differently.

But Daphne Leef has not just been manhandled by the police. It seems the media and politicians who last year thought her avowedly "non-political" protest tame enough to be taken into the house (didn't the protest camp welcome everybody, and weren't they flying the flag, and finishing up by singing the anthem Hatikvah? ) have now decided otherwise.

At first it was just the "Bibiton", as Israelis have dubbed the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today) owned by Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Alderson (from the nickname Bibi for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the word iton, meaning newspaper). But now the rest of the pack, or most of them, have joined in.

In response, Daphne, or as her name is commonly transcribed from Hebrew, Daphni (and why not Dafni?) has made a statement, which tries to put things right, and has been translated by Sol Salbe, who says:
"I have just posted a translation of heartfelt response to the vicious attack on her personality in the Israeli media. Last year she was the pin-up woman (they called her a girl) of the protest movement. (Only the Bibiton [the freebie Israel Hayom] showed some hostility.) This year the tide has turned and with the exception Haaretz the protest movement has been abused by the media Knesset members who are all acting at the behest of the powers to be.

So Daphni, who a few months ago was a model for young girls at the dress-up festival of Purim, became a prime target. I've some political differences with Daphni who as Dimi Reider pointed out a few days ago is no revolutionary leftist or even a liberal political operator but an honest person who has seen something wrong and has taken up the cudgels to fight it. She has certainly acted as a spark for the movement and is continuing to channel more energy into it.

by Sol Salbe on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 08:21 ·

This is a translation of an item on Daphni Leef's wall that she has asked to be shared as widely as possible. Daphni has not seen or checked the translation.

Please share. It's time for me to put things straight (for those who are interested)

For several months now the media* has been telling stories about me. I managed as much as I could to ignore those for a very long time. I did so because I knew that Sharon Gal and his ilk represent powerful interests. Some media people are not interested in the truth, they are much more interested in damaging the protest movement by setting someone as patsy to antagonise people. But enough is enough, and I've had it up to here. So where should I put my response? On my Facebook wall , where I can write as I please. So here goes:

1) I was born in Jerusalem and lived there till I was 16. (In Rehavia near the city centre, right next to the prime minister residence).

2) I suffer from epilepsy.

3) I don't have a driver's licence.

4) The house that my parents built in Kfar Shmaryahu [an upmarket neighbourhood in the greater Tel Aviv region] was only made possible through the purchase of the land by my father's grandfather. It's a one-storey house with a lawn.

5) My Jerusalemite-born father is a music teacher, he has been very recently appointed as the president of the Jerusalem Academy of Music

6) My mother immigrated from Latvia, she has been working in the welfare development funds section of the National Insurance Institute.

7) My last job before pitching the first tent last year was as an editor on the program Your house is worth more .

8) Before the commencement of the social protest movement I have not heard of the New Israel Fund, . When they asked me if I have edited any film for the New Fund, I thought they were talking about New Fund for Cinema and Television.

9) I have not received any money from any fund during this period.

10) How do I make a living - I am on the brink of a negative balance in my finances. I have raided the savings account that my parents opened for me on the day I was born. I'm still owed some money for some editorial work from about a year ago. Also, lately I started to lecture here and there. That's it. Oh, and a bank loan. Shite.

11) Re Miri Regev -she called me up in the morning on the day she visited the tent encampment. She said she wanted to visit. I said that it would be my pleasure so long as her visit was on the level. It is important to note that at that point I wasn't familiar with too many Knesset members. I did not know who she was. I thought that it would be good if she came, if that's she wants. The person who spilled a glass of water on her was a provocateur. Knesset Member Miri Regev was very aggressive after that. And although I genuinely dealt with her politely at the beginning of the day I was shocked when she denounced me as an extreme Leftist. She continued to be interviewed on the media and I nearly had an epileptic seizure from the emotional tension.

12) I'm not an extreme Leftist.

13) I'm a qualified video editor, director and assistant director. I've been working 12-hours work days for years.

14) I'm not here for apartments in [upmarket] Rothschild Boulevard . I'm here to ensure that Israeli society becomes healthy and fair. I want to live in a decent society , because I want to live here and I do care.

15) I'm not a violent person, last treaty I was brutally manhandled just like everyone else was. My character's assassination which they are trying to fabricate is not based on the true facts.

This is it now. Let me assure you that if you have any questions, I'm here *), without any intermediaries.

Translator note. In her first allusion to the media Daphni used the slang term Tishkoret which transposes two letters in the Hebrew word for media to make it sounds like "the liars".

Translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service, Melbourne, Australia.

And here by way of background explanation is an extract from Wikipedia, with my own comments in parantheses:

As the housing protests continued and expanded, various public figures and organizations, mostly affiliated with the political right in Israel, began to escalate their personal criticism of Leef, her character and her political positions. From their point of view, various Israeli left-wing media and political organizations have exploited the demonstrations, as well as the economic distress affecting large sections of the Israeli public, for political purposes, with the intention of overthrowing the current right-wing Netanyahu government. According to this version, finding solutions to the housing crises in Israel is only secondary in this struggle.

On July 15, 2011, demonstrators drove out the Knesset member Miri Regev (member of the ruling right-wing Likud party) from the tent encampment in Tel Aviv. Several protesters had booed Regev, one threw a glass of water at her and she had a verbal confrontation with Daphni Leef. Regev, quite upset by the encounter, claimed the activists in the encampment had attacked her, a member of Israel's ruling coalition, while members of the opposition received a warm greeting. In addition, Regev stated that Leef "represents the extreme left". In response, Leef said she felt embarrassed by the violent confrontation but made it clear that, contrary to Regev's claim, it is first and foremost a social struggle and not a political struggle.

(Perhaps the demonstraror was inspired by example from the Knesset, where a right-wing member threw water over an Arab knesset member. Regev, as was seen recently when she spoke at an anti-African immigrant rally that became a pogrom, prefers her struggles racial. - CP)

On July 20, 2011, the Israeli right-wing extra-parliamentary group "Im Tirtzu" (אם תרצו) announced that they would no longer take part in the housing protests, claiming that the New Israel Fund and various left-wing groups are directly involved. Im Tirtzu officials said that "Daphni Leef, who is perceived in the media as the initiator of the struggle, is actually a video editor for the New Israel Fund and Shatil." This was also reported in Front Page Magazine.

(The New Israel Fund, which most people would probably see as liberal or socially progressive albeit Zionist, funds various projects across ethnic or religious divides aimed at countering racialism and improving culture and social conditions. But such respectable aims and activity have made it a favourite bete-noir for Im Tirtzu, who denounce it as a foreign funding conspiracy. These right-wing patriots see no incompatibility between this and their own acceptance of funds from for instance, right-wing American Evangelical Christian outfits).

For background on Yisrael Hayom's Las Vegas backer see:

An interview with Daphne Leef from last year when media were still friendly enough to call her "an ordinary average Israeli".



At 8:05 PM, Blogger Maju said...

I won't support the settlers in Palestine (incl. what they call "Israel"), no matter how disaffected they claim to be until they fully support the struggle of the Palestinian People, the right to return, the need for a single non-ethnic secular Palestinian state for all.

I won't even mention it, exactly the same I do not eat Nestlé products.


Post a Comment

<< Home