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Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness from the Israeli Left

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Yoav Litvin     Permalink
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"One of the best attributes of human beings is that they're adaptable; one of the worst attributes of human beings is they are adaptable. They adapt and start to tolerate abuses, they adapt to being involved themselves in abuses, they adapt to adversity and they continue on." -- Julian Assange

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Barack Obama has been the ultimate President for the ruling elites. The dissonance between his charming persona and his often brutal agenda enabled him to enact right-wing policies that padded his backers' pockets and fortified the clandestine, civil rights-nullifying powers of the state, much at the expense of American tax payers.

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In a reality dictated by identity politics, Barack Obama has also served as the ultimate feel-good President for liberals and the media. They could continue with their lives virtually guilt-free, lazily in a sheltered cocoon, while falsely projecting "progress" onto the President's eloquent speeches and dark complexion. Thus, it is no surprise that ruling elites, liberals and the media overconfidently expected Obama's candidate of choice, Hillary Clinton, to succeed him in office.

However, on November 8th the true American experience finally caught up and shattered this delusion with the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton and the ascendancy of Donald Trump. In the age of likes, shares and cyberbullying, Twitter outplayed mainstream media's ability to accurately assess the public's growing discontent with the neoliberal status quo. Newsweek even went so far as to prematurely celebrate Clinton's victory in print with a now sought after collector's item "Madam President" issue. Whether Donald Trump's victory is legitimate or not does not change the fact that American elites, liberals and the media have been proven to be grossly out of touch.

Upon the official announcement of the results on November 9th, Barack Obama issued a conciliatory and pacifying message, which stood in stark contrast to his long record of berating and humiliating Donald Trump. As such, in several weeks we are going to witness what will likely be the most awkward changing of the guards at the White House in history. The highly photogenic and elegant first African-American family will be replaced by a KKK-endorsed Twitter troll and his clan, part of which will ironically be on a temporary resident status.

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As an Israeli-American with dual citizenship, the recent events in the United States evoke in me a sense of de'j vu, reminding me of the Israeli reality approximately twenty years ago.

Ahead of the elections in 1996, Israel was still in a state of shock after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination on November 4th, 1995 by the right-wing settler fanatic Yigal Amir. Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and Shimon Peres faced off in a campaign that was dismissed by elites, liberals and the media as an easy win for Peres. They viewed Bibi as a brash, opportunistic Jewish-supremacist whose incitement was partly responsible for Rabin's assassination, and therefore his triumph was an unimaginable abomination. On election night, exit polls indicated a Peres win, though by morning Netanyahu was declared the victor by less than 1%, evoking the term "went to bed with Peres, woke up with Netanyahu".

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