J14’s Palestinian contingent
Dahlia Scheindlin took a very bleak view of the self-declared “Israel issues only” protest at its outset. Now, with her survey in +972 Magazine of Israeli Arab participation, she presents a radically different view. Some extracts here:
Bucking both initial suspicion from the protest leaders, and cynicism among the Arab press and leadership, many Arabs report participating, and many more are open to joining in the future. The survey also reveals a strong core of committed and experienced activists, who support social engagement and partnership with like-minded Jewish citizens.
The top single issue for them is “ending the Occupation”. Of other issues, 59% say they share the same problems expressed by the leaders of the J14 protests.
63% personally support the protests even if they did not participate themselves. 71% think Arabs should participate, even when read the argument that Arabs should not participate because the protests are about Jewish issues and leave Arabs out.
19% of Arabs reported participating in the protests – including virtually – the same rate of Jews who (in a different survey) reported participating. When asked about the main reason why Arabs should participate, the top response (29%) was that the protests were an opportunity to put Arab issues on the agenda.
Participation encouraged cooperation: about half (49%) of people who participated in the social protests say they are now more interested in cooperating with Jews in Israel, compared to 24% of those who didn’t participate in J14.
If the social protest leaders embrace Arab issues, this activism could rise further: Were the protest leaders to declare that ending the occupation, providing solutions to Arab housing problems, and improving the Arab education system are integral to greater social justice in Israel, large portions said this would raise their desire to participate in the future – 47%, 51%, and 57%, respectively.
The data indicates that Arabs remain committed to creating and living in a shared and equal society. The malicious legislative and social attacks seem to be galvanizing an increasingly committed and sophisticated cadre of activists whose number and strength, I predict, stand to grow. There’s something to look forward to in 2012.
See other three posts about Last Year, This Year:
« Now Join Up the Struggles
Last year, this year: 2. We’ve come a long way but it’s still the same road »