Between Gaza and Prague: The Israeli Occupation of 1967 and the Soviet Invasion of 1968 as the Raison d'être of the New Left Movements in Israel

Sunday, January 10, 2010: 11:20 AM
Elizabeth Ballroom C (Hyatt)
Adi Portughies , Midreshet Ben Gurion, Israel, New York, NY
The New Left movements in Israel in the 1960`s corresponded with the global phenomenon. Like other New Left movements in the world, they aimed their criticisms at the establishment in the West and the Soviet bloc in the East. The Israeli New Left was deeply rooted to counterparts in, advocating the same ideology and the same praxis during the same period of time. Moreover it corresponded with the American New Left as Israeli youth also read Marcuse and staged sit-ins, demonstrations, and campus takeovers.

Despite these global convergences, the Israeli microsphere was unique due to a lingering state of war with its neighbors, a conservative framework regarding sexual relations, the family and community, and an economic recession.  Moreover, the Israeli occupation of civil society in and the West Bank following the 1967 War led to ramifications for all of’s citizens. The Israeli occupation turned out to be a key event in the development of the New Left in and gained significance across the globe.  The New Left framework incorporated the Israeli microsphere into the global sphere elevating the struggle of the New Left in to that of a world wide rejection of the Old Left.  According to followers of the New Left, just as the Israeli labor government had departed from its socialist agenda by launching the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, so had the Soviet Union and its allies departed from communism by launching the invasion of Czechoslovakia.  Both the Palestinians and the Czechoslovaks advocated a heroic struggle for freedom against oppression.  The New Left in and seized upon the Palestinian and Czechoslovaks’ aspirations of freedom to denounce an Old left that seemed to be corrupt and doomed to be nothing but supporters, or maintainers of authoritarian governments.