Dany Gutwein on the Transformation of the Israeli Left

Dany Gutwein on the Transformation of the Israeli Left

We spoke today with Professor Danny Gutwein. Gutwein is one of the most prominent public intellectuals of the Israeli Left today. He teaches Jewish History at Haifa University, but spends much of his time inspiring, building and supporting a grassroots movement which offers an alternative political vision and action.

Gutwein has a large following. He participated in the television Social and Economic Policy documentary series the Silver Platter (Magash Hakesef). The series had over two million viewers (read more here). It was so popular that Channel 8 was pressured to take two of the three episodes off the web. He is regular commentator on the Israeli radio and television, where he is invited to speak about anything from Netanyahu’s gas deal to Bernie Sanders.

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The Silver Platter was so popular that Israelis encountered graffiti on bridges “Have you watched the Silver Platter yet?”

Few American are aware of what is actually happening on the ground in Israel in recent years —- the Israeli Left is rebuilding itself from within, reconnecting with communities, organizing mass demonstrations against Benjamin Netanyahu’s gas deal. They have unionized 150,000 workers since 2008, and they have successfully forced the right-wing government to extend public education to three-year-olds.

Dany Gutwein is a significant intellectual force behind all this.

Listen to Dany Gutwein speak. And remember, Partners for Progressive Israel depends on your support. If you enjoy this program, we kindly ask for a suggested donation of $10.

Maya Haber
This post was written by
Maya Haber was born and raised in Israel. She graduated from Tel Aviv University with a BA in History and Philosophy and went on to graduate school at the University of London and earned a PhD at the University of California Los Angeles. She has written and published on healthcare and social sciences in the post-WWII Soviet Union. Maya was the recipient of a Partners for Progressive Israel’s Study tour scholarship in November 2014. The symposium influenced her deeply and she started working for Partners for Progressive Israel as the Director of Development and Programming.

3 Comments on "Dany Gutwein on the Transformation of the Israeli Left"

  • Shalom Endleman says

    This was an outstanding presentation. We should not leave it at that. Is there accessible literature available on Gutwein’s perspective? Perhaps additional discussion.

    I quit my own academic association after long and sometimes bitter discussions over it’s stand on Israel. This might be a perspective from which to approach the American left.

    Thank you, Shalom (my name not good bye.)

  • Ralph Seliger says

    I’ve just listened to this as a podcast, and I appreciated it as well. I’m not sure if Prof. Gutwein has cause & effect exactly right, but I’m encouraged by his bit of optimism, as well as being fully in sympathy with social democracy as a movement and philosophy.

    The cause & effect issue has to do with his correct observation that Labor and Meretz were moving away from Israel’s welfare state and collectivist traditions during Rabin’s tenure in the early ’90s, but the failure of the peace process at that time had more to do with Rabin’s assassination and some peculiar incidents that wound up being pivotal: e.g., the terror wave during the 1996 campaign that narrowly elevated Netanyahu to the prime ministership that year, and Barak’s inept handling of diplomacy at the Camp David Summit plus Arafat’s unwillingness to clamp down on the Second Intifada. In other words, the economic trends that Gutwein identifies are real, but they do not explain the failures of the peace camp.

    Yet once Oslo failed, and Olmert and Abbas failed to successfully revive it — thanks to both Olmert’s legal situation and the fighting with Hamas — this economic dimension has become more relevant.

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