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Travel diary in an Israel in struggle for its rights and the need for dialogue


Highlights: During his stay, Roberto Gargarella registered a boiling Tel Aviv against the judicial reform carried out by Netanyahu. The background is a thriving city that also generates marginality and questions the future of the country. In these months, to the layer of existing problems was added a new internal difficulty: judicial reform led by the Minister of Justice. The reform (typical of authoritarian/populist governments, annoyed with a judiciary that naturally places limits on it) aims at many things, but fundamentally two: to allow the government to take full control of the appointment of new judges.

During his stay, Roberto Gargarella registered a boiling Tel Aviv against the judicial reform carried out by Netanyahu. The background is a thriving city that also generates marginality and questions the future of the country.

First day: May 15. I landed in Tel Aviv at 4am, after too long a flight. I came to teach at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for two weeks; Tomorrow I start. Today I got up early, despite the dream, to start the pending procedures: there are many. At 9 in the morning, I go out to do a brief reconnaissance of the neighborhood where I am installed. I say to myself, "I do a couple of blocks around, recognize where I am and start." After four hours of walking, I was still moving forward: my eyes can't see that much. This is fascinating, I think.

Homeless and zombies

I am living, by chance, on the exact boundary between the hipster neighborhood of Florentine and the area of the old station, where most of Tel Aviv's homeless people are concentrated. It is also the space that houses the poorest North Africans and a scattered band of "zombies", affected by the use of cheap drugs.

In the mornings, before taking the train to Jerusalem for classes, I pass through the zombie zone. I often see there a young German-Jewish woman with piercings all over her body, who no longer knows how to insult and, at the same time, desperately ask for help. Then, I discover the Hagana Bridge which, especially in the early hours, is a shelter for homeless people who set up their tents there to sleep with chairs, fabrics and planks. They take advantage of the modest advantages offered by the bridge: a partial roof, some cool, and the circulation of people – and the promise of some help – during the day.

During the daily walks, I have been giving face and identity to the people who live on the bridge. I already recognize a woman with very swollen legs, who lives among rags and boards that she decorates with exquisite plastic poppies; an African who drinks from the same container as his dog; and a mother with a young daughter – daughter who has managed to build her minimal paradise within the capital hell. I can distinguish, between rags and broken chairs, how her beautiful belongings appear: a disheveled doll, a black doll, a bear that accompanies her in sleep, a huge unicorn, several booklets, some offerings in the form of dried leaves, a tiny monkey woven in thick thread and two cans. One of them serves to feed the cat and the other can of preserves, for those who take pity and want to leave a shekel. Both were dirty. And empty.

Anti-justice reform and protests

Demonstration in Tel Aviv, background a wall with the image of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Photo: AP /Oded Balilty)

I arrive in Israel at a particularly difficult time. The moment is difficult not only because of the situation of permanent conflict with five neighboring countries. A situation that makes sure that no one can ever sleep peacefully: it forces one to make an enormous effort to live each day as if nothing serious happened, as if there was no reason to be afraid of everything. In these months, to the layer of existing problems was added a new internal difficulty: the judicial reform led by the Minister of Justice of the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is a reform promoted by the Likud (Congress), and the ultra-Orthodox (ultra-religious) and right-wing groups, in order to put an end to the "liberal revolution" that took place in the country ("revolution" this, promoted to a large extent by the Supreme Court, since 1995, when it assumed powers of Judicial review, and began to make a very liberal reading of local law, summarized in his Basic Laws). The reform (typical of authoritarian/populist governments, annoyed with a judiciary that naturally places limits on it) aims at many things, but fundamentally two: to allow the government to take full control of the appointment of new judges; and allow Congress to resist or reverse decisions against it by the Supreme Court. The latter would be done by adopting an "invented" clause in Canadian law to that effect. This is the renowned "no-nevertheless clause", which authorizes Parliament to insist on its decisions "not-not-derogating" the opposition of the Court. The most interesting thing of all is the kind of social reaction – intense and stable – unleashed by the measures: they have been five months of massive, beautiful and vital demonstrations, every Saturday in different parts of the country!

No one expected such a reaction, much less the strength and permanence of that social response. Parents and children, old activists and restless young people, grandparents and grandchildren: a completely impossible party, which is still celebrated with joy. Even in the eyes of an Argentine, accustomed to the gymnastics of daily protest, it is an unreal fact. The protests do not end; They do not decay and still continue.

Roberto Garagrella (right) with a group of Israeli mental health professionals.

I comment with a great academic friend, one of the best specialists in democratic participation, about these marches. He describes them to me as "negative" (as a product of a reaction-against the government) and a "single point" (in this case: preventing Judicial Reform). I tell him that, as so often, close looks at things look completely different from how we conceive them from the classroom. I see in these marches – on the contrary – a "positive" tone (very cheerful, even), "constructive" and "plural": I join a group of health professionals who give me a purple shirt, which says "Democracy in the heart"; 20 meters away there is a socialist group; beyond "red" feminists. A little further on, another group has among its banners the question of the "occupied territories"; 50 meters a giant reproduction of the "Declaration of Independence", which became in these times in "common cause". I mean: what I see is very different from what you see from afar, with professional glasses: I see hundreds of diverse groups, with positive, reconstructive, happy proposals.

Aharon Barak, pillar of justice as we know it

May 20 This Saturday I had the privilege of meeting with former Chief Justice Aharon Barak. He is a hero of Israeli law, of international rank. I present it like this. The twentieth century bequeathed us a series of judges who are already part of the pantheon of law that we know: Earl Warren – in the USA – who presided in the 60s over the Court that fought for racial equality; Albie Sachs – in South Africa – who presided over the Court that left apartheid behind; P.N. Bhagwati – in Gandhi's India – who made the world vibrate with his decisions on social rights; and Aharon Barak in Israel.

The friend Owen Fiss, historical professor at Yale University, included Barak (and also the Argentine Carlos Nino) as one of the protagonists of his book dedicated to the "pillars of Justice". While I can agree with some of his decisions and disagree with others, it is clear that Barak changed, forever (I suppose), and for the better (no doubt) Israeli law. It was he who pushed for the "constitutional revolution" in Israel (a country that has no written constitution, but "basic laws") and began to bring to life the incipient human rights norms.

Aharon Barak, former Chief Justice of Israel

It was Barak, for example, who pushed for the invalidation of torture, when the Israeli government wanted to legalize it. I spoke to Barak on a Friday and on Saturday he invited me to his house: "What do you have to do tomorrow?" he asked. He received me in sandals, with a table full of fruits, in the company of his loving wife. She – another outstanding professional – all the time was very concerned that I was comfortable (then, she made constant comments, quietly, to Barak, to serve me cake, or to bring me a small desk so that I could take notes more comfortably).

At 86 years old, Barak is a lucid, active and fearless person. He lives in a very modest apartment – another impossible fact, in the eyes of an Argentine, considering that he presided over the Court for more than ten years – between 1995 and 2006 – and without custody. The latter, despite the fact that, even today, and after almost 20 years that he left the presidency of the Court, there are still demonstrations in front of his house, by the adversaries of the "liberal revolution", who identify in Barak their main enemy, the person who symbolizes what they hate most. At his advanced age, he continues to write and teach at the university because, he confesses, he needs to make a living. Incredible.

On Saturday night, after the beautiful meeting with Aharon Barak, I left for the protest march that takes place every Saturday. One of his daughters had come to visit with a friend, who would also join the march, as they have been doing for months. Barak offered me a flag, to take to the demonstration (the national flag was adopted as a symbol of these demonstrations, to affirm their transversal character, rather than liberal or left), but I told him that I preferred to go without it. Before the march I met three other Argentines, who were also going there, and with whom I enjoyed what was, for me, a vital and exciting show. Thousands of people, still mobilized – joyful, singing, shouting, demanding – after five months. And yet! And then some! Towards the end of the meeting, I missed some tempting steaming stalls, but in return you could buy fabulous bagels, in a number of carts installed on the sides of the march.

The ultra-Orthodox and liberals of Rehavia

Tel Aviv remains, still, a liberal and cosmopolitan stronghold. It is perhaps the most hedonistic city I know, with young people who spend much of their time on the street sitting in bars with bare feet, one leg flexed on the seat itself, sometimes in strange, fascinating contortions or foreshortenings. All of which makes the city a polar opposite of Jerusalem.

An ultra-Orthodox at Yehuda Market, Jerusalem.

Today, thanks to the growing weight of Orthodox (nationalists) and ultra-Orthodox(ultra-religious and also, and therefore, those who have more children), Jerusalem has become an openly conservative, religious or spiritual city, something suffocating for my taste. One of the best local constitutionalists, who teaches in Jerusalem, faced with my question whether I lived near the University, laughed and asked me if I was crazy. Another teacher gives me a similar answer and tells me that it is a city that has become a great hatred and that it could not reside in a place where every gesture became political: "Ah, have a coffee on Saturday morning; ah, you take transportation; you are wanting to attack us then...", comments on the rigorous Shabbath, with its religious interdictions.

Today Jerusalem barely tolerates a "liberal" enclave – the neighborhood of Rehavia – which is the stronghold where the "rich" and "intellectuals" live (or take refuge). That's where, for example, Judge Barak lived when he was on court. It is common, then, to hear accusatory references to the area and those who live there. It can be said, for example, "this is another whim of the liberals of Rehavia".

Traders of innate talent

My admiration for the skills of merchants of Arab origin knows no bounds. It all started when a dear friend told me about his visit to an Egyptian bar. The owner of the business saw him enter with just the corner of his eye, continued rinsing glasses, and while shouting, in perfect Spanish: "4628373746." And he repeated the figure, more than once. My friend did not understand its meaning but understood when he approached to ask for the password of the wifi ...

Today, in a limited version of the same saga, an Arab merchant from the Old City of Jerusalem sees me enter his shop and immediately asks me where I am from. When I tell him that I am from Argentina, he answers, in perfect Argentine, "ah, but of course, crisis, crisis, a lot of crisis."

It's no surprise that Jerusalem is a conservative city, but it's not to exaggerate either. In an "old man's bookstore," I ask for a Hebrew version of the Communist Manifesto and the bookseller counteroffers me a volume of Capital, in Spanish. I tell him that it does not serve me, and before he leaves, very friendly, he adds: "My friend, I advise you to read, instead, Margaret Thatcher."

Eyes of the Middle East

Eyes of the Middle East.Photo: Roberto Gargarella.

There are eyes, in the Middle East, that are unique, I do not know if because of the color, or because of that too: something brown, like dark desert when night comes; Somewhat green too, like olive groves when morning comes. Brown and olive, that is, like the skin of the East. But I don't know. There's an intensity to those eyes, which is unique too, I don't know why. From what they remember, maybe. By the memory of what was known or seen (it is possible that they saw everything, or know everything, about death as well). Or maybe not. Perhaps it is only forgetting, the overwhelming need for forgetting, forgetting everything seen or known. Or maybe not. Maybe it's the sun. Perhaps simply the intensity of the sun, which reflects and shines in those eyes, but not in others. Although I think not. I would rather say no. I would say, rather, that it is an open and extensive wound, shining first in the eyes, where the sun nests. But it is a long wound, which begins in the eyes, and that runs through the body, the whole body, a wound that goes from intimacy to modesty. A long wound, which turns into crying, but it is crying into modesty, I mean, hidden, far, far, for instance, from where I am. I don't know though. But I know something, however: I know that I have seen, in those eyes, the eyes here, looks, looks that before now I did not see, looks that elsewhere I will not see. Vulnerable looks, because violated. Looks of distrust, of a hidden suspicion, of hope, of anxiety, of refugee apprehension. Looks of overacted certainty, of feigned security, of a posed rigor. All that, but above all fear. Looks of condemnation and reproach, of punishment and sanction, and at the same time piety, and at the same time forgiveness. But fear, especially fear. Or maybe not. What I see is something else: what I see in those eyes is the reflection of all or part of a scary story, a story that asks to be summarized in everything that was lost. So that, just that: the lost gaze, which is the gaze that seeks what was lost, the gaze that knows, inside knows, that what was, what was forever, is gone: what was forever was also lost. And then that: fragility in the face of what crumbled. A building that looked solid, cemented in cement, and that fell. Like autumn leaves, one day, without anyone seeing it, when no one thought or even imagined it, it crumbled. Or maybe it was history, it was the whole story that fell apart. And then that, maybe it all comes down to that: the fear of the present, and the scary memories, and the constant presence of what was forever and forever was lost. Perhaps it is only that, then, that I see, what seems unique to me, in the eyes I find around me: the brave look that hides the irreparable wound, the daring look that hides the excessive pain.

Weapons here and there

No estoy seguro de muchas cosas, pero de esto, bastante: darle una M16 a chicos y chicas de 18 años, por los próximos dos o tres, en nombre de la seguridad interior, es catastrófico en términos de educación cívica. Pocas formas mejores para erosionar los lazos sociales, para ayudar a que las personas se miren sin respeto, pero con miedo; para asegurar que las miradas se carguen de arrogancia, sospecha y odio. ¿Hay graves problemas de seguridad interior? Sí, claro, pero también formas más sensatas de enfrentarlos. El mal que ya ha hecho esta cultura de las armas por doquier, el mal que hará: lo siento.

Hoy, en el tranvía, una joven va con su metralla cruzándole el cuerpo, como si nada, mientras come su sánguche, mientras el cañón de su arma cada tanto me apunta en cuando las calles desniveladas nos sacuden un poco. No sé hacia dónde correrme para sentirme a salvo: sólo espero que las puertas se abran.

Esta tarde, en el colorido, festivo, energético, tan diverso mercado de Yehuda, me distiendo, pido un café en uno de los notables puestos que se han abierto por allí (capaces de satisfacer paladares exigentes en el área, incluso el mío), y me siento un rato, pensando en nada. Me acomodo, queriendo ver pasar la vida, pero quien pasa es la muerte. Y así, de la nada aparece un grupo de civiles inexplicable e innecesariamente, armados, que me intranquiliza y me exigen volver a la realidad: estoy acá, estoy acá ahora, no me puedo relajar por completo.

Jóvenes en las calles de la Ciudad Vieja de Jerusalén.

Poco después, cuando salgo del mercado, me topo con un chico guapo, con el cuerpo cansado, que podría ser mi sobrino. Él advierte que me sorprendo ante su presencia, el arma le recorre el cuerpo entero, y se molesta un poco. Yo hago como si su presencia no me inquietara, él hace como si no advirtiera que estoy intranquilo. Yo hago como que le saco una foto a las tiendas, él hace como que mira por encima de mi hombro, pero ninguno de los dos cree nada de todo esto.

Orgullo del sobreviviente

Recordé mucho, en estos días, mi primer día en la Universidad de Chicago, en 1992. La administración había organizado para nosotros, los extranjeros que empezábamos nuestros posgrados, un acumulado de actividades innecesarias, queriendo mostrar cuidado y atención hacia los recién llegados, y como paso previo a nuestro relegamiento en el impiadoso olvido. En todo caso, me recuerdo estos días, de aquel primer día, por una de las actividades que nos organizaron las autoridades de la Facultad: una charla informal, introductoria, a cargo de un futuro compañero, israelí él.

El privilegio que se le otorgara a nuestro par se debía a que el joven -inusualmente- estaba comenzando en Chicago su segundo LLM (acaba de completar una maestría en California, si mal no recuerdo). Por tanto, él iba a hablarnos acerca de la experiencia de transitar con éxito una maestría, desde la condición de extranjero, en una universidad norteamericana. La cuestión no me gustó mucho, desde el comienzo, y menos cuando reconocí la actitud del sujeto. Él se acercó para hablarnos con el pecho inflado, la barbilla en alto, una media sonrisa, el aire de la victoria, los ojos brillosos de la suficiencia, y un mensaje que no era de igual a igual, que era poco hospitalario, y que puede resumirse en “costó mucho, pero pude lograrlo, seguramente ustedes también podrán, si se esfuerzan como yo supe hacerlo.” O sea que su discurso impostado, en lugar de alentarnos, nos recargó el miedo que ya cargábamos sobre nuestras espaldas.

Básicamente, se trataba de que reconociéramos sus grandes méritos, y que nos atreviéramos a ser como él. Me recordé de aquel compañero, en estos días, porque encontré muchas actitudes corporales como la suya, en ámbitos y situaciones diversas. Con la impunidad que dan las explicaciones culturales o psicológicas (donde uno apela a respuestas contundentes e incomprobables, para dar cuenta de situaciones que nos generan incógnitas), aventuro la mía, que tiene que ver con sugerencias ya presentadas más arriba.

Manifestantes a favor de los derechos de la mujer, algunos vestidos como personajes de la serie de televisión The Handmaid's Tale, asisten a una protesta contra el gobierno del primer ministro Benjamin Netanyahu en la playa de Cesarea, Israel, el martes 16 de mayo de 2023.Foto: AP/Oded Balilty

Hay algo en la cultura de la conscripción, algo de la práctica del ejército, que gotea sobre la vida cotidiana, hasta cubrirla entera. Es lo que resulta cuando lo mejor de los años formativos lo atraviesa uno (no como podría haber sido, digamos, por caso, con una mano amorosa sobre la piel de uno, sino) con el peso de una M16 sobre el estómago -un arma que en su abrumadora dimensión cruza el pecho e interrumpe la vista (el mundo visto entre los bordes de una culata, los cuerpos ajenos mediados por un arma de fuego). Todo ello agravadísimo por la licencia para maltratar y ofender, a partir de la autoridad del arma, que se convierte en legítima ante un enemigo que se ha portado demasiado mal, demasiadas veces, justo con aquellos que están más cercade uno. Hay algo de eso, supongo -algo de la cultura de la “misión cumplida con éxito”- que uno ve en la vida de todos los días. Que es lo mismo que escuchara en el discurso de mi compañero en Chicago: “nosotros sobrevivimos a todo,tal vez también ustedes, si se esfuerzan lo suficiente, puedan hacerlo”.

Un país sin Constitución (que necesita y quiere una Constitución como salida)

Durante muchos años, parte de la academia jurídica –internacional y local– aceptó o justificó el hecho de que países como Israel no tuvieran Constitución. Se trata, se nos decía, de sociedades fracturadas internamente, y en situación de latente conflicto entre las partes: ¿por qué reabrir las brechas más hondas, en el momento fundacional, poniendo en riesgo la misma posibilidad de ensayar un acuerdo? Más aún, parte de la doctrina sigue validando, para este u otros casos, la presencia de normas (aún normas de rango constitucional, sin el nombre de Constitución, como las Basic Law israelíes) que incluyan cláusulas ambiguas (como en la India) o aún contradictorias (como en Irlanda) sobre temas controvertidos –incluyendo normas que hagan “silencio” o eviten expedirse sobre los temas más divisivos.

The best expression of such positions is surely found in the works of H. Lerner (Making Constitutions in deeply divided societies). For her, the lack of a Constitution, in cases of "deeply divided" societies, should be seen as a success: a way of deferring, and thus leaving to politics, the resolution of the most complex problems (why, she wondered, open such conflicts now, and thus detonate the possibility of agreements?). These are "avoidance strategies" that reputed constitutionalists, such as Cass Sunstein, justified for other types of cases – judicial intervention – and from a deliberative reading of democracy: put the most serious conflicts in parentheses and let them be addressed in a timely manner through political-democratic debate.

For my part, I was always against this type of approach, for several reasons. I quickly list a few: 1) Against the (Sunsteinian) idea of "avoidance" or "deferral", many deeply divided societies tried the search for more abstract constitutional agreements ("moral agreements" and not a "mere modus vivendi", in the words of John Rawls), and they did it without problems, very successfully. The best example is the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The various religious factions, then, abhorred each other (they had been fleeing England, where they had suffered persecution and death, that is, they knew of the risks at stake), but they were able to unify their claims on a point of greater abstraction (a "lowest common denominator," say), on which they all agreed (basically: "let's not kill each other" or, More realistically: "None of us who come to power imposes our religion on the other").

2) I don't understand why if Israel has a "Declaration of Independence" (of constitutional weight similar to the U.S. "Declaration of Independence"). UU In fact, the document from which Barak derived much of his constitutional jurisprudence, and Basic Laws like the ones he has, cannot have a Constitution: if it already has almost everything. And written!

Tens of thousands of Israelis protest against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to overhaul the judicial system in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, April 15, 2023.Photo: AP/Oded Balilty

3) The idea of not addressing, at the constitutional moment, the most important problems, is not only not a good idea, but it is also usually a very risky option. Think of the constitutional "silence" that was made in the United States, in the "founding time", on the other great national problem of that time: the question of slavery. The subsequent outbreak of the Civil War, around the subject, does not deserve to be seen as a direct product of the Constitution. But there is also no doubt that constitutional silence did not help in the matter, and that the Constitution of 1787 must assume its share of blame in this regard.

4) In this as in so many cases, the non-resolution of the conflict, or its "deferral", in fact implies a taking of a position, and the establishment of a solution. There is no such thing as a "(legal) non-action on the social problem": to leave it untouched, for example, is to accept the permanence of a de facto solution, usually unjust, that in practice the State ends up supporting with its force.

For all this, I am very happy to see that today, in Israel, the issue is beginning to be seen differently, and that even those who defended the status quo (of not having a Constitution) today get involved in the search for constitutional agreements. As if they had an alternative: thousands of people shouting in the street "Constitution, Constitution".

Before Israel's departure

Today is May 30. When I arrived here, 15 days ago, I did so with some certainty that the problems I knew were problems with no way out. I think (thought), of the idea of a "deeply divided" society, of irreconcilable sections and groups - political, social, economic, religious, ethnic - and where, to top it all, conflicts had been oriented towards an even worse avenue. I think (still) of a division that includes more strongly nationalist orthodox groups; ultra-Orthodox who in recent years have been abandoning their traditional pragmatism, to align themselves with the hardest right; liberals who have accentuated their elitism; and a government that, faced with accusations of all kinds, starting with corruption crimes that reach the Prime Minister himself, accelerates its mad march and, in alliance with the ultra sectors, promotes a reform that seeks to detonate the last liberal brake that blocks its advance – the Supreme Court.

And, all of the above, not to mention the permanent threat of armed conflict; attacks, racism and the occupied territories; ethnic hatred; cross-treatment; the guns and rockets that cross the sky from time to time, and lock the family in their bomb shelters (the taxi driver who took me to the airport told me "they have been hunting us for thousands of years, my children are tired of the alarms ringing and asking me, 'Dad, we have to go back to the shelter again'?"). There is no variable that does not lead us to hold our heads, to think that it is already there, that everything is over, there is no way out. And how could there be?

And yet, today I leave and I see marks of hope on various walls, unexpected marks that I had not seen, and that – in my favor, evil of many – nobody had detected.

Israeli police use a water cannon to disperse protesters blocking a road during protests against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to overhaul the judicial system, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, March 27, 2023.

There are, as I said, the protests. No social scientist had anticipated such a thing – no one would have ever predicted it. How could it be that in a civil society that assumed itself apathetic or tired, such remnants of strength would be found to stand up. To get up and go out, to Kaplan Avenue, or to squares all over the country, to protest again and again, every Saturday, every Saturday, and more, and to do it by the thousands and months ago, and with energy, in peace. The success of the protests has been overwhelming and from that – we know, since Argentina in 2001, at least – there is no turning back. They are finished one day; The battle of the moment is lost perhaps, but the really important thing has already happened, and it is in the future as well. Nothing will ever be the same as before, for no one and for decades. Everyone already knows that not everything is possible, that there are limits that will be very difficult to cross, no matter how much those in front punch the table and raise their tone.

And there's more. In those optimal conditions for impossible dialogue, groups that hate each other, suddenly, without anyone noticing, talk to each other. They do it today in a very low voice, often in secret, trying to make sure that no one finds out. But there are persistent initiatives, everywhere, from all sides. Bridges that are built between a few, still fragile, but everywhere. With each group I speak, with each public figure with whom I enter into confidence, he tells me that he is "talking", and that the conversation begins with the adversary (I came here to present my book The Law as a conversation between equals, so many tell me in those terms: "we are doing it"). And then, impossible conversation was possible; The dialogue between walls begins to be heard, and expands to include voices that were not previously presented.

When the American constitutionalist and political scientist Bruce Ackerman spoke of "constitutional moments", he never imagined it, but if today there is something that can be called that somewhere in the world, it can only be this. The whole society risen up, moved – today, still, in the stage of anger and confrontation – but you can see the rest: fatigue, tiredness, the need to stop, the urgency to open doors, the obligation to build bridges to others. I suppose that is the lesson we can learn from Israel, for Israel, and from there to the world. The "constitutional moments" are not one-day flowers, but forests that take root for years.

It is the opposite of the idea that one group suddenly rises and wins, imposing itself on all the rest. There is not, nor does anything good deserve to be expected, from the situation where a part of society uses its eventual superiority to impose its entire model. "Let's seize now, let's seize the moment, it's now or never."

In deeply divided societies, that is the promise of lasting and widespread failure. It happened in recent Argentina more than once; in Chile, with the Constituent Assembly; at this stage of the Israeli government. We are in the time when the "constitutional moment" hatches, begins to take base, to gain its own strength, in another form. The solution that is desired and needed is not the one that each of the different factions hopes for – victory of its own, the imposition of one part on the whole – but widespread and profound agreement. An agreement that here needs to include, first of all, the opposing factions, those who least like each other. Sitting at the same table and looking to see what is left in common, among the pieces burst and scattered on the floor.

Law as a conversation between equalsRoberto GargarellaEditorial Siglo XXI

Everything else – the attempt to go for more, and seize the moment, to lead the final onslaught to, once and for all, prevail – is doomed to loss, of the faction and the rest. That, I suppose, is the lesson: the only hope lies in conversation, and the only conversation that makes sense today is the one that includes those we love least. The success of this "constitutional moment", however, demands that everyone come together – little by little, yes; Speaking quietly, yes; Groping, yes – but together, looking for common ground, agreeing minimums, from thousands of different tables.

Roberto Gargarella is a lawyer, jurist, sociologist, writer specializing in human rights, democracy, political philosophy, constitutional law and equality and development. He is a professor at the Torcuato Di Tella University and the UBA.

See also

Israel in an unsatisfied present

The Right to Protest and the Limits to Concentrated Power

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-06-10

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