There's People Carrying Signs…

The NY Times reports,

More than 10,000 Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to support Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from Gaza, ahead of a crucial budget vote.
The police estimated that the turnout at the rally was 10,000 to 15,000 people, smaller than the organizers had hoped. The rally was sponsored by the Peace Now organization in support of Mr. Sharon’s plan to dismantle all 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza beginning in late July.
Representatives of the settlers [as did some Jewschool visitors] called the rally an “embarrassing failure” compared with the turnout of tens of thousands people in Jerusalem last month to protest the Gaza pullout.

Harry says, “Wake up! Not all Israelis who support disengagement are going to ally themselves with the uber-left. This disengagement supporter would rather eat nails than stand side by side with folks from Peace Now and Gush Shalom.”
Okay. So that takes care of the center-left. Now for the truly über-left: I’m currently sitting in a Tel Aviv apartment with the members of Anarchists Against The Wall. One of its founders just said to me that the real radical left in this country didn’t attend because the rally was “in support of Sharon” and not “against the occupation.”
“Did you notice 95% of the people who attended the anti-disengagement rally were religious?” he asked. “Of course they had a better turnout,” he added, “because they belong to institutions which will allow them to take off of work or school to attend. Most people in this country work and go to school and can’t skip out to go to a rally. That does not affect their political convictions.”
If you want to see where the action’s really at in Tel Aviv, it’s at Tel Aviv University, where the extension of Benjamin Netanyahu’s economic policies are causing an intifada of their own. Ynet reports,

Tel Aviv University students staged a two hour strike Sunday in protest of the impending program cutbacks.
Several Knesset members arrived at the demonstration to show their support for the students’ struggle, among those who joined in the rally were Knesset members Yossi Sarid (Yahad), Matan Vilnai (Labor), Meli Polishook-Bloch (Shinui) and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
University students, lecturers and high school students throughout the country were said to have joined the protest in solidarity.

The students are apparently furious at the fact that the university is cutting back on its arts and humanities programs to open a new department which specializes in security and diplomacy and which charges tuition beyond average Israeli means. “Only rich people will be able to get masters degrees.”
Veteran Israel rapper Muki performed at the demonstration as well, prior to which he addressed the crowd: “Politicians make many promises and tell you stories, but you have to remember they’re here only to advance their interests. The only people who will look out for student interests is us. In times like these, when hard and brave decisions are being made for peace, they forget that there’ll be no peace without a healthy society. We’re the fuel, the motor, the heart and soul of our society. We are its future. Education in culture and art is demanding its place in this polluted and diluted society.”
The university’s reprioritization is seen as being in-line with the systematic privitization and empowerment of wealth-imbued institutions going on throughout the country.
Also, today in Bethlehem, a contingent of several hundred demonstrators marched in opposition to Israel’s separation barrier. Bethlehem Bloggers reports,

A few hundred Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis peacefully marched today from Bethlehem to the checkpoint which separates the city from Jerusalem, protesting enclosure of the city and the continued occupation.
Organised by a coalition of non-violent resistance groups, the residents of Bethlehem marched on Palm Sunday to bring international attention to the unjust, Israeli-imposed restrictions on access to Jerusalem and its Holy Sites.

Read on…
In related news, last Monday anti-disengagement protesters tied up the Ayalon freeway setting ablaze 100 tires in the middle of the road. Mmmm… eretz hakodesh. Breathe it in deep.

19 thoughts on “There's People Carrying Signs…

  1. I can understand Harry’s sentiments, because I have had similar concern with the various anti-war marches and movements in the U.S. The outright hostility to Israel is one part, but it’s a lot more than that. In the wake of 9/11 I went to a couple of local anti-war vigils, and then helped plan some teach-ins at the local college. One of the organizers was distributing a “chronology” of Afghanistan which insisted that the Soviet Union didn’t actually invade Afghanistan, but provided aid to the government under a mutual defense pact. It also described the Soviet allied government as a “progressive government committed to land reform and education of women” (no mention of the tens of thousands of summary executions). At the next meeting I got into a huge argument with these people, and that was when I realized that I am not comfortable in the anti-war movement.
    I’m curious about Harry’s lumping Peace Now and Gush Shalom together. From my perspective hear in America, Gush Shalom is sort of like the anti-war people I was talking about here, while Peace Now seems more moderate. I certainly have no problem with American Friends of Peace Now. But Harry’s obviously closer. Do you see any differences between the various leftist organizations? Is there any “peace” movement that you are comfortable with?
    This also adds to another dilemna. How do we express and mobilize support for causes when we may be very uncomfortable with some other elements in such movements. I may not want to hang with the “uber-left” either, but I also don’t want to sit out entirely and a) fail to express and mobilize what I believe in and b) allow such elements to end up dominating the left side of the discussion, making it less palatable to me, and many others.

  2. my friend, it sounds like you had a little run-in with International A.N.S.W.E.R. don’t feed them and they won’t bite. although they will try to commandeer your whole protest, take credit for the turnout, and steer the whole discussion towards how great the USSR was.

  3. I have a friend whose a Commie, big into ANSWER etc, I always get a hoot when they preach about how great USSR, CUBA, CHina are…Maybe at exterminating vast amounts of people, these same people also tend to be verily anti-Israel as well

  4. Josh – There are indeed huge differences between the Peace Now and Gush Shalom organizations. I happen to disagree with them both. I support disengagement because I believe that it’s the first step towards a amicable divorce with the Palestinians. I don’t believe in this lovely dovey vision of two states living side by side in peace. It’s a pipedream. So no, I don’t affiliate with any peace organizations.

  5. “Did you notice 95% of the people who attended the anti-disengagement rally were religious?” he asked. “Of course they had a better turnout,” he added, “because they belong to institutions which will allow them to take off of work or school to attend. Most people in this country work and go to school and can’t skip out to go to a rally. That does not affect their political convictions.”
    Uh, the rally was held on a Saturday night.
    Anyway, Anarchists Against the Wall isn’t uber-left, they are fringe left. And the fringe left was indeed represented at Saturday night’s rally. I consider signs decrying Zionism fringe left, how about you?

  6. Mob,
    Last week, the students blocked roads in the area of the univeristy and held the entire Ramat Aviv neighbourhood hostage by locking up the university fences and causing a massive traffic jam. Mmmm… eretz hakodesh. Breathe it in deep.
    The next part of the plan is a plan to stop the country in its tracks on Wednesday. They openly say that this is the only way people listen.
    Is there a difference between students blocking roads to protest budget cuts and right-wingers blocking roads to protest the expulsion?
    because some idiot Shinui member of knesset says that the police should save their energy from battling the students and use it to beat the right-wing protesters. Mmmm… eretz hakodesh. Breathe it in deep.
    My spamblock word is ‘consistent’.

  7. Round and round it goes… this is like trying to cut whipped cream into cubes, but let’s try to tease some threads of rational order out of this self-justifying mishmash post.
    1) Massaging the Numbers: the initial Israeli reports – including eyewitness accounts published on Ynet – had less than 10,000 attending a poorly organized rally. The Israeli press started using terms like “approximately/just over 10,000” – now the NY Times has blown some more hot air into the balloon:
    “10 to 15 thousand”? That’s not news, it’s propaganda.
    2) The Faithful: when the left has run big rallies, it has regularly used its long-arm connections with the labor unions to “free up” participants – basically stopping work in unionized areas of the economy (if you can call it work 🙂 – and unofficially “requiring” people to show up.
    It has also shamelessly used youth organizations such as the Scouts to get more bodies to their protests.
    In this case the rally was on a Saturday night – no pressures from a workday, no “inducements” like a day off to help swell the numbers. The result: nada, zippo, zilch.
    It’s interesting that Moby mentions the tire-burning incident – Mobaleh, if anything the recent memory of this incident should have brought MORE Tel-Avivis out to protest. So where were they?
    For the record: anti-expulsion protests have regularly drawn 200,000-plus people – and despite the stereotype repeated here, by no means are there only religious people present. And all these protests were held on weeknights.
    3) The Values: tell me what you’re willing to get off your butt for, and I’ll tell you what your values are.
    The students are protesting minor cuts in staff and course offerings – because they are spoiled and selfish (I pay more for my son’s yeshiva high school here in Israel than these students pay for their government-funded tuition).
    They didn’t show up for the pro-expulsion rally because they don’t care about anything but themselves. This at a time when massive protests about Big Ideas are shaking up our region, and other regions like the Ukraine – largely led by students, in their traditional role as firebrands.
    And leftie Israeli kids are sitting on their big fat butts.
    Anarchy, anyone?
    Bottom line: the settlers are willing to bet their homes on a public referendum, while those who roll their eyes and self-righteously proclaim that “the majority is on our side” are doing everything possible to prevent “the majority” from clarifying their opinion. After pathetic shows of “strength” like Saturday’s piss-rally, we can see why…

  8. First of all, we don’t need a referendum, because we had an election. Second of all, and for the last time, NOT EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS DISENGAGEMENT IS A LEFT WINGER AND NOT EVERYONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT A LAME ASS RALLY IN TEL AVIV! I support disengagement from Gaza but wouldn’t be caught dead at a rally standing side by side with leftists agendas. Frankly, I don’t want to do miluim in Gaza anymore. And I am sick of our soldier’s dying there.

  9. Bibi’s economic package causing the cut backs at TAU? Hardly. TAU’s financial problems are nothing new and predate Bibi as finance minister and Livnat as Education minister. These cutbaks are the complete mismanagement and fucked up prioritization by Rabinowitch and all of his political cronies. Salary squeezed professors are leaving the Universities in droves to teach at the private universities where they actually command a decent salary.

  10. And not only that, but I don’t think the whole left either a) supports the disengagement plan, or b) would want to be seen at a rally with the theme of supporting Sharon.

  11. Harry,
    are you still deluded? Do you think that the ‘disengagement’ will end with Gaza and North Samaria? Do you not listen to Sharon, Olmert, and Weisglass talk about the next phase?
    You can’t be right-wing and support the retreat plan. I am still in awe from hearing some fellow ‘settlers’ spew the ‘leaving gush katif will save the other settlement blocs’ mantra without laughing.
    I have no doubt that after the retreat (if it even goes through), we will have more miluim to do. We are supposed to learn from the Oslo disaster, not repeat it on a larger scale.
    It’s nice to distance yourself from failures, but shouldn’t you be rallying around the disengagement if you want it to succeed. Isn’t it better to put aside petty labels like right/left wingers? The rally was in support of the retreat and nothing else ‘left-wing’.

  12. Harry: “I don’t believe in this lovely dovey vision of two states living side by side in peace.”
    What about a practical vision of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian state in between?

  13. Hey Josh, I’d be interested in hearing what Sharon, Olmert, and Weisglass are saying about “the next phase.” Hit me with some links?

  14. Harry’s point is interesting. As I understand it, Peace Now first formed to encourage Begin to complete a deal with Sadat, and really gained momentum in opposition to the war in Lebanon. It’s concerns weren’t so much pie in the sky coexistance as much as a people who were sick of what they saw as unnecessary fighting and a desire to end it. This seems to be closer to Harry’s view. But over the years perhaps Peace Now has become a stereotypical “anti-war” movement, either demonizing people or patronizing them. That’s too bad. I still like AFPN though, they strike me as reasonable.

  15. From jpost:
    Olmert unveils ‘Disengagement 2’ plan to the ‘Post’
    Israel will need to carry out a large-scale withdrawal from the West Bank after next year’s initial disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, whether or not a viable peace partner emerges on the Palestinian side, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday

  16. Josh,
    The fact is that in the end only what Meir Kahane said will help.
    The hostile Arabs must be moved out of our country.
    Until that is done more of the same will happen: killings, attacks and a continual diminishing of our borders.
    I would think that after you would read your own posts you would come to the same conclusion. Unfortunately you and so-called right wingers like you are not consistant and have some type of fear of being labeled names by others.
    Honesty should be your only guide.

  17. schmoejoe,
    don’t worry about me, we’re on the same team and believe me, I’m the last one to care about labels. Also, I refuse to say this or that guy is my Rabbi and do everything he says. Mr K was right about many, many things but I can’t say that everything he said is the truth. I don’t ascribe to mass transfer and think that it’s detrimental. In the very near future, millions of Jews will be moving back to Israel and we will need many construction workers to build new housing.
    Now, how’s about moving to Yesha. That can happen now, moving populations takes time (Sharon and his police are learning this). Will we have to move Arab graves?
    Not More Than 10 Graves a Day Can Be Uprooted
    (IsraelNN.com) The Chief Rabbinate of the IDF has said that it does not have the ability to dig up and transfer more than 10 graves per day, in the event that the Disengagement Plan is put into effect and the Jewish graves need to be removed from Gush Katif and Samaria.
    Such a situation will mean that there will be a series of days with tens of re-interment funerals in cities and towns throughout Israel. Sources in the security services expressed concern today that every such funeral would develop into a mass demonstration requiring already-stretched police forces to attend to crowd control.

  18. Sam,
    you wanted links, so,
    more juicy stuff about the current Israeli government’s rationale. This judicial response will probably not be noticed by many, but it basically says that ALL land over the green line is temporary and that all talk about some settlements becoming permanent has no basis.
    All settlers should get ready to leave soon. In hebrew;

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.