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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tel Aviv Peace Now Protest: Thousands of Left-Wing Activists March to Save Democracy

Photo Credit: Tal Cohen
Over night, Tel Aviv has become a beacon of hope for left-wing Israeli activists.


Yesterday over 15,000 people gathered in Central Tel Aviv At Gan Meir (גן מאיר- Meir Park) to protest recent "anti-democratic trends" in Israel's Knesset.

 The protest, entitled "Demonstration (because we still can): protesting for democracy", began at 19:00pm on Saturday evening and culminated at the Israel Museum where Knesset members from Kadima, Meretz and Hadasa parties as well as public figures and human rights officials delivered charismatic speeches.

Flyer for the Protest: "The Democratic Camp" Tel Aviv, Sat Night 7:00 pm. 

While the Israeli public has been frustrated by the current government, frustrations reached highs when a new bill was approved by the Israeli Parliament that would allow a "committee of inquiry" to investigate left-wing organizations and examine the sources of their funding. The bill was brought forth by  Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's party, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Leiberman himself as labeled these groups as "terror-aiders".

At the protest, Kadmia Knesset Member Meir Sheetrit condemned the new bill to probe the funding sources of left-wing organizations.

"If such legislation is passed, it will be like taking a brick out of the wall of democracy. I am surprised that Likud members support this. It's simply shameful that they can sit in a government that makes such a proposal," he said.

Photo Credit: Tal Cohen
Peace Now Director-General Yariv Oppenheimer went even further, saying that "the Lieberman threat" is is a more dangerous threat than Iran.

"The Lieberman threat should worry us all. It is a greater threat than Iran. We must go out and protest," said Oppenheimer.

Banner: "We won't shut up In the face of racism and incitement"
Photo Credit: Tal Cohen
Under the umbrella title "Camp for Democracy", organizing parties included The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Meretz Party, Peace Now, New Israel Fund, and The Kibbutz Movement.

Nitzan Horowitz, Meretz Member of Knesset (MK) spoke out during the protest, saying,

"We are here in opposition to religious radicalization, racist laws, and sickening incitement against foreign workers and against those who are not loyal to Lieberman. And now they are putting human rights organizations in the crosshairs. They don't want to investigate the Carmel fire, so what do they investigate? The free people."

He added that blame also falls with the current Prime Minister Netanyahu who is "encouraging the racist celebration in the Knesset."

He then continued by addressed Ehud Barak, chairman of the Labor Party, saying, "How are you not ashamed Mr. Barak? You and your party are supporting and enabling the existence of the most racist government in the history of the State of Israel. You are responsible just as Liberman, Yishai and Netanyahu."

Photo Credit: Oded Balilty/ AP
According to JPosts recent coverage of the protest, people came from all over the country to Tel Aviv for the protest.  Even tourists from outside Israel decided to join in.

I'm just hoping that this moves the representatives running our government and shows them that there is an entire population of people who care about human rights in Israel and are ready to take a stand.

Photo Credit: Tal Cohen


  1. If there are organizations that might be against the existence of our country or getting funding from them, then we have a duty to investigate them!
    What is not democratic about that?

  2. I don't think that left-wing organizations are against the existence of Israel. They are simply fighting for a different kind of Israel.

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