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Occupying Rothschild: A wild night out

When hundreds block Tel Aviv’s main boulevard, chasing away the police, the mass media isn’t there to document it, explaining that now is “The Gilad Schalit festival”

It didn’t look as though anything majorly exciting was due to happen in Tel Aviv on the “Global Day of Action”. Two events were indeed planned, but with the tents folded and the spirit of revolution calmed over the past month or so, no one expected mayhem.

The first was a gathering on the Art Museum plaza, featuring live streaming and global chat, which was approved by both the police and the city, although the latter refused to supply it with electricity.The result felt like a dimly-lit trade fair, where activists created debate circles amidst stalls erected by the Kabbala center and other not fully relevant organizations, all confined by blue metal barriers put up by the city. Having said that, Noa Yachot’s camera produced a couple of striking images there.

The second event planned was to be a dance party on Rothschild Boulevard, which only a month ago was still paved with the tents of the J14 movement seeking social justice. Tel-Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai, who ordered the removal of the tents, appealed to the police and had the permit for the event annulled.

Despite the loss of the permit, hundreds gathered on the boulevard at the set time, 10:00 PM, underneath the newly created “People’s House,” a grassroots cultural center. The DJ was inside, but fine music reached the street. Soon dancers poured from the middle stretch of the boulevard, dedicated to pedestrians and bikes, to the road itself. The police, watching peacefully from the sidelines, got involved and pushed protesters back onto the sidewalk.

They then attempted a first arrest, walking into the “People’s House” and seeking one of its chief coordinators. The man they were after fled down the stairs and rushed down the street, followed by both police and revelers. The civilians pushed forth of the police lines, allowing the escaping man to vanish among them and disappear. They then proceeded to steal the ignition key of the police vehicle.

Several police officers stood stranded in the midst of hundreds of singing men and women, who chanted slogans of anger at Netanyahu’s government, at Mayor Huldai and at the tycoons running Israel’s economy, but also: “Mr. Policeman, you too deserve more.” Finally the police decided to back up the vehicle manually and roll it off the boulevard. Protesters followed them, singing.

No arrests were made. Two protesters held by police were released and the rest were left in the middle of the street with no one to interfere.

With the police gone, the crowd proceeded to dance, singing “Hava Nagila”. The tent struggle, which died down thanks to elaborate media spins and diversions, seemed to have been reignited. The dances grew more and more elaborate, culminating in a folk dance taught to Israeli preschool kids. Everybody sang along: “We have a billy-goat / the billy goat has a goatee / and also four legs / and a little tail.”

Outside Huldai’s blue metal barriers, fueled by music and with the only violence shown by the police, the struggle came into its own. One thing was missing, however. Tel Aviv’s main street was blocked for nearly two hours and no television camera was there to document it. The various news websites ignored the event altogether. When I approached a reporter for a major TV channel, texting him that they should send a crew over, he replied: “I’m all in favor, but for the next half a year we’re going to be all about the Schalit festival.”

The struggle makes an attempt to rise anew, despite animosity from the mayor and the use of Gilad Schalit’s release as yet another media spin. Socially conscious Israelis will need all the global help they can get.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Henry Weinstein

      Well done, Yuval. Thanks.
      Talkin’ about media, I feel the urge to alert 972 readers on Egypt’s lost revolution.
      Egypt is worse, I mean media control.
      Have a look on these two articles posted by The Guardian:
      The first one is about the official ‘truth’ on Coptic Christians’ massacre by security forces last Sunday, it’s titled “Egypt’s rulers deny security forces caused Cairo bloodsheed”, by Jack Shenker, Wednesday 12 October 2011.
      >http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/12/egypt-rulers-denial-over-cairo-bloodshed
      The second one tells the truth with testimonies, how Egyptian media are under the control of the military junta, how the Egyptian military junta exacerbates religious tensions to ‘unite’ the Egyptian people in support of the military dictatorship (same logic: exacerbates tensions with Israel); the interactive article is titled “Egypt’s deadly night: what really happened”, posted Friday 14 October 2011 by Jack Shenker, Lisa Foreman and Paddy Allen.
      >http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/oct/14/egypt-christians-copts-cairo-demonstrations-interactive
      Great journalism, great work.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Deïr Yassin

      Out French ‘non-Zionist’ troll is back with a “look, it’s worse elsewhere”.
      First comment on the thread: on Egypt which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the content of Yuval’s article. He’s applying the first talking point in the Hasbara manual published by Franck Luntz and The Israel Project.

      Weinstein “feels the urge to alert 972 readers on Egypt’s lost revolution”. Yeah, we just waited for Weinstein and his insight to tell us what’s happening in Egypt, it’s not that any of us follow that closely ….elsewhere. “Lost revolution”, what a joke ! The Egyptians are in a revolutionary process what might take years, even decades, and nothing is lost yet, though the Zionists certainly hope so. They want obeying neighbours and the monopoly of being “The-Only-Democracy-In-The-Middle-East”, for propaganda matters as the one above.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Henry Weinstein

      Memo to my censor and slanderer (pen name: Deïr Yassin):
      To deny the Arab Spring and what happened in Tahrir Square was an inspiration for J14 movement in Israel is beyond sectarian blindness.
      To label ‘Hasbara material’ two great articles by The Guardian’s journalists deciphering the brutal and cynical tactics the Egyptian military junta employs to stay in power, pogroms on Copt Christians, sponsored attack on Israeli embassady, is beyond average human stupidity.
      To refuse to read testimonies made by Egyptian activists, Muslims and Copt Christians united in their struggle for democracy despite a media blackout, is to support the Egyptian military junta and its sectarian bloodshed tactics to suppress any pro-democracy protest.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Henry Weinstein

      To Ken Gadol
      *
      Ever wondered why DY is obsessed by ‘Weinstein’?
      Ever wondered which mental Naziness could explain her maniac pulsion to negate, wishing to annihilate, everything written by ‘Weinstein’ on 972?
      Ever wondered from which psychotic obssession her will to suppress the words of ‘Weinstein’ and to soil the name of ‘Weinstein’ came?
      *
      Ever wondered how far blind hatred, antisemitism can go?
      Think about this: DY knows I’m French, never been to Israel, DY knows my Mum is Catholic, all my living family is from France, Burgondy, DY knows my Dad was the only Jew in the family, that is to say the family of my Mum, but she hates ‘Weinstein’ so much I can only be the hatred object of her desire.
      *
      Ever wondered what is antisemitism?
      See DY’s comments on 972 about ‘Weinstein’.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Deïr Yassin

      @ Weinstein
      Yeah, I’ve understood that critique of your comments is slander to you. A little narcissistic, maybe ….
      You apparently didn’t get what I wrote, so once again: what has the brutal Egytian military junta and their control of the media, or the killing of the Coptic demonstrators to do with Yossi’s article: Nothing.
      And your opening “Talking about media… Egypt is worse” is typical Hasbara, as Yossi’s article didn’t mention Egypt at all.
      It’s not the articles that are Hasbara, it’s YOUR procedure, going off-topic in the first comment, and it’s one of the main Hasbara talking points that you share with Bosko for exemple: ‘look, it’s worse elsewhere’. I also clearly wrote that.

      ‘To refuse to read blahblahblah’: what do you know about what I read ? Do you think people who want to be informed about Egypt count on this blog who treats Israel and the Palestinian territories as indicated in the name of the site.

      http://www.facebook.com/ElShaheeed

      Reply to Comment
    6. Deïr Yassin

      TO THE MODERATORS
      I hope you’ll look at Weinstein’s comment Sunday, October 16 4:36.
      It shows that he’s suffering from some mental illness, and I’m fed up with the Nazi-accusations, here in “mental Naziness”.
      Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Henry Weinstein

      TO THE MODERATORS
      I will not stay silent. I will not shut up when a ‘Weinstein’ hater insults my name just like in the 1930-40s. No way. These days are over.
      I say: enough with Deïr Yassin’s cowardly calls to censorship. She’s always the first one to attack personally & insult more than personally, and then after that she demands total impunity.
      Delete the other!, ban the other!
      I don’t agree with this, I’m not a coward.
      All my life, being born in a non-Jew background I had to confront straight to face these hatred attacks.
      I’m not afraid.
      I’m against any censorship. I want justice and I trust only truth.
      I never asked what DY demands each time she meets some resistance.
      Simply it’s my duty to answer to haters like her. To fight back.
      My Dad told that.
      He could have changed his name after the war, but he refused to do that. And he emigrated in Burgundy, in the 1950s. With this name, Weinstein.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Deïr Yassin

      I don’t know if others can see the slightest link between Yossi’s article, Weinstein’s off-topic on the media in Egypt, Burgundy or Bretagne and his father…..I think only a shrink can understand that.
      As far as I’m concerned I don’t give a damn about Weinstein’s person, his name or his often repeated family history, maybe he should open his own blog so he could speak more about that AND his navel…..
      This blog is about ‘Israel and the Paletinian territories as I can read in the headline.

      Reply to Comment
    9. This must be the most stupid discussion I’ve ever read online. You two manage to write complete paragraphs to each other yet there isn’t any actual conversation taking place.

      And to be on-topic, here are a couple of pictures I took during the demonstration – one on the street, while the music was playing, and another one from the roof of Beit Ha’am (People’s House).

      Reply to Comment
    10. ars

      די עם החנפנות הזאת לחו”ל באנגלית מעפנה. תארזו כבר עם ארץ האמורי ותעברו לברלין בחייאת

      Reply to Comment