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Thousands of Palestinians and Jews protest gov't racism in Tel Aviv

Over 5,000 people marched in Tel Aviv in one of the largest Arab-Jewish demonstrations the city has seen in years.

Members of Knesset lead a demonstration in Tel Aviv, attended by thousands of Arabs and Jews, against home demolitions and for equality. (Members of Knesset lead a demonstration in Tel Aviv, attended by thousands of Arabs and Jews, against home demolitions and for equality, February 4, 2017. (Tohar Lev Jacobson)

Members of Knesset lead a demonstration in Tel Aviv, attended by thousands of Arabs and Jews, against home demolitions and for equality. (Members of Knesset lead a demonstration in Tel Aviv, attended by thousands of Arabs and Jews, against home demolitions and for equality, February 4, 2017. (Tohar Lev Jacobson)

Over 5,000 Arab and Jewish demonstrators from across the country marched together on Saturday night in Tel Aviv against home demolitions and in support of equality for all. The demonstrators called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to step down, after months of incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The demonstration was organized by a large coalition of organizations and political parties, including “Standing Together,” Hadash, Meretz, “Yad B’Yad,” “Sikuy,” and others, was the largest Arab-Jewish protest Tel Aviv had seen in years. The protesters marched along King George St. while chanting slogans such “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” until they reached Dizengoff St., where they held a large rally. Among the speakers were Joint List head Ayman Odeh and Meretz MK Michal Rozin. Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon and representatives of the Zionist Union, who were supposed to attend, were absent.

Thousands of Palestinians and Jews march in Tel Aviv against home demolitions and in support of equality for all, February 4, 2017. (Tohar Lev Jacobson)

Thousands of Palestinians and Jews march in Tel Aviv against home demolitions and in support of equality for all, February 4, 2017. (Tohar Lev Jacobson)

Dr. Amal Abu Sa’ad, the widow of Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an, who was shot and killed by police in the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran last month. Abu Sa’ad spoke about her husband’s death at the hands of the police, about the struggle to force the state to release his body and clear his name of all wrongdoing, as well as the tragic death of Erez Levy, the police officer who was also killed in the clashes in Umm el-Hiran. “It is important for me to send a message to the prime minister and his cabinet: despite your incitement, racism, and discrimination in legislation, enforcement, infrastructure, and government services — you will not be able to divide the citizens of this country.” Abu Sa’ad also called to establish a government commission to investigate the events at Umm el-Hiran. “Let us make this place worth living in, out of respect for Yacoub and Erez.”

Dr. Amal Abu Sa'ad, whose husband was killed by Israeli police last month, speaks to thousands of demonstrators in Tel Aviv, February 4, 2017. (Tohar Lev Jacobson)

Dr. Amal Abu Sa’ad, whose husband was killed by Israeli police last month, speaks to thousands of demonstrators in Tel Aviv, February 4, 2017. (Tohar Lev Jacobson)

Odeh, who spoke next, reiterated his call from a year ago to build an Arab-Jewish democratic camp that would oppose both the Right and the Zionist Left, that would call for full equality and democracy. Dr. Meir Buzaglo, a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the Hebrew University, invoked the shared history of Jews and Muslims in Morocco to promote coexistence in Israel, while Bar Itamari and Fatima Yahiye, two students from the bilingual Arab-Jewish school, Hand-in-Hand — Bridge over the Wadi, described both the challenge and privilege of studying together.

Thousands of Palestinians and Jews march in Tel Aviv against home demolitions and in support of equality for all, February 4, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Thousands of Palestinians and Jews march in Tel Aviv against home demolitions and in support of equality for all, February 4, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Muhammad Barakeh, who heads the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, called on the demonstrators to come back to Tel Aviv this month for another demonstration, warning against the growing partnership between the Netanyahu government and fascist parties in Europe and the United States. MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) added that it is “infuriating to see Netanyahu copy the anti-Semites in Europe. In Europe the supporters of the Tsar said ‘strike the Jews and save Russia.’ The prime minister says ‘strike the Arabs and save Netanyahu.'”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. carmen

      “It is important for me to send a message to the prime minister and his cabinet: despite your incitement, racism, and discrimination in legislation, enforcement, infrastructure, and government services — you will not be able to divide the citizens of this country.” Dr. Abul Sa’ad.

      I pray this is just the beginning and ‘from small beginnings come great things’.

      Reply to Comment
      • Toni

        Peace and justice we’ll prevail. Never give up our time we’ll cone

        Reply to Comment
    2. Shaharyar

      Heyy..if they get together then how the politicians across a large number of countries will eat their bread and butter?
      Polarization is a must for these politicians to bake their bread on dead bodies of poor innocent common man.(sarcasm)

      Reply to Comment
    3. i_like_ike52

      I am trying to recall how many comparable demonstrations were held in Tel Aviv, or in the rest of the Western world for that matter, protesting the slaughter going on in Syria, with its hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugee. Such as demonstration could have been made against the Russians, or the Iranians or the Gulf States which are all feeding the killing machine. It seems to me that in the last FIVE years, there was ONE demonstration in Tel Aviv. I don’t recall any in the big cities in the West (London, Paris, New York, etc) where Muslims are free to demonstrate.
      All of this leads me to the conclusion that this demonstration on Tel Aviv really doesn’t have anything to do with “human rights” which doesn’t really seem to concern all these “progressive” demonstrators, but rather with a nice chance to bash Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        I find myself using the word “bullshit” more and more in regards to some of the comments here. (It has a respectable academic pedigree now, is not mere profanity.) “It seems to me….” Nonsense. This is what is called observer and selection bias. You way under-attend to the demonstrations you want to minimize and way over-attend to the demonstrations you want to maximize. As if the main problem is that the Palestinians are paid too much attention rather than too little. Bullshit. The Israelis ignore the Palestinians. The world ignores the problem for the most part. A few scattered brave demonstrators is not some anti-Semitic “Israel-bashing” plot. And this offering here contains the very odd idea that Israelis concerning themselves with events inside their own country and directly concerning themselves, more often than events outside their own country, is suspicious. It’s as if Americans protesting Trump’s immigration ban at airports are at fault because they did not stage an equal number of demonstrations about events inside Syria. And this repetitive propaganda device of yours also turns on ignoring the fact that the occupation issue is much more clear cut and understandable than the rapidly evolving and confusing events in Syria. Your one-man mission to paint the occupation as a tiny, tiny matter, and a mere figment of hypocritical progressives any which way you can, is in my opinion a bust.

        Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          I am going to add your explanation for the lack of “progressive” interest in the massive violations of human rights, hundreds of thousands dead and millions of refugees as being due to the situation being “confusing” to the hypocritical list of excuses why “progressives” don’t show any real interest in real human suffering. Others are “there are too many problems in the world, I don’t have time for the Syrians, I am going to focus on the Palestinians instead”, or “Assad is a ‘progressive’, socialist, anti-Zionist so we can’t criticize him”, or my favorite from Brant Rosen when asked why he favors boycotting Israel but not those who are feeding the killing machine in Syria (i.e. the Russians, Iranians, Gulf States, etc) when he said “the Palestinian people have asked me to boycott Israel, but the Syrian “people” have not asked me to boycott the enablers of the Syrian horror, and far be it from me to tell them what to do” (when did he ever ask them?).

          Bottom line: these “progressives” don’t give a hoot about human rights. They are motivated purely by politics. They hate Trump so they suddenly discover the Syrian refugees, but they overlooked Obama’s giving wads of cash to the Iranians who use it to kill Syrians because they like Obama. Simply hypocrisy.

          Reply to Comment

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