Thousands of left-wing Israelis marching against the Israeli government, were greeted by enraged right-wing Israelis who apparently did not feel it was appropriate for any Israelis to publicly oppose their country’s policies toward Palestinians.
Following the leftist rally, dozens of rightists marched along Ibn Gvirol Street, one of Tel Aviv’s major thoroughfares, shouting at coffee shop goers: “Stinking Tel Avivians, get out of your bubble…While IDF soldiers are subjected to a lynching you remain indifferent – you’re traitors.”Several physical clashes were reported between protestors and residents. Some coffee shop goers responded to the rightist activists, telling them to “go to hell” and referring to them as far-rightists who should “go back to the hole they crawled out of.’
Earlier, rightists spotted left-wing activist Uri Avnery going into a taxicab on Ibn Gvirol Street and charged at him, attempting to wrest away the signs he was holding. Police officers at the scene intervened and rushed Avnery away from the scene.
The march is held every year to protest Israel’s 43-year-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This year, the government’s assault on the Gaza aid activists was also obviously on protesters’ minds. Max Blumenthal, who was there, has further details:
What made this year’s rally most distinct was the fact that it was virtually encircled by bands of right-wing fanatics, including many soccer thugs from the Israeli football club Betar Jerusalem. First, the thugs set off a smoke grenade in the middle of the rally (some participants wondered if the grenade would be real next year), then they assembled just outside Rabin Square to provoke demonstrators. Eventually, they spotted veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery and attacked him. I shot a few short videos that captured the atmosphere. And Noam Sheizaf has a good write-up at Promised Land.
This may seem counterintuitive, but I am struck by the fact that this protest is an annual event, and that it draws thousands of participants. Can you imagine thousands of liberal Jews marching in a major American city against the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and the United States’s military and economic support for it, even ONCE — much less every year?