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August 7, 2014

Reflecting on Israeli Society During the Conflict: The Best and the Worst

With Israel scaling down its operations in Gaza and a ceasefire beginning to hold, Israeli society will now reflect on the last four weeks. Out of this frightening and tense period, one source of inspiration and optimism has been the sense of solidarity and closeness felt by Israelis.

Across the country, people of every age and political affiliation clamored to help and “do something.” Israelis mobilized to show support for the IDF soldiers serving on the front – people sent food, care packages, supplies – even washed uniforms.  Others offered to host residents of the south who left their homes for fear of the unending fall of rockets and blare of warning sirens. Thousands went to funerals and shivas for the fallen soldiers – particularly those of the “lone” soldiers – whose families live outside Israel. Mass prayer vigils were held.

Funeral of IDF Soldier Max Steinberg

Funeral of IDF Soldier Max Steinberg

But while we can celebrate in this widespread feeling of unity and generosity, we cannot deny that other, troubling tendencies also emerged over these past weeks.

Some who publicly disagreed with Israel’s military operation were called “traitors” and in some cases, even “Nazis.” Some protesting the conflict were physically attacked. Tensions with Israeli Arabs have grown. Many were outraged by reports of some groups of Israeli Arabs who celebrated in the killing of IDF soldiers. This hostility intensified in both speech and action, and there were reports of isolated vigilante attacks on Israeli Arab targets. Indeed, when an East Jerusalem Palestinian attacked a Jerusalem city bus with a construction vehicle, killing one, out of concern for their physical safety of Arabs in the vicinity, police quickly moved to ensure their safety.

As we begin to think about “the day after,” Israelis must think about how to harness the positive while reducing the negative. We must figure out how to build on the sense of unity and generosity while still valuing the exchange of different viewpoints, and ensuring that respectful discourse thrives.

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November 21, 2012

“Netanyahu, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide!”: A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S. on November 20

At least ten rallies were held on Tuesday to protest Israel’s operations in Gaza to thwart rocket attacks that target Israeli civilians. Below is a sampling of yesterday’s anti-Israel protests:

Atlanta, GA

A rally was organized by a group called “In Solidarity With Gaza” that drew approximately 150 people. Demonstrators chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,”  “Free, Free Palestine. Long live Palestine!” and “From the beach to the water, Israel is responsible for slaughter!”

A number of protesters held signs that used inflammatory rhetoric, including “Israel, the new Nazis,” “Stop the genocide in Gaza!” “Stop the genocide. Save the children!” and a sign that had a Star of David with a swastika drawn in the center of it. Some of the protesters also used chalk to write messages on the sidewalk near the demonstration, including “Fuck Zionism,” “Arab Holocaust” and “No To Genocide.”

Birmingham, AL

Approximately 30 students on campus got together for an “emergency rally” for Gaza, according to the University of Alabama, Birmingham’s campus newspaper. Students chanted “Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry, Palestine will never die,” “Netanyahu, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

The student newspaper also showed photographs of students holding signs that read, “Gaza, declared by UN, as world’s largest open-air prison” and “U.S. Tax $$ funds ethnic cleansing, APARTHEID, and human rights violations.”

Boston, MA

Approximately 1,000 people rallied in Copley Square at a demonstration organized by the Northeastern University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The demonstrators held signs that said “65+ years of Israeli colonization and ethnic cleansing,” “End Israeli apartheid,” We say NO to Israel’s war crimes,” “US: Stop support for murderous, apartheid Israel. Save the people of Gaza!” and “The massacre goes on! Gaza needs your voice NOW.”

For infor­ma­tion about other anti-Israel protests that have taken place since the start of Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense, please see these pre­vi­ous posts:

“End the Nazi Occupation in Gaza”: A Round-Up of U.S. Anti-Israel Protests on November 19

“Israel should be Ended Once and For All,” “Cru­cify Him, Cru­cify Them…Israel’s Pol­icy:” A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S., Novem­ber 17–18

Demon­stra­tors at Anti-Israel Ral­lies: “Gaza is the Real Holo­caust,” “Long live the Intifada!”

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