To make the protests more “mainstream,” protest organizers are ceasing mention of the occupation and Palestinian grievances.
After 23 weeks of anti-government demonstrations, Israel has entered a reflective time during which its citizens are debating the nature of the nation they call home.
Israeli Jews, that is. Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent are conspicuously absent, as is any reference to the occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, or East Jerusalem.
The 55-year occupation is sometimes referred to by left-leaning Israelis as “the elephant in the room” since it is a topic that raises uncomfortable concerns about Israel.
The absence of mention of the spate of homicides in their villages further alienates Palestinian civilians from the demonstrations.
Between January and June 2023, 102 Palestinian citizens—including women and young children—were killed across Israel, and the police have been unable to stop it, or, as many claims, are not inclined to do so.
Meanwhile, Palestinian people are not asked to address the protestors or, worse, are only permitted to speak if they promise not to mention the occupation, all while protest organisers attempt to portray the protests as reflective of mainstream Israeli society.
This reached a peak two weeks ago when the protest coordinators chose to commemorate what is known in Israel as “the liberation of Jerusalem and the unification of the city” – the occupation of the eastern neighborhoods of the city in 1967.
The graduates and reservists of the paratrooper units that overran the Old City 55 years ago participated in a ceremony at the Western Wall plaza in East Jerusalem, which is below Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Protesters were invited to attend.
Despite this, leaders of the protests have publicly criticized Palestinians for not taking part in the demonstrations every Saturday night, either as individuals or as organized groups. Additionally, the media has quickly embraced this refrain.
‘Rooted in Zionist ideology’
Danny Danieli, the owner of a consulting firm and a Jerusalem resident, has been actively protesting for five years, first against corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and now against judicial reform.
Danieli is also one of several Israeli activists who travel weekly with Palestinian pastoralists in the Jordan Valley to protect them from violence by Jewish settlers who try to displace them from their pastures. Are known.
Every Saturday night, Danieli appears in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square, where the protests begin, and marches down Kaplan Street with a group recognizable by the banners she’s hoisted.
“Look into the crew’s eyes.”
According to Danieli, the organizers’ desire to appear “mainstream” and reach as many people as possible is the reason why protests are overflowing with Israeli flags but not Palestinian ones.
He asserts that the majority of Israelis do not want to hear about Palestinians, the occupation, or anything else associated with them.
He tells reporters, “This is a protest that is very much rooted in Zionist ideology, and there is no place to refer to the occupation issue because the main goal is to attract even soft right-wing people, for whom the presence of Israelis in the West Bank is not even considered an occupation.”
Although a small number of Palestinian citizens have attempted to explain their position in opinion pieces published in Israeli media, particularly Haaretz, this has had little effect.