Israel / Occupied Palestine: On the Anti-Netanyahu Demonstrations

Statement of the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 01.08.2020, and

While initially consisting of a few dozen middle-aged and older protesters, staging quiet sit-ins near the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem in June and July, now the demonstrations swelled to many thousands of mostly young angry protesters. From the beginning the demonstrations have objected to Netanyahu’s remaining in office while standing trial for corruption. Now the many angry, hopeless, unemployed Israeli Jews object to Netanyahu’s mishandling of the coronavirus and the financial crisis. Several violent incidents have erupted over the past few weeks when the demonstrators have been attacked by the prime minister’s extreme right-wing supporters. (1) The evidence is that the police in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and near Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea (a beach town) have acted in support of Netanyahu’s supporters.

The Palestinians citizens of Israel are absent from these demonstrations. It is not because they would have to travel to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Watching these protests many of them take place at intersections not far from major Arab towns or villages. In other words, the protesters do not raise any demand that can attract the Palestinians citizens of Israel. The protesters want democracy but only for Jews. This is evidence by the many Zionist flags alongside black flags and the absent of any Palestinian flags or any Palestinian symbols.

Many of the Jewish protesters support Yahir Lipid’s party “Yesh Atid” that lately has announced that he is ready to form a coalition government with the Anti Arabs Avigdor Lieberman that is on the record for his plans of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians citizens of Israel and with the right-wing party of Benet’s “Yemina” (The right ). Some of them are supporters of Meretz, a left Zionist party, that has concluded that the best way to come to power is by disassociating itself from the Arabs. (2) In 2014, when Israel killed more than 2000 Palestinians in Gaza, Meretz condemned those few who opposed the massacres and were attacked by right wingers.

While these protests take place, the Israeli repression in the 1967 Occupied Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem, has increased. Israel continues to hamper efforts to combat the virus, making a severe crisis even worse. In Al-Khalil (Hebron) one of the hardest hit areas in Palestine by COVID-19 pandemic, the Israeli army once again destroyed a coronavirus testing clinic in July. Israel continues to jeopardize the lives of Palestinian prisoners, including children, who are being detained in its jails in this time of pandemic.

Yet the demonstrators do not protest in any form or shape this repression. Nor do they raise any demand against the capitalists or for the very poor in Israel including the ultra-religious Jews and a large part of the Arab population.

According to the polls while Netanyahu’s popularity is in decline the party led by Naftali Bennett is winning popularity. In Israel in general the Israeli youth tend to the right.

It is clear that the protest to large degree reflects the division in Israel between those who gained properties in the war of 1948 (The youth, children of those who gained property in 1948 – the Zionist left and center) who feel that they lose power, and those who gained from the war of 1967 and want more political power, who support the right wing parties and most of them do not participate in the protests and some of them even attack the protesters.

The situation brings to mind the white workers in South Africa that wanted democracy and even “socialism” only for whites.

For the above reasons the ISL have decided not to participate in these demonstrations.



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