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Massive Tel Aviv protest sees Palestinians and Jews in solidarity against nation-state law

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Tens of thousands of protesters, both Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel, took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest the country’s widely condemned “Nation State Law.”

Passed last month, the law officially declared Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and, among other things, made Hebrew the singular national language. The move was applauded by Israel’s right-wing government, which praised it as finally affirming the “Jewish character” of Israel.

Critics, local and international, however, have criticized the law, saying it turned Israel’s nearly 2 million non-Jewish citizens — both Palestinians and other minorities — into second-class citizens, by prioritizing Israel as a Jewish state over a democratic one.

About 30,000 protesters gathered in the Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and marched through the streets of the city towards the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where the main rally, entitled “Abolish Nation-state Law – Yes to Equality,” took place.

Protesters called for the cancellation of the law and held signs calling on people to fight against apartheid.

Many activists and journalists tweeting about the protests commented that it was possibly the largest display of protests and solidarity between Israelis and Palestinians in Israel’s history.

Photos of the massive crowds showed people flying Israeli, Palestinian, and Druze flags, despite several reports saying that the protest organizers — The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee — specifically requested that flags not be flown, seemingly to appease liberal Zionists who threatened to boycott the protest if Palestinian flags were featured.

Nevertheless, many of the demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, while some chanted popular national slogans, including “With spirit, with blood we shall redeem you, Palestine!”

On his personal Twitter account, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a video of said protesters, saying “There is no better evidence of the necessity of the nationality law.”

Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel, who was at the protest, told Mondoweiss that the show of Palestinian symbols at the protest was “extremely powerful.”

Jafir Farah at march in Tel Aviv against nation state law. Photo by Yumna Patel

“To take our Palestinian flag and symbols to Tel Aviv and tell the Jewish population what we think of this legislation, and to tell them that we will not accept second class citizenship, it was a powerful feeling,” Farah said.

“It was the first time that the Palestinian community moved in buses from our towns and villages to the middle of a Jewish center, Tel Aviv, to challenge the public discourse in Israel,” he told Mondoweiss.

When asked about Netanyahu’s and the Israeli response to the Palestinian flags and chants at the march, Farah said he was happy that it got the attention of the PM.

“The fact that Bibi was talking about it is a success in itself,” he said, highlighting the importance of creating a discourse in Israeli society, and getting Israelis to talk about and acknowledge Palestinian symbols, heritage, and history.

“We came with the Palestinian flag to say we are Palestinians, this country is our country, and if you like it or not, the future of this country will take into consideration that Palestine is not only about the occupied territories.”

Farah stressed to Mondoweiss that the symbols of the state is one of the core issues outlined in the Nation State law, which say that the state’s symbols are the Israeli flag, and that the name of the state will be called Israel, and nothing else.

“The marginalization of the Palestinian community, which has been happening since 1948, is also taking place through this designation of the symbols of the state,” Farah said, when asked why it was so important for Palestinians to raise their flags and wear kuffiyehs at the march.

“What we can offer to the Jewish population is peace based on reconciliation and truth, not peace based on separation,” Farah told Mondoweiss.

“The peace that has been offered to us has excluded and separated us. This is not peace. We are here, we are Palestinians, and we are not planning to go away.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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22 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan on August 12, 2018, 4:51 pm

    Half of the people are Palestinian. Zionism works by scaring the shit out of Jews so they hate Palestinians. It is such a miserable cult.

    • inbound39 on August 12, 2018, 8:18 pm

      The scary part is Israeli’s deem it okay to mirror their abusers,WW2 Germany. This tells us it is trouble and miserable.

  2. Nathan on August 12, 2018, 9:12 pm

    “Critics, local and international, however, have criticized the law, saying it turned Israel’s nearly 2 million non-Jewish citizens… into second-class citizens, by prioritizing Israel as a Jewish state over a democratic one”.

    Let’s accept this criticism as accurate and convincing. If the new law enacted just two weeks ago turned the non-Jewish citizens into second-class citizens, then quite ironically this can only mean that before the passing of the law the non-Jewish citizens were not second-class citizens. This is quite surprising that a Mondoweiss article would contradict one of the classic grievances against Israel. I would imagine that if the law is eventually nullified (it has yet to pass the High Court), then we shall be informed that the non-Jewish citizens of Israel have succeeded in restoring their former first-class status. All praise to Mondoweiss for bringing to our attention that the “critics, local and international,” accept the status quo ante as legitimate.

    • echinococcus on August 13, 2018, 12:22 am

      It’s a bit sad that the Zionist propaganda robot ‘Nathan’ should write the most correct response to those among the bleatings about the Official Apartheid Law that somehow justify the pre-47 + pre-67 + pre-2018 state, and these are many (next, of course, to those who express fury at invasion and Apartheid from the start –not sure the latter are a majority.)

      The “protesting” “critics” are really furious because their little game of open complicity with the Azrael state is suddenly without any plausible pretext. If any status quo ante is to be sought, it must be pre-1947 at least!

    • Brewer on August 13, 2018, 4:15 am

      Not the brightest light bulb in the tray are we Nathan.
      There is no contradiction involved in first alleging Israeli racism exists unofficially then condemning it when it is made official.
      Where’s yo’ head boy?
      I am often given to wondering if the entire ugly edifice of Zionism devolves from an ideology so primitive as to preclude logic.

      • catalan on August 13, 2018, 8:51 am

        “Not the brightest light bulb in the tray are we Nathan.” Brewer
        Nothing like starting with an insult to convince your opponent and the nameless “neutrals”reading this. How the low assessment of Nathan’s intellectual abilities helps the Palestinian cause has forever been a mystery to me. Note that though dumb, the man reads Arabic.

      • Marnie on August 13, 2018, 12:00 pm

        @Brewer – your wondering about the ‘entire ugly edifice of Zionism’ is brilliant.

      • Brewer on August 13, 2018, 2:28 pm

        As insults go, that one is affectionately mild. It was favoured by one of my own teachers – been leveled at me many times. It certainly does not convey the profound disgust I feel when confronted with such primitive sophistry. That would take a lengthy dissertation elucidating the real target of my post, the logic-defying racism rooted in the primaeval tribalism so clearly displayed by Zionist thought in the past and now writ large in Israeli Law.
        Marnie was able to grasp that in a trice.
        Furthermore, as insults go, it is surely eclipsed by “though dumb, the man reads Arabic.”
        As you contemplate the “mystery” you alone found in my post you might try to unravel what in blazes you meant to convey by such a risible non-sequitur.

      • amigo on August 13, 2018, 3:21 pm

        “Nothing like starting with an insult to convince your opponent and the nameless “neutrals”reading this. ” catalan.

        Aren,t you the same catalan who referred to his fellow workers and neighbours in New Mexico as !!!,

        ” Americans are spoilt , over fed and useless at maths and generally uneducated”.

        You are in no position to lecture others about good manners.

      • RoHa on August 14, 2018, 12:30 am

        Brewer, off topic, but is that a picture of Ibn Sina?

        (Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī ibn Sīnā – أبو علي الحسين بن عبد الله بن الحسن بن علي بن سينا).

        One of the most brilliant people of all time. Read every major philosopher by the time he was seventeen, and only had a bit of trouble with Aristotle’s work because he was first tried to interpret it as Neo-Platonism. (Al-Farabi’s commentary helped with that.)

        Wrote a textbook on medicine that became standard throughout Europe for centuries. Wrote major works on Philosophy, Science and Scientific Method, Logic, Mathematics, Psychology, etc.
        Invented steam distillation.
        Wrote poetry.

        Said that love was a form of insanity, and the best cure was for the lovers to marry each other.

        A truly admirable character, and one of whose genius I am not the slightest bit jealous. Not at all. No, sir, not a flicker of jealousy.

        I have nothing but admiration for that Persian bloody smartarse.

      • Brewer on August 14, 2018, 1:31 am

        That be the fella!
        But don’t forget it was an Israeli who invented the cherry tomato (well pinched it off an Italian if truth be told).

      • Maghlawatan on August 14, 2018, 4:39 pm

        Zionism is groupthink which means there is zero logic to it. Zionists are sheep. It is the only way to make so many comfortable with mass murder.

      • RoHa on August 15, 2018, 1:30 am

        Yes, the cherry tomato puts everyone else’s achievements in the shade.

    • Talkback on August 13, 2018, 5:11 am

      There’s a difference between “de facto” and “de jure” discrimination. The latter means that the discrimination is based on and justified by law.

      • echinococcus on August 13, 2018, 8:46 am


        It’s been de jure since the start of the Zionist entity: the legal apparatus of over 60 statutory dispositions discriminating between the Master Race and the Inferior Races have always been on the books and they are what counts.

        What is new is a summary statement that makes it impossible to pretend ignoring the fact.

    • Maghlawatan on August 13, 2018, 6:37 am

      Palestinians have always been second class and Israel is on the road to fascism. Where does the Torah approve of fascism?

      • echinococcus on August 13, 2018, 8:29 am

        Where does the Torah approve of fascism?

        Obviously you’ve never even set eyes on it. All across the Pentateuch “Oriental” despotism, war of aggression, tribalism, hypernationalism, unapologetic international lawlessness and genocide, ie all of the required characteristics of fascism, are not only recommended but mandated by Heaven. Those who approve of religion have my sympathy but you can’t pretend to ignore what’s written black on white.

    • druid on August 13, 2018, 11:54 am

      Debating an arcane Talmudic law, are we, idiot Nathan?!

    • eljay on August 13, 2018, 12:38 pm

      || Nathan: … Let’s accept this criticism as accurate and convincing. … ||

      I’m willing to accept that what “critics, local and international” meant to say is that the law very publicly confirmed the second-class-citizen status of Israel’s nearly 2 million non-Jewish citizens by prioritizing Israel as a Jewish state over a democratic one.

    • genesto on August 13, 2018, 12:52 pm

      Your ‘logic’ is deeply flawed, Nathan. All that has happened is that what was always de facto has now become de jure. No contradiction there at all.

  3. Maghlawatan on August 13, 2018, 3:33 pm

    20% of Israelis are Palestinian. It would only take another 31% for a rational majority. The sad thing is that 31% does not exist. Instead there is a deluded majority of Russians,settlers, Orthodox and ultra Orthodox.

  4. Maghlawatan on August 13, 2018, 3:38 pm

    Peter Beinart was detained by Israeli insecurity per haaretz. The bots really are losing the plot.

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