Protest Recap: Leading the Charge

Dear Friend,

Last night we represented Americans for Peace Now at a large demonstration outside the Grand Hyatt in downtown Washington DC, where Bezalel Smotrich, the racist, ultra-nationalist Israeli minister, was the keynote speaker at an Israel Bonds gathering.

The protest, together with our Progressive Israel Network (PIN) partners and with an organization of Israeli expatriates, attracted some 500 people. We waved our Shalom flags and Israel flags, in solidarity of the protest movement in Israel, as well as signs condemning Smotrich for his extremist policies and statements, including his call to “wipe out” an entire West Bank Palestinian village. The large crowd chanted in support of democracy and peace in both English and Hebrew. 

Media coverage was unprecedented: ABC, The Forward, JTA, Israel TV Channel 11, Channel 12, the Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, Ynet, Haaretz, Arutz 7; Al-Jazeera, Al-Monitor, the New Arab, and more coverage expected today.

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We were gratified to hear from participants that, like us, they see the strong link between the Occupation and the Israeli government’s assault on democracy. Several protestors told us that although they never imagined speaking out so openly and vociferously against Israeli government officials, the situation in Israel is so dire that they felt compelled to do so. One of them said that the Occupation “is rotting Israel from the inside out.” Smotrich, they said, was a symbol of that rot. As much as the participants were there to protest Smotrich, they were also there to push back against the policies of the government he represents. 

In his speech addressing the crowd, Ori said: “More than we’re here in opposition to Smotrich‘s dark vision of Israel, we’re here in support of our vision for a democratic progressive Israel that pursues peace and justice.”

APN has been leading the protest in Washington against the anti-democratic anti-peace policies and practices of the current Israeli government since it took office in January. We will continue to do so.

Thank you,

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