Israelis protest Turkey, flotilla

"We came with paint guns and got lynched," say protesters.

June 1, 2010 23:24
2 minute read.
Israeli students hold a demonstration in support o

pro idf protest 311. (photo credit: Gilad Cohen)


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Several protests condemning the violent attacks on Navy commandos by activists on board the Gaza flotilla and expressing support for the Navy were held at Israeli university campuses and highway intersections on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, around 500 protesters waving Israeli flags demonstrated outside of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv. Protesters chanted slogans in support of the IDF and held up signs which equated the Turkish government with Hamas.

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Passing drivers honked in support as protesters called on Israeli tourists to boycott Turkey. One placard mocked advertisements for package vacations to Turkey and carried the message, "Turkey - all inclusive: Firearms, knives, hate and blood!"

Other signs read,  "Free Kurdistan," "Who is responsible for the Armenian genocide," and, "Since when [do] human rights activists carry weapons??"

On Tuesday, around 1,000 students protested at the Ben Gurion University in Beersheva. "We came with paint guns and got lynched," read one sign. Hundreds of students held similar protests at Haifa University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Im Tirtzu organization helped organize a number of the campus protests, but said other events were spontaneously organized by members of the public. "We are leading some of the events but many are spontaneous," said Ronen Shuval, chairman of Im Tirtzu.

"Turkey is no longer the fair intermediary in the peace process it was in the past, but a hostile state. We are protesting the hypocrisy of Turkey, which is repressing the Kurds and is responsible for the Armenian genocide, but preaches to us," Shoval said.

"We are expressing support for the IDF and the state of Israel," he added. "And we are protesting the false descriptions of terrorists as 'peace activists,'" he added. "Violent terrorists have learned that the battleground has shifted from bombings to the media arena. Turkey's support for this is scandalous."

Ronen said he was surprised by the numbers of students who participated at the Ben Gurion University protest. "This is usually the most apathetic and apolitical campus in the country. I am getting so many calls. The public's response has been big," he added.

On Wednesday, a demonstration is planned for Tel Aviv University, and a second protest outside of the Turkish embassy is planned for Thursday, Ronen said.

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