peace now masquerade rally 311.
(photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
A week before Purim, Peace Now handed out dozens of masks depicting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a “satirical” demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night meant to protest what activists and speakers described as the government’s dangerous policies.
Billed as “Bibi and Barak’s Masquerade Carnival,” the demonstration was held to “reveal the real faces behind the masks, exposing that they are really enacting extreme right-wing policy,” according to Peace Now.
Waving signs reading “End the Occupation!” and “Bibi’s government: No vision, no peace, no future,” among others, hundreds of demonstrators from across the Left crowded Cinematheque Square on Carlebach Street, in a festive atmosphere complete with a five-piece band.
MK Nitzan Horovitz (Meretz), who addressed the crowd, told The Jerusalem Post
that he came to the rally to “protest the current government’s efforts to diminish democracy, something we are seeing in the attacks against activists and human rights groups.
”Beyond the issues of peace or civil justice, there is a real threat now to Israeli democracy,” he said.
When asked if there was any difference between Netanyahu and Barak, Horovitz said, “I don’t see any difference whatsoever; Barak’s own party doesn’t see any difference either.”
Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer told the rally that the time had come “to remove the masks from Netanyahu and Barak and tell the Israeli public that these are dangerous people leading dangerous politics taking us down a path of no return.”
Oppenheimer added that “our government is a government of stagnation, fraud, lies, and diplomatic isolation that has no intention whatsoever to advance peace or democracy.”
Meretz party head Haim Oron told the crowd that Netanyahu isn’t ready for peace, and bashed assertions that there is no Palestinian or Arab partner for a peace deal, saying, “We have a partner for peace in the Palestinian Authority but there is no Israeli partner for peace. Barak and Bibi are not partners for peace.”
New Israel Fund chairwoman and former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan spoke of attacks on human rights workers and left-wing activists, a common theme of the speakers on Saturday night.
Addressing her comments to the prime minister, Chazan said that “the government has declared war on human rights groups in Israel. They want a government only for them, without community activists, human rights workers or environmentalists. But there is no such thing as a democracy without these.”
Chazan said such actions “are endangering the Zionist project.
“Mr. Netanyahu, have you asked yourself, will I be the last democratic prime minister in Israel?” she said.
rally came to a close with a performance by the Jaffa-based group
System Ali, which rapped in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English as the
protesters drifted off into the Tel Aviv night.