For me, this was the most exciting news all week. The Magnes Zionist describes the scene:
Around five thousand demonstrators protested the eviction of Arab families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and the settlement there of rightwing Jewish extremists. It was the largest Sheikh Jarrah protest and the largest joint Israeli-Palestinian protest so far.
The protest was composed of an interesting mix – Jewish leftwing activists, mostly (but not entirely) young; the Zionist left Meretz-Peace Now crowd, mostly (and entirely) old; Israeli Palestinian activists, and representatives of the evicted families. There were Israeli singers and a Palestinian hip-hop group from Shuafat. Many of the speeches were given in Arabic, both Jerusalem colloquial and standard, and judging from the crowd, more of the younger Israeli Jewish activists understood the speeches than the older generation. The “drummers” and the clowns were there in full force – these are activists who play the drum and dress up as clowns in an attempt both to lighten up the protest, and to drive home the point of non-violent protest.
Sara Benninga’s speech at the protest, “There is a New Left in Town,” is well worth reading in whole (it’s not very long). But here’s a bit of it:
[The New Left] is a partnership between Palestinians, who understand the occupation will not be defeated by missiles and bombs, and Israelis, who understand that the Palestinian struggle is their struggle.
The new Left joins hands with Palestinians in a cloud of tear gas at Bil’in and gets beaten up together with them by settlers at the South Hebron Mountain.
This Left stands by refugees and labor migrants in Tel Aviv and fights against the Wisconsin Plan.
The new Left is us — all of us!
Everyone who came here tonight. Everyone who dared cross the imaginary line between West and East Jerusalem, despite the threats and intimidation.
We are all the new Left that is emerging in Israel and Palestine.
We are not fighting for a peace agreement. We are fighting for justice. But we believe that injustice is the main obstacle to peace.
Rabbi Brian attended the protest and reports: 5,000 Protest in Sheikh Jarah