Over 1,000 Israelis March in First Significant Protest Against War with Iran


Last week, when graphic designers Ronny Edry and Michal Tamir decided to counter the war drums beating in Israel with a simple message of peace to the people of Iran, little did they know it would create a viral Facebook initiative which would help to inspire a massive anti-war rally in Tel Aviv.

Protesters hold a sign that reads "Israelis Against the War" at a large anti-war rally in Tel Aviv on March 24.

On Saturday night, this is precisely what happened, as Israelis flooded Habima Square in Tel Aviv to protest the elevated war rhetoric coming from their leaders and to stand squarely against the hypothetical bombing of Iran.
It’s not difficult to trace much of the momentum for Saturday night’s rally back to the married duo of Edry and Tamir, who last week created images of themselves with the superimposed message, “‘Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We ♥ You.'”
Their images inspired countless Israelis to post their own Facebook versions, which in turn inspired Iranians to do the same, creating a virtual, imagistic message of love cycling between the two peoples. That message also helped to inspire Israeli activists – many of whom were involved with this summer’s social justice protest movement (J14) – to organize the county’s first significant anti-war rally concerning Iran.

Public opinion in Israel is squarely against the idea of an Israeli attack against Iran, something that protest organizers were quick to point out in promotional messages leading up to the rally. Organizers also made a point of arguing that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s war rhetoric and preparations were simply intentional diversions meant to distract citizens from the country’s pressing social and economic problems:

[W]e will not agree to an irresponsible Israeli attack in Iran, leading to a war with an unknown end-date and casualty count….The billions that this war will cost will be paid by us – in health, education, housing – and in blood.

An elderly Israeli holds a sign that says, "95, believing in and demanding peace."

While a plurality of Israelis are not in favor of military engagement with Iran, the scene on Saturday night in Tel Aviv was, for the most part, a decidedly leftist one – a melding of social justice activists and those from Hadash (the Jewish-Arab party).

Protesters among the approximately 1,000 who flooded Tel Aviv.

Protesters with a sign that reads "Bibi Don't Bomb Iran."

Where this anti-war momentum will lead remains to be seen. However, at the very least, the reverberating drums of war being pounded upon by Israel’s leaders are now being accompanied by discordant and oppositional vocals.
Follow the author on Twitter @David_EHG

0 thoughts on “Over 1,000 Israelis March in First Significant Protest Against War with Iran

  1. I, along with many US and Israeli military and security experts, and probably a majority of Americans and Israelis, believe that attacking Iran would convert a potential catastrophe into a definite one, with today’s worldwide fragile economy turning into a severe recession or depression, as oil prices surge, with Israel being bombarded with missiles, with a sharp increase in terrorism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, with the potential of a widespread war, costing much money and many lives, and with Iran’s nuclear potential set back possibly by only a few years and with Iran more determined than ever to gain a nuclear weapon.
    Iran must recognize that their use of a nuclear weapon would be suicidal, with Iran devastated for many years. Also, Iran should be convinced they could gain economically and in other ways by cooperation rather than confrontation. Instead of wasting lives and money by an attack on Iran, there should be a global Marshall-type plan, led by the US, Israel, and other developed nations, to help sharply reduce poverty, hunger, illiteracy, illness, pollution, and other societal ills.

  2. Richard, I have heard several calls for a global Marshal Program lead by the US. When the Marshall Plan was enacted, the US was the only power undamaged for war and flush with money. That is not the case today. The US and Europe are struggling to meet the needs of their own China and the oil producing are the ones flush with money. I do not understand why no one can comprehend this.
    As for Iran, I am in favor of choking that country until they finally open up those secret nuclear facilities. The fear of nuclear weapons getting in the wrong hands is real. That said, an attack on they facilities should be a last resort, but not of the table all together.

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