A rally was held this evening protesting the arrival of the US envoys in Israel. Members of National Union, Likud and Israel Beiteinu led the crowd, which included Kahanists wearing t-shirts saying “Kahane was right,” referring to Meir Kahane’s ideology of violence against all who stand in the way of the constant expansion of Jewish territory.
The people that attended the rally think that occupying another people and chanting racist slurs at the first black president of the United States (who was elected by a majority of American Jews who support him) is their expression of freedom and democracy. As a humanist and a pragmatist, it can feel very uneasy and unsafe in this country.
While the people opposing settlement expansion get no coverage in the media, those supporting it get plenty. As we were filming the event numerous people asked us detailed questions about where we are from and what we planned on doing with the footage. It was striking that MK Michael Ari made a special point to thank Arutz Sheva, the Israel National News. The coverage they put out is fine, but our attempt to show the world their racism is definitely a no-no. Their relative self-awareness added a new layer to our understanding of settler insanity.
Most people we talked to did not hesitate to attack Obama and his administration, of which many are Jews themselves. The general atmosphere of the rally was that Obama is a Muslim and a racist who denies the Jewish people their right to control the Land of Israel. When asked about American aid to Israel, most replied that this was a separate issue.
Rightwing settler groups and political parties held a rally welcoming American envoys to Israel for high level peace talks. The rally was attended by over 1500 people and addressed by members of the Israeli Knesset. Obama has serious work to do.