Asking demonstrators at Saturday’s so-called “protest for equality” not to wave Palestinian flags was a reasonable request, to be sure. Palestine is there, on the mountain, where demonstrators believe a Palestinian state free of both a collective and individual Jewish presence should be established. Israel is here, in the place where protest organizers believe a binational state should be established, one that will peacefully exist alongside that Palestinian nation-state on the mountain. Demonstrators could have sufficed with agreeing to erase the Star of David from the Israeli flag. Discussions as to what exact color the remaining stripes should be could have been held off for a later date.
It would have been nearly impossible to bury one’s head in the concrete of Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and misunderstand what Saturday’s demonstration was really about. The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, which organized the demonstration, called for the nation-state law to be struck down. From their standpoint, this is the right thing to do.
The Knesset’s enactment of the nation-state law, which specifies that the Jewish people have exclusive rights to self-determination in the State of Israel, was a decisive victory against the will of the vast majority in the Middle East and a noisy minority in Israel. While negotiations over the future of other parts of the land of Israel are still ongoing, protest organizers have another vision for “Little Israel,” that is, Israel within the 1967 borders.
The nation-state law puts their vision of a binational state with equality of collective rights for all forever on hold. These demands, published in detail over a decade ago, were a bitter pill to swallow in Hebrew. It is certainly unpleasant to hear your neighbors say they do not recognize your right to self-determination in your own country. But this is much more pleasant to the ears in Arabic.
I’ve thought about the Jews who joined the demonstration. Like those who joined the Tel Aviv-based trend of voting for the Joint Arab List on the eve of the elections, these people could be divided into two groups: an ideological minority that consciously rejects the existence of a Zionist state, even if it neighbors Palestine, and a large group of Jews who march with eyes wide shut and arm in arm with members of the Balad and Hadash parties and the Islamic Movement. They are so frustrated with the results of our democratic system that they simply cannot be bothered with the facts.
Radical post-Zionism has never been more warmly embraced. Artificial intelligence could not have done a more surgical job of processing the data than the Jewish protesters who have cherry-picked precisely the ideologies behind the protest that suit them. In Russia, these people, who firmly believe in the overarching principle of equality but would never have contemplated arming themselves with gay pride flags at Saturday’s protest, would be referred to as “useful idiots.” These same bleeding hearts demand equality in the distribution of the burden in society, but only among the Jews, and exalt the Declaration of Independence but bow their heads to their new brothers in arms, who demand the right of return and reject our declaration.
Indeed, much restraint was needed in the face of the absurd display in Tel Aviv on Saturday night – restraint and some mild desperation.