הפגנה נגד הסגר בחוף פרישמן
Anti-Netanyahu protesters holding a rally on Tel Aviv beach
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Anti-Netanyahu protesters holding a rally on Tel Aviv beach

Anti-Netanyahu protests have shot themselves in the foot

Opinion: Holding what are essentially beach parties and packed holiday feasts while the rest of the country is locked down with either their nuclear families or all alone is no way to persuade people to join your cause

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 09.21.20 , 23:31
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will never be able to stop the protests against him, it seems the protestors are managing quite nicely all on their own.
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  • These are not just people jumping on the bandwagon of the demonstrations and the weirdos among us who have nothing to do with the protests, but rather its actual leaders.
    הפגנה נגד הסגר בחוף פרישמןהפגנה נגד הסגר בחוף פרישמן
    Anti-Netanyahu protesters holding a rally on Tel Aviv beach
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    On Friday, after the lockdown had already come into effect, the elders of the movement held a wonderfully organized holiday feast.
    Their younger counterparts turned up on Tel Aviv beach on Saturday to protest both the lockdown and the prime minister.
    It is hard to understand how much of a demonstration it really was, given the fact it ultimately turned into a massive beach party.
    Both young and old were making a mockery of the closure.
    מפגינים בארוחת החג מול מעון ראש הממשלה בבלפורמפגינים בארוחת החג מול מעון ראש הממשלה בבלפור
    Members of the anti-Netanyahu protests holding a holiday feast on Friday
    (Photo: Gil Yohanon)
    Solidarity with Israelis? Give me a break. The protest has become a humiliation.
    In videos of the Friday afternoon feast, you could see genuinely nice people -the ones we used to label "the salt of the Earth." These days, we simply call them "privileged."
    It was a pleasant social event, but a protest it definitely was not.
    The protests outside Netanyahu's official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem had already taken on the feel of a festival, which is now spreading to the rest of the country.
    מחאה של צעירי בלפור בכיכר הבימה נגד בנימין נתניהומחאה של צעירי בלפור בכיכר הבימה נגד בנימין נתניהו
    Anti-Netanyahu protestors in the water fountain at Habima Square in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    It is perfectly fine to protest against Netanyahu. It is not easy to watch the man steering the ship of state with three corruption charges against him, whatever the law says.
    It is also perfectly fine to protest the lockdown, which is due mainly to political pressure rather than rational thinking; it's doubtful that anyone actually believes this messy, haphazard closure will actually kill the virus.
    But when those at the heart of the protests ignore public health directives and social distancing regulations, it is a little hard to then demonstrate in the name of the rule of law and morality.
    These are dark days. Coronavirus is leading us astray, creating internal divides that only grow larger.
    In the U.S. there is already talk of civil war. Israel is still far from that point, but the downward slide continues.
    ההפגנה בבלפורההפגנה בבלפור
    Protestors outside of Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem
    (Photo: AFP)
    While most Israelis are heeding the new directives, restricting contact to their immediate family or being completely alone, the Balfour Street party goes on.
    This will not bring Israelis closer together. At best, it will make them more sectarian.
    Every person and organization taking part in the protests must ask themselves: are we ourselves doing what we are demanding of Netanyahu – no more incitement, no more corruption and no more cynicism?
    Are we bringing more people to our cause or scaring them away? Are the Friday feast and beach party helping us or are they a nail in the coffin of the movement?
    מחסום כיכר דיזנגוףמחסום כיכר דיזנגוף
    Police in Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Circle enforcing the lockdown
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    The right to protest is a fundamental principle of democracy, but it is not the government who is putting it in danger, but the protestors themselves.
    In order for the movement to succeed it must drive serious and genuine public debate. It cannot shoot itself in the foot by falling prey to exhibitions, feasts and beach bashes.
    The protests must be saved from their creators before they slide into anarchy any further.
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