Sunday, May 17, 2015 was Jerusalem Day in Israel. Jerusalem Day is the moment each year Israel celebrates the 1967 reunification of Israel’s Jewish capital.
The last time Jews had sovereignty over their Jerusalem was 1,897 years earlier. Reunification meant we had indeed returned from exile. It meant we were once again masters of our own nation.
But if Jerusalem Day is a day of celebration, it’s also a day Leftists in Israel come out swinging: they call the day’s signature event—the Parade of Flags—a racist march.
Gush Shalom is an organization which calls itself “the hard core of the Israeli peace movement” (Gush Shalom Homepage-Aims of Gush Shalom-About Gush Shalom). It’s Leftist. Possibly, it’s as Leftist as one can get in Israel.
Gush Shalom wants to end Jerusalem Day. Its reason is simple: Jerusalem Day, it claims, is a holiday only “to settlers and racists” (Abolish ‘Jerusalem Day’-the settler holiday”, gush shalom, no date).
This anti-Jewish/anti-Israel organization believes that the only purpose served by observing Jerusalem day is to give racist settlers “a license to provoke and harass ‘Palestinians’ (ibid). Apparently, they don’t see Jewish sovereignty as something positive. They see it as an expression of ‘hate’.
As you may already know, two other anti-Israel Leftist groups, Ir Amim and the Tag Meir group, attempted to get Israel’s High Court to cancel the parade altogether (Daniel K. Eisenbud and Yonah Jeremy Bob, “High Court allows Jerusalem Day march through Old City’s Muslim Quarter”, Jerusalem Post, May 11, 2015). They argued before the Court that past marches had been so violent and provocative that the case met the standard for limiting persons’ rights to march in certain areas (ibid). They wanted the parade stopped because, Tag Meir said, it had become a ‘march of hate’ (Gedalyah Reback, “Tens of thousands dance at Western Wall for Jerusalem Day”, Times of Israel, May 17, 2015).
The High Court rejected their complaint. The parade took place as scheduled.
So how did the supposedly racist march of hate actually unfold? Not very well—for the Left.
I have a ‘march of hate’ story for you. I know someone who went to Jerusalem specifically to participate in the Jerusalem Day festivities. That individual reported to me an intriguing personal interaction. It’s an interaction that says a lot about Israel’s anti-Jewish Left.
At or near the parade, this individual bumped into some acquaintances. These acquaintances are Leftist. One works for an organization known to be ‘anti-Israel’. While exchanging pleasantries, the one who worked for the Leftist anti-Israel organization expressed disappointment. The parade hadn’t gone as he’d expected. He was disappointed because he hadn’t heard the racist chants and songs he’d expected to hear.
That disappointment sums up the history of Israel’s anti-Jewish/anti-Israel Left. They demonize Israel. They complain about Jewish ‘extremist groups’. Their entire world-view revolves around a supposed ‘extremist Jewish hate’. But they’re almost always disappointed.
For example, regarding this Jerusalem Day parade, the Left claimed the parade had become a focus for extremist groups (Reback, above, ibid). They claimed the parade “was routinely accompanied [emphasis mine] by racist slurs and insults, destruction of property and physical violence against the Palestinian residents of the city” (ibid).
Nevertheless, like the story of the boy who cried wolf, these Leftists were wrong. They’re almost always wrong.
In this case, we saw a crowd of 50,000-80,000 marchers, mostly teens. In that crowd, the supposed ‘racists’ made up perhaps one-three per cent of the parade marchers.
That provokes an intriguing observation: a parade that’s perhaps 1-3 percent hooligan isn’t a racist parade. A parade that’s 97-99 per cent peaceful isn't extremist.
Perhaps that’s why the Leftist my friend spoke to was so disappointed. He expected much, much worse.
The Left in Israel is like that. They only hope for the worst in Jews; they only see the best in Arabs.
This anecdote suggests that maybe it’s the Left in Israel who are the ones who hate, not the nationalist Jew. How else can you explain why the Left called this parade the ‘march of hate’?