Protests to Bush Visit Are Underway
This week’s upcoming visit of U.S. President George Bush to Israel has awakened activists on Israel’s political right, many of whom have kept a low profile since the 2005 evacuation from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria settlements.
On Monday afternoon at 2:30, Jerusalem's Paris Square, situated near the official residence of the Prime Minister, was renamed Jonathan Pollard Square by the Municipality of Jerusalem. Activists for Pollard placed large signs on Israeli buses and around the city, calling for President Bush to release his “Prisoner of War."
On Tuesday afternoon at 2:00, the One Jerusalem organization will create a human chain surrounding the Old City, to proclaim that Ehud Olmert does not have a national mandate from the people to divide the Holy City. Later in the day, starting at 6:00 PM, a coalition of activist groups will gather in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa to declare that building in the settlements will continue in defiance of the Olmert/Bush freeze on further expansion. From there, groups will set out to establish new hilltop communities throughout Judea and Samaria.
The coalition has collected donations from many countries and from 35 states in the USA. They have prepared the following poster for their ceremony tomorrow:
On Thursday at 7:00 pm, the SOS Save the Land and the Nation group will be holding a mass protest and prayer vigil at Zion Square in downtown Jerusalem.
In addition to the “Bush, Read Your Bible!” poster produced by “Am K’Lavee,” an anonymous poster showing Olmert behind jail bars is being pasted on billboards around the city.
The poster which reads, “Not Even Bush Can Save You,” refers to the criminal investigations pending against Olmert, and the claim that President Bush is coming to Israel to give a boost to Olmert’s dismal public image and political instability.
Nevertheless, the Almagor Terror Victims Association has announced a series of protest vigils outside the main locations where President Bush will hold meetings. They are planning to erect a gigantic poster, pictured below which shows President Bush as the founding father of “HAMAStine."
The Almagor organization has also produced a video clip “Hamastine,” which shows America establishing a Hamas terrorist haven in the Land of Israel, to the tune of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Another Bush protest poster was posted in a several Jerusalem neighborhoods but raised the ire of Jerusalemites who quickly tore it off the billboards. The poster is, however, being circulated over the internet and has been condemned by Israeli and American Jewish groups.
Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that the poster is an "obscene depiction which is not only a violation of the truth, but of every sensibility, and is only counterproductive and insulting." He added, "If you have points to make that can be done intelligently with facts and discussion, do so, but not this kind of blasphemous poster."
Joshua Block, Spokesman for The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said that the poster is simply not true:
The overwhelming majority of Americans of all faiths and backgrounds support America's unbreakable bond with Israel. As Americans, we share a fundamental set of values with the people of Israel that cherish life, and liberty and freedom of speech, and a special determination to fight the forces of intolerance and hate that seem to have found such fertile ground in the Arab world.
Baruch Marzel of the far right Hazit party said that the poster was "in bad taste." but added that it "expresses the sentiments of many Israelis who are appalled that a United States president would lend his hand to a plan to divide the holy city of Jerusalem."
Over ten thousand policemen and security forces will be stationed in Jerusalem during the Presidential visit to keep protestors and any possible security threats far away from US President Bush. Traffic in the city is expected to be paralyzed. All cars parked in the area of the King David Hotel, and along the routes of the Bush motorcade, will be towed away to the outskirts of the city.