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Protesters in Tel Aviv: We’re Here to Stay

Over 700 protesters from “My Israel” participated Sunday in a rally opposite the U.S. Embassy. "We won't give up our homeland," they told Obama.
By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 5/23/2011, 1:47 AM / Last Update: 5/23/2011, 3:13 AM

Over 700 protesters from the “My Israel” movement and from other non-parliamentary organizations participated on Sunday evening in the rally opposite the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The rally, which was held under the banner “Israel will not commit suicide”, took place as U.S. President Barack Obama made his speech to the attendees of the AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C. The demonstrators wore nooses around their necks, to symbolize their opposition to the so-called '1967 Lines' - the 1949 indefensible armistice lines that Obama wants to impose on Israel, as reflected in his speech on Thursday at the State Department.

“The goal of this vigil is to tell Obama that Israel is not going to commit suicide,” Naftali Bennett, CEO of the Yesha Council, told INN TV. “We’re here to stay. We’re not giving up our homeland. We’re not giving up Eretz Yisrael and not him or any president – not now or a thousand years from now – will succeed in taking away our homeland from us.”

Author and journalist Caroline Glick said that the purpose of the vigil is to send a message to the American people.

“The American people love Israel [and] stand in solidarity with Israel because of who we are, because we share the exact same core values of love and liberty and the sanctification of human life,” she said. “We know that the American people did not mean to have the President of the United States, Barack Obama, come out and call for Israel to essentially commit national suicide by constricting itself within indefensible borders.”

Rafi Trabelsi, one of the heads of the “My Israel” movement, said during the rally: “It seems that Mr. Obama does not know to distinguish between enemies and allies. I want to remind him that Israel is an ally of the United States and he should behave accordingly.”

Ayelet Shaked of “My Israel” added that “the unreal and unprecedented demand of the American president to give a state to Hamas, who are supporters of bin Laden whom Obama killed, is like requiring the Israelis to commit suicide. Millions of refugees who will assemble against Kfar Saba, giving away the region of the Ben Gurion Airport and missiles falling on central Israel are demands that should not be presented to any state, certainly not a friend like Israel. Israelis are declaring unequivocally: Some of us are willing to make concessions, some are not. No one is ready to commit suicide.”

During the demonstration, participants waved signs that compared the 1949 armistice lines to the borders of the Auschwitz death camp, just as Israel’s late Foreign Minister Abba Eban once did. They also wrote that America should stand with Israel and not against it. The demonstrators passed a message to American Jewry which read: “If we fall, American Jewry will fall as well.”