Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Palestine, Tel Aviv : “There is no Pride in the Occupation”

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Thanks to Joan McKiernan for circulating this report.

Source : https://mailchi.mp/refuser/refusers-solidarity-15034809?e=2a6ffdecef

My name is Ayelet. I’m a 16 years old trans teen and an activist in the Mesarvot network, an Israeli Network supporting war resisters and political objectors. Last Friday (June 10th), at the Israeli pride parade in Tel Aviv, I was arrested for holding the Palestinian flag with the slogan “there is no pride in the occupation” in Hebrew (see below picture of my sign).

“There is no Pride in the Occupation”

I made this sign not only to show my objection to the Israeli occupation of the West bank and the Gaza strip, but also to protest the way the Israeli government uses the LGBTQ+ community to justify the occupation. The government uses Pinkwashing – displaying superficial support for LGBTQ+ rights in order to justify horrible actions. In actuality, Israel supports gay rights only when people from our community are supportive of the state’s actions. For example, a trans woman who is a soldier will be able to receive hormonal treatment, but a trans woman who is an army refuser will be sent to a men’s prison for her refusal.

I attended the Pride parade with the intention to protest the way the Israeli state is using my community, the LGBTQ+ community, to appear progressive without actually showing support for our rights. For instance there is no option for same sex marriage, no access for gay people to adopt children, and accessing gender affirming healthcare is incredibly difficult. The police officers pulled me out almost immediately, about 5 minutes after I joined the march and held up my sign, and threatened me with an arrest. 

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Zionism means wanting a Jewish state in the land of Israel. In the Israeli political ethos, the idea that this notion could be immoral is unthinkable. The fundamental problem with it is the fact that a Jewish state, by definition, discriminates against people who are not Jewish. Especially in this piece of land where people with different religions, ethnicities, and cultures have been residing for centuries. Meaning, Zionism is the desire to settle an already populated country and discriminate against all who lived there before you. 

This ideological foundation has created a downward spiral – The 1948 Nakba and the 1967 occupation are the clear continuation of the Zionist ideology. Today, in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip there are 4.5 million Palestinians living under military law. They can’t vote in the Israeli elections even though Israel has complete control over their lives. In contrast, Israeli settlers living in the same territory have full citizenship rights. Also, We can’t ignore the fact that Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories undoubtedly fits the definition of colonialism – “The policy or practice of aquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting its economy”. 

All of the above is why last Friday, I, a trans teenager, chose to attend the Tel Aviv Pride parade with a sign that shows the Palestinian flag with the inscription: No pride in the occupation. 

To be clear – I was arrested at a demonstration for holding up a sign. The police read me my rights and did not let me go. They accused me of “incitement”, for holding a Palestinian flag in a public space. It is important to say that even though some of the Knesset members are working on passing a law that would make it illegal to hold a Palestinian flag in public property, such a law has not yet passed, meaning I did nothing illegal. 
Ultimately, the police did not take me with them back to the station but held me for about an hour at pride and then they released me. It is important for me to mention that I had it easy with the cops. More than most people would. If I was a Palestinian boy this whole story would have taken a horrible turn for the worst. I was released quickly because I am an Ashkenazi (white Jew) kid from Tel Aviv that doesn’t even have an ID yet and the police did not consider me a threat. 

I want you all to know – We live in a country where people are arrested for protesting. We don’t need to shout or even say anything, it is enough to hold a Palestinian flag next to an officer to be arrested – that’s how much they are scared of the Palestinian flag and Israeli solidarity with Palestinians. But no arrests or pinkwashing can hide the truth about the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In solidarity,

Ayelet

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