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A Happening in Tel Aviv

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  • Ed Pearl
    I couldn t resist this just-arrived report. And take the time to visit and play with the fascinating, mobile website provided towards the end of the article.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2003
      I couldn't resist this just-arrived report. And take the time to visit
      and play with the fascinating, mobile website provided towards
      the end of the article. Would that such creative combos of serious
      subjects and playful presentations could be made and were effective
      throughout the area. They can't, of course, but assume an important
      role where violence is relatively absent.

      And, as I'll soon forget a totally fun cyber game and nobody really
      enjoys 14 hours of football, make you own Bush speech today at
      http://www.lemonbovril.co.uk/bushspeech There's a FREE, Non-Viral
      download involved, but it's simple. And, I wish you all a happier, more
      peaceful New Year. But, we have to work at it.

      From: Gila Svirsky
      Subject: A Protest Happening in Tel Aviv
      Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 00:09:21 +0200

      27 December 2002


      Things are so terrible here, one could weep. Or sit home and do nothing.
      Or move to Tel-Aviv and get lost in the café crowd - galleries, gourmet
      food, and a political party called 'Green Leaf' pushing for the legalization
      of marijuana. Now that's one way to cope with reality.

      So, we decided to bring reality into the heart of affluent, artsy Tel-Aviv,
      and to do it on their terms - using music, art, cinema, and street theater,
      all set into a mass Women (and Men) in Black vigil.

      We were about 1,500 people from all over Israel as well as Europe and
      North America, most of us dressed in black and spread out on the five
      corners of one of the busiest intersections of Tel-Aviv. Our twin slogans-
      'End the Occupation' and 'No to Racism' - called out from every direction:
      white lettering on black smocks, black umbrellas, black banners, and the
      traditional black 'hands' of Women in Black. (Thank you, Dita, for those
      great graphic items.)

      The day was meant to convey a serious message, but the sudden bright,
      hot sun after a week of cold winter rains, our own need for respite from the
      horror, and the Tel-Aviv escapist state-of-mind all seemed to get the better
      of us, turning a protest demonstration into a protest happening, with
      action every few meters:

      ***Two drummers, doing Middle Eastern rhythms;

      ***"Five "Angry Old Ladies" singing subversive political lyrics they had
      written to nursery rhymes and Zionist foot-stompers;

      ***A group from Portugal doing much loved peace songs with guitars and

      ***Black Laundry: Lesbians and Homosexuals Against the Occupation
      with an art installation that defies simple description;

      ***Crates of olives and olive oil, packed into empty soda bottles, sold by
      peace activists that had helped in the harvest (ah, they taste best when
      you have picked them yourselves...)

      ***To counter the racist 'Transfer = Security' stickers that have sprouted
      all over the country, there were 'Transfer = War Crime' stickers, on the
      background of the yellow Jewish star that had been used by the Nazis
      the Holocaust.

      ***The Fifth Mother Movement (carrying on the tradition of the Four Mothers
      Movement that got us out of Lebanon) sold shirts saying 'War is not my

      But best of all was the public screening of the film 'Jenin, Jenin'
      [director Mohammed Bakri], an account of the actions of the Israeli army
      this spring in the West Bank town of Jenin. The film had been banned by
      Israeli censors, but showing in private homes and offices around Israel.
      We - the Coalition of Women for Peace - decided to rent equipment and
      the censor, showing it on a big screen we set up in plain view of everyone.

      The police knew of the plan and approached Yoni Lerman, one of the
      organizers, to tell her that the Chief of Police gave strict orders that the
      film must not be shown. No way, said Yoni, we're showing it, and gave
      orders to run the projector. The police couldn't stand it. They went up to
      the man who rented us the equipment and was operating it, and told him
      turn off the projector or they would smash it. He turned it off. That was
      too much for Debby Lerman, another organizer, who also happens to be
      mom. Debby pulled out her checkbook, put her signature onto one of
      and handed it to the video equipment owner. "Hold onto that check," said
      Debby, "and if the police smash your equipment, write in the amount that
      it's worth. Now turn it on." He still hesitated, but pointed to the
      "You turn it on," he said, which Debby gladly did. The crowd gathered in
      great numbers and the film ran for over an hour, no equipment smashed,
      the TV news this evening reporting, "The film 'Jenin, Jenin', banned in
      Israel by the censor, was shown on a giant screen in the heart of Tel-Aviv
      this afternoon," followed by an interview with Yoni who simply explained
      that one should not hide the truth. Well done, Yoni.

      Special guests at the event: beloved Knesset Member Tamar Gozansky,
      retiring; dear Luisa Morgantini, "our" member of the European Parliament;
      local and international peace activists Shulamit Aloni, Simone Susskind,
      Uri Avnery, Dan Almagor, and others.

      Many local and international media also came, thanks to 'Jenin, Jenin',
      half the people there seemed to be making videos of the other half. But
      some very nice stills done by Mely Lerman (yes, Yoni's dad), click onto
      www.coalitionofwomen4peace.org. I'll also insert here one of Jane
      Fonda +
      Eve Ensler at last week's very rainy vigil of Jerusalem Women in Black.

      That's it. Special thanks to the many of you in Europe and North America
      who held your own vigils in solidarity with ours - some in great gobs of
      snow, we hear. By the way, exactly one hour after our own event ended in
      dazzling sunny weather, the sky opened up and poured down buckets of

      Well, in some ways, it was more a protest carnival than a march of
      mourning, like last December. Did we get through to the Tel-Aviv crowd?
      Maybe. And maybe they got through to us a little bit, too.

      Shalom / Salaam from Jerusalem,

      Gila Svirsky

      Coalition of Women for Peace
      Bat Shalom; The Fifth Mother (formerly Four Mothers Movement);
      Machsom-Watch; NELED; New Profile; Noga; TANDI; WILPF; and Women
      in Black.


      Eve Ensler, writer of the Vagina Monologues, Jane Fonda, & Eve's
      husband at
      the Jerusalem Women in Black vigil, 20 December 2002.


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