Yesterday night, 1,000 Israelis marched to protest the prospect of an Israeli military attack on Iran. The rally was an offshoot of the Israel Loves Iran social network phenomenon which has been sweeping Facebook for the past week. For me as an American Jew, one of the more interested aspects of the protest was the posters which denounced Aipac for pimping the war. The pro-Israel group holds sacred cow status with most Israelis and the fact that it would be attacked is something I’ve never seen before. It’s also a welcome development.
When I put out an APB seeking photos from the rally, an Iranian Facebook friend alerted me to photos from the rally that appeared in an Iranian publication. This too is an example of the interconnectedness of a world even as it teeters on the brink of war. Iranians and Israelis (and in my case, Jews) have more in common than divides them. Only their leaders are ginning up war for the sake of political or strategic regional power games. We must defy the accepted wisdom (especially Israeli) and what the intelligence and military analysts tell us about acceptable levels of risk in the event of an Israeli strike. They cannot represent us. Nor can they define us.
The march began at the same location where the J14 movement started its protests last summer and united some of the same elements of the social justice movement. Though of course, it was a much smaller group because J14 coalesced around economic and social issues, not national security issues. It’s much harder inside Israel to advocate for peaceful solutions because society is so militarized.