Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israeli Border Guard Police officers scuffle with demonstrators during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his house in Jerusalem, July 14, 2020.

About a month ago, Ken Abramovich, the chairman of the American Friends of Likud and head of Save the West, pondered whether it was possible for the race riots that began in the US following the brutal murder of George Floyd to arrive in the Jewish state.   At that time, the BLM and Antifa riots had already started to spread from America to England, Greece, Mexico, Germany and a variety of other countries.  However, Dr. Mordechai Kedar could not contemplate that any Jewish Israeli would ever bring that sort of violence to our country, for it is anathema to Israeli culture.

As journalist Lara Logan exposed, Antifa’s mission statement includes “1) liberation will be won by any means necessary; 2) We will destroy the state, the police, military, corporations and all of those who run the plantations; 3) We will live in dignity in a world without prisons; 4) Systems of punishment will be abolished.  There will be no law to enforce, no money to protect.   5) Revolutionary justice will be determined by those who are oppressed; 6) There will be no government.  No person or group will have power over another.  7) Communities will make decisions about where they live and will make sure that everyone has what they need to live a dignified life; 8) Land is not property.  It is alive, communal and must be protected.  9) Alongside international comrades, we will destroy all borders for the free movement of people everywhere; 10) Militant networks will defend our revolutionary communities.  Liberation begins where America dies.”   Why would anyone Jewish want to support that, especially given the fact that Antifa has committed so many anti-Semitic acts of violence in America?


But in recent days, more and more violence has been registered in the daily demonstrations against the Israeli government.  Matt Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, stated in an exclusive interview: “A quarter a million walk down Rothschild in September and not a window was broken in the past.  But now, there are stones being thrown on shops and homes.”  Furthermore, a topless woman stood on top of a statue of a menorah, waving Antifa imagery.   This makes one ponder, has Antifa tactics taken over what was until recently a peaceful protest movement, seeking justice for those who suffered economically during the pandemic?

Although there is no evidence of a direct connection between the Israeli Black Flag protesters and Antifa or BLM, Peleg argued that they have nevertheless imported the symbols, the flag and the same attitude from abroad, acknowledging that doing such things is not typical Israeli behavior: “The New Israel Fund is active in the demonstrations via Standing Together, Zazim and other groups.  They are always coming to every demonstration that is against the government.    They also go after soldiers in Judea and Samaria.  These same types of people have now come to Balfour and committed acts against the menorah.”  They also waved Palestinian flags and yelled out “crime minister.”

“Im Tirtzu was not active in front of those demonstrations in the beginning, for it is legit to be against the prime minister,” Peleg stressed.  “We are a democracy.  But when you do something against the menorah, attack reporters and taxi drivers, and attack shops, Im Tirtzu will be there for to do something against the menorah is dangerous.  Today, there are two demonstrations.  One is Antifa-like radicals and one is by the right-wingers.  We called upon the two camps to sing Hatikva together at 10:50pm at night, for they need to finish at 11pm.  Some of the left-wingers were saying that they would not sing Hativka, even though we are close to Tisha B’Av.”  This should tell you how much the radical left has taken over the protests.

Following the coronavirus pandemic, prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar believes that Israeli society is now divided: “There are those who consider the state as the fulfillment of the Jewish dream to come back to Zion and to renew the Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish forefathers land.  For them, Israel is a dream fulfilled.   They also suffer from the coronavirus economic crisis, but they are at home, trying to make a living one way or another.  The other side of Israeli society who does not share the same dream view the state as a supplier of bread and amusement (nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, beaches).   Since for five months the state does not provide enough bread and all the amusement sites are closed, they run to the streets.   Therefore, roughly saying with clear generalization that most of the demonstrators in the street are left-wing, while the people who do not demonstrate tend to be on the right side of the political map.  It involves much politics and culture.  You hardly see people with yarmulkes on their heads in these demonstrations.”

“The nude lady with the menorah resembles the cultural differences,” Kedar added.  “The menorah symbolizes the Jewish dream, especially in front of the Knesset.  She gets on top of the menorah and strips her body to show that for her the amusement is more important than the Jewish dream.   Sitting on the menorah topless shows her scale of priorities in life.”  Interestingly, the very idea of a woman striping as a form of protesting against the state originated in Portland, Oregon, with a woman known as Naked Athena stripping in front of police officers during an Antifa protest, while doing ballet poses nude in front of the cameras. Prior to that, nude protests have a long tradition in the West, from Lady Godiva to the Hippies to the Iraq War protests to the Yellow Vest and Femen protests in France: “It is the fashion today for women to expose themselves in order to cause attention to their cause.”

While some commentators on the left have praised the topless woman standing on top of the menorah as a Lady Godiva-like feminist icon, posing naked in front of numerous spectators does nothing to enhance the status of women in Israel.    It does not assist the country in battling increased incidents of domestic violence and rape within the family heading into another potential lockdown.  It does not help any of the social workers in addressing the needs of battered Israeli women during the pandemic.  It does not help rape survivors psychologically cope with the potential of another lockdown.  All it does is objectify women as sexual objects, rather than portray females as thinking and feeling intellectual beings, who have an opinion to express.

Therefore, her action adversely affected the status of women in Israel, just as Antifa, the anti-Semitic movement that she glorified, offers no real solutions to the Israeli people struggling economically and psychologically with the pandemic.    Therefore, adopting Antifa tactics, symbols and ideology harms any Israeli who seeks to speak out against the present economic disaster and seeks true solutions for the nation’s problems.  For this reason, the fact that these economic demonstrations have been taken over by the radical left is a great tragedy for each Israeli who loves the country yet opposes another lockdown.


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Rachel Avraham is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”