Israeli Left and Right plan political activity for Trump’s upcoming visit
Movements on the Left and Right on Wednesday announced preparations for political activity surrounding US President Donald Trump’s May 22 visit. Peace Now is organizing a rally for May 27, the Saturday night after the visit. Labor and Meretz are cosponsoring the event in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the site of a peace rally where Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in November 1995.
Organizers said the event would mark “50 years of occupation and control of the territories” and react to diplomatic overtures Trump might make during his visit. “We haven’t taken to the streets en mass in way too long to protest the lack of hope from the right-wing government,” Peace Now head Avi Buskila said. “We have held back for way too long on the occupation, the violence, and the racism. We have let an extremist, power-hungry gang spread hatred and incite against minorities, the free press, the courts and whoever dares criticize the government. Enough is enough.” The left-wing Darkenu organization is planning a campaign ahead of the Trump visit in favor of withdrawing from territories. The campaign will feature billboards and flyers with the slogan “Israel says yes to separating from the Palestinians.” “President Trump is reawakening diplomatic dialogue and hope that Israel will reenter negotiations that can achieve a deal [with the Palestinians],” Darkenu head Polly Bronstein said. “A pragmatic approach that demands responsibility from both sides without blaming either could succeed. We call upon the prime minister and Knesset to say yes.” Organizations on the Right have not announced their own campaign yet, but they are working on many levels to prevent a diplomatic process from starting and succeeding. Former Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck said the Right’s goals include preventing gestures, i.e. concessions, by Israel for talks to start, stopping progress toward a Palestinian state, and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. “The Left appears more organized because it doesn’t really have any power,” Struck said. “We are in the government, and it’s important that our ministers set firm limits for Netanyahu and Trump.”
The Right’s efforts to send a message to Trump began with Sunday’s Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. Right-wing speakers were briefed in advance in an effort to send a unified message that concessions would not be tolerated. Right-wing politicians who came for the conference also relayed key messages to Trump advisers and cabinet members they met in the US. “Trump’s advisers might believe they can persuade Netanyahu to abandon his right-wing coalition, but they know he cannot abandon the Likud,” Struck said. “The Likud ministers talked tough at the The Jerusalem Post Conference, and let’s just say it was not a coincidence. It sent a key message at a opportune time.”
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