Far-right Israeli government officials including racist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir joined tens of thousands of settlers participating in Thursday’s inflammatory “Flag March” in occupied East Jerusalem, an event at which police and demonstrators attacked Palestinians and journalists while chanting slogans including “death to Arabs” and “your village will be burned.”
“Jews and Arabs against Fascism”, MK Ofer Cassif at the demonstration held in Jaffa, Thursday, May 18, 2023 (Photo: Hadash)
Marchers in Jerusalem’s Old City beat Palestinian residents, and when Israeli police intervened, they assaulted Palestinian victims under attack instead of protecting them. threw rocks at journalists, hitting at least two reporters in the head and wounding them. Ben-Gvir, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Transport Minister Miri Regev were among the Israeli officials who took part in the annual march, which celebrates Israel’s conquest and illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash) called the flag march, during a counter-protest held Thursday evening at Jaffa a “violent parade presented as a joyous dance.” “Rioting gangs backed by Ben-Gvir and the fascist government are bullying Arabs to show them who’s in charge. This is disgusting Kahanism in its peak.” Cassif was referring to the Jewish supremacist movement once led by Meir Kahane, the Orthodox rabbi convicted of terrorism before being assassinated in 1990. Ben-Gvir was convicted in 2007 of incitement to racism and supporting the Kahanist terror group Kach after he advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Flyers circulating in advance of the protest called on people to “prevent the deportation of the Arab-Palestinian families from Jaffa” and stop the “Judaization and control” exercised by settlers in the city. The Jerusalem-based NGO Ir Amim called the settlers demonstrations a “display of incitement, Jewish dominance, and racism.”