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Occupation magazine - Activism

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`I Love Jerusalem. I Hate Racism!`
Beate Zilversmidt
Translated from Dutch, written for http://www.eajg.nl

May 17, 2015 - the conquerors` flags parade through Arab Jerusalem - every year dominated by `Death to the Arabs` gangs and - of course - the arrests of provoked Palestinian youths. The whole thing probably copied from the Northern Ireland Orangists. In Belfast, the Orange marches are notorious for their provocative and violent character. In Jerusalem it was this year on top of everything Chamsin, hot weather with a dry desert wind.

We got a preview on the bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with a school class of greatly misbehaving teenagers. The bus driver tried to put an end to their screaming but could do no more than through the microphone pointing out that there were also other passengers in the bus. `As Jerusalemite, I ask you to show Jerusalem at least some respect and that you will behave after this misbehavior on the bus` said a brave young woman just before exiting.

Very many yarmulkes in the light rail. Especially the knitted ones - characteristic of the national-religious, aka the settlers and their supporters; all traveling to the Old City - we heading for the counter-demonstration.

Police had assigned us a very self-contained spot on the `Tzahal` (= Army)Square - a giant balcony overlooking the Jaffa street just around the corner from the Jaffa Gate, crowded with young people as we had already experienced on the bus. Without our drummers our group of a few hundred would hardly have been noticed. But the youths of `Jerusalem is not silent in the Face of Racism` had found a way to make its not being silent very audible. The slogans on the banners and placards were chanted and rhythmically strengthened, `We will not be silent: Stop the Hate March` `You have stolem my Zionism` (yes, there are still those defending the Other Zionism) `Two Jerusalems = One Peace!` `I Love Jerusalem. I Hate Racism!`

On the side, a number of young people were busy with designing `flags of love` through spray-painting in red and projecting a heart on shiny satin. The plan was to at the end following the march through the old city and handing out flowers to the residents.

I left before that. For such an adventure one should not be too brittle. Before I fell asleep on the bus to Tel Aviv, I thought of the colorful hearts and flowers with which the young people would by now be going, hoping that they would encounter Palestinians who would be open to the gesture even on a hot day.
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