I woke up at 10:45 that morning, with the bus leaving at 11:45 from Tel Aviv, so in my haste, I forgot my Israeli flag that I brought last time.
At the start of the march, unlike last time, a Palestinian started handing out Palestinian flags. Loads of them. I immediately felt uncomfortable and that they were sending the wrong message. Is this a Palestine march or a peace march?
I made sure to press Israelis about it while marching asking their thoughts on the matter. “Well listen, you have to be sensitive to the fact that the Israeli flag symbolizes a horrible occupation”, or “well this is their land so they should be flying their flag because flags imply sovereignty. If we have a march in Israel then we will have Israeli flag”. Many Israeli apologetics.
Last year on Memorial Day Combatants for Peace and The Palestinian Israeli Bereaved Families for Peace held an alternative Memorial Day Ceremony in Tel Aviv (here’s a link to this year’s ceremony which I will attending). I’ve been to many Memorial Day Ceremonies in Israel; they’re always strewn with Israeli flags and the ceremony ends with our national anthem, Hatikva.
Not this one. Last year at this ceremony there were no flags and no national anthem.
I’m assuming we all agree that Tel Aviv is Israeli land so you can’t say, as you said in the march, that implying sovereignty here in Tel Aviv is a problem. And yes the flag symbolizes occupation to some people in the hall, but the Palestinian flag to many Israelis symbolizes similar death and terror and yet we had no problem waving it at the march.
Sometimes, here on The Left, I feel so much sensitivity is given to the Palestinian nation that we lost what we’re fighting for for ourselves. We have our national flag and we have to wave it like there’s no tomorrow. We have our national anthem and we should sing it with tears.
If any Israeli feels uncomfortable with any of our national symbols, then propose a change! But don’t ever forget that we have our country of Israel with its flag and it’s anthem.
But I get it; I’ve seen this flag and this anthem used for bad. I’ve seen people use symbols I love as excuses to hurt and kill. But you know what? It’s absolutely no different from what we’ve seen with the Palestinian flag; we’ve seen it used for both good and bad.
I think we got so caught in the two state solution being about building Palestine that we forget about building a new Israel with the solution. We have so much national sympathy for another nation that we give up ourselves and our own nationality. We’ve accepted their national symbols and we are allowed to expect, or even demand, reciprocal acceptance.
The Left talks about being accepting of critiques? Take the critiques from The Right. They talk about The Left fighting for Palestine and giving up Israel for sale. When I see an “Israeli & Palestinian” march with no Israeli symbols, I see what they’re saying! When we do an Israeli National Memorial Day service without our anthem, I understand their critique!
Let’s not forget about Palestine and Palestinians. But we need to retain our Israeli nationality and pride while doing it.
עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ,