‘It’s important that we dispel this idea that there’s a love affair between Jews and Trump, or between Israelis and Trump,’ says Jerusalem protest organizer.
Carrying signs that read “Impeach Trump” and “Trump go home,” over 500 protesters rallied in front of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and US Consulate in Jerusalem Monday against the visit of President Donald Trump.
“We don’t want him here in Israel, and we don’t want him in the White House either,” said Israeli-American Matan Kaminer, 34.
Trump is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories for around 28 hours on his 9-day foreign visit.
Standing in front of the embassy that many Israelis would like moved to Jerusalem, over 100 protesters spoke about Trump’s Israel policies, allegations of Trump ties to Russia, among other subjects.
“I think Trump is an embarrassment to everyone,” said Ricki Lieberman, 70, of Jaffa, “He feels much more comfortable with the despots of Saudi Arabia than with the democratic system of Congress.
“I don’t know what he believes,” said Lieberman, a former volunteer with the Hillary Clinton campaign.
“And for Israel to put itself in his hands is dangerous.”
The protesters, organized by Democrats Abroad in Israel, Pantsuit Nation and Green Course, were mostly American and Israeli-American Jews who have immigrated to Israel or are visiting the country for work and studies. A separate anti-Trump protest held by the radical left-wing party Hadash also joined in.
Citing alleged collusion with the Russian government, misogynistic and hateful rhetoric and general incompetence, at least 200 primarily American-Israel citizens gathered Monday night across the street from Jerusalem’s US Consulate to protest Trump’s presidency.
Sponsored by Democrats Abroad-Israel, the protest featured speakers including Meretz City Councilwoman Dr. Laura Wharton, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman of Congregation Kol Haneshama and Rabbi Leon Wiener Dow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Amid placards including “The Future is Female,” “Build a wall around Trump. I’ll pay for it!” and “Love trumps hate,” Alice Letter said she brought a large sign stating “Hashtag Resist 45” to condemn the controversial US president.
“I am an American Israeli, have lived here for 13 years, and am a news junkie, and am very upset about the Russian influence [in the US election] and think Trump is in with all the oligarchs,” Letter said.
“He’s done a lot of deals over the years [with the Russians] and they have set him up, and I believe Putin owns him.”
Noting purported complicity among the GOP rank and file, Letter said she has become exacerbated by the controversy, which she believes will conclude with Trump’s impeachment.
“I think this is going to be like Watergate and that he will be impeached,” she said.
“If he’s not impeached within the next year-and-a-half, in 2018 there’s going to be a wave of Democrats coming in and Nancy Pelosi will be the president.”
Moreover, Letter dismissed Trump’s pro-Israel rhetoric as ambivalent, and coming from a “forked tongue.”
“He uses language such as ‘believe me’ and all that stuff, and I don’t believe him,” she said. “I just hope that since Trump is here, something good comes from it.”
Organizer Jacob Fortinsky said he was pleasantly surprised by the large turnout.
“I, as an American, oppose what my president stands for, his incompetence, potential collusion with the Russians, obstruction of justice, lack of experience and hateful rhetoric,” Fortinsky said. “I see that even in the Jewish community he has divided people, so I think it’s important to dispel this idea that there’s a love affair between Jews and Trump, or Israelis and Trump, and to show there is a global resistance to him and what he stands for.”
Wharton said it was important for her to attend as a concerned American Israeli.
“First of all, as an American, I oppose what he stands for: the divisiveness, the attacks on women, blacks and Muslims, and the hate he has brought to the American political system, as well as his tendency to distort and destroy the truth,” she said.
“But I’m also here as an Israeli to say: ‘If you are already here, I suggest you ask [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu a lot of hard questions about the things he’s trying to market you, and why he hasn’t responded to the Saudi peace plan, or the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Wharton added: “I also hope that while he’s here he will visit east Jerusalem and ask why it looks the way it does compared to west Jerusalem and address the issues that the Palestinians are trying to raise internationally.”