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Hundreds of Israelis Protest in Solidarity at U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv

"What would change my perspective of America is after all of this, and the outcry, people screaming their lungs out asking for equality, and for police to be held accountable nothing were to happen."
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June 2, 2020
Activist Ashager Araro speaks at the rally in solidarity with George Floyd in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo By Hallel Silverman.)

Israelis headed to United States Embassy in Tel Aviv on the evening June 2 (9 a.m. Pacific Time) to show their solidarity over the death in police custody of George Floyd. Around 350 demonstrators attended, organizers told The Journal.

 

“It took me all day to watch an eight-minute video,” Ashager Araro, the Founder of Bettae Ethiopian Israeli Heritage Center, said in a speech at the rally.

“The color of your skin doesn’t matter, once you saw this video, it got you. It just got you and you couldn’t shake it off,” Araro told The Journal. She says Ethiopian Jews in particular “understand the hurt.”

“As an American, I am so f-cking ashamed,” Hallel Silverman, who attended the protest, told The Journal. “As an Israeli, I’m proud of the turnout this evening in Tel Aviv.”

“It’s an important act of solidarity with the American people. Showing them that we understand their struggle and support it,” Tel Aviv-based activist Hen Mazzig told the Journal. “Israel has a long way to go until we reach full racial equality, so this is a statement of Israeli people saying we are with you and we stand by you.”

Hallel Silverman at the protest in solidarity with George Floyd in Tel Aviv. (Photo by Hallel Silverman.)

When asked if the death of George Floyd and had shifted her image of America, Araro said it was too early to tell. “What would change my perspective of America is after all of this, and the outcry, people screaming their lungs out asking for equality, and for police to be held accountable nothing were to happen,” she said. “That would be very hard for me to accept.”

On May 30, hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians marched against police brutality, drawing parallels between the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Iyad Hallak, an autistic Palestinian man who was shot and killed by police officers in Jerusalem. Israeli border police, who saw Hallak, 32, on the way to a special education school, believed he was holding a weapon. None was found.

Around 200 activists protested at the Tel Aviv police headquarters, while 150 held a march on King George Street in Jerusalem. They held signs declaring “Justice for Iyad, Justice for George.”

Some protesters on the June 2 event also held signs in solidarity with Hallak.

A protester at a demonstration in solidarity of George Floyd in Tel Aviv. (Photo by Halle Silverman.)

“Police violence in East Jerusalem is policy, just like the policy against black people in the U.S.,” Shahaf Weisbein, one of the organizers of the protest in Jerusalem, told +972 Magazine.

Araro said she felt the comparison was unfair.

“I think there are similar points that can be argued,” she said. “But at the same time…dealing with soldiers in an area that is a little more hostile than your city, your country, or in your area, the threat is different. I don’t know what happened in the situation with the Arab Israeli because we don’t have a video [like George Floyd.]

“I do think there has to be an investigation, and in general in Israel, we need to police better,” she added. “This is something both American and Israeli police need.”

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