“We say today to Benjamin Netanyahu: we are not afraid! We will not stop fighting for what is important and fateful for our future. The answer to attempts to silence us is to shout louder.”
Thousands of people attended the 16th Rabin Memorial rally in Tel Aviv, where the topic of the evening was the growing incitement by the right against the peace camp.
Whereas once PM Rabin bore the brunt of the wrath of the right wing, now all the peace camp is under siege with campaigns on the street and in the Knesset to delegitimize and outlaw our and other organizations activities.
Ex- Meretz MK at the rally said in his speech: ” “History does not repeat – it never left and it continues to sow fear. Does the next murderer lie in wait near the stairs?”
The speaker who rallied the crowd the most was our every own Hagit Ofran, the subject of attacks on her home in the past week. Here is the transcript and the video (below) of her speech:
I did not come here to talk about Yitzhak Rabin. I know this plaza well. I stood here at dozens of demonstrations and actions but never on the stage. I am a stranger to the limelight. I am only here today because of the people who scrawled graffiti on the walls of my stairwell.
While everybody is talking about the two-state solution, facts are being established on the ground that might make it impossible. The settlement policy is no less fateful for our future than the Iranian bomb and it is at the center of the controversy tearing Israel apart. Construction of settlements is continuing all the time and the possibility of dividing the land into two states is becoming more and more difficult. What we are trying to do is to make sure the public at least hears about it, to keep the subject on the public agenda even at the price of personal attacks against us. That is what the graffitists want to prevent. They want to silence that public debate.
Most of the Israeli public opposes violence and is shocked when violence overtakes our public discourse. I am also sure that most of the settlers oppose and condemn what was done to my house. But as Hillel the elder said in Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of our Fathers: “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” Today decent people must stand up to the violence and speak out. Decent people on the right have to draw a clear and sharp line of the legitimate boundaries of discourse and confront the raging political violence. Decent people on the left must rise, not be afraid of the attempts to silence them, and raise their voices on the streets, in demonstrations, join us and others, on Facebook, on the street, everywhere, so as not to silence the public debate.
The terrible thing is that what some people do to us on the street with spray paint and threats, the Knesset and the government are trying to do to us by legislation. With furious and violent discourse they are trying to silence the public debate. They are trying to legislate against the expression of certain opinions and they are trying by legislation to prevent organizations from operating. They are trying to silence media that don’t please the government. Such a Knesset, is a Knesset with spray paint on its hands that sets the tone and gives inspiration to the violent actions we see on the streets against leftist and Arabs and anyone who does not agree with them politically.
As A.D. Gordon said: “There will be no victory of light over darkness until we understand the simple truth, that instead of fighting the darkness we must intensify the light”. It is precisely at the darkest hour that we need a torch to illuminate what others are trying to silence and conceal. But the torch needs a charger and batteries and we are here today to provide that power to the torch so that it not only light up the darkness but also light the way that will lead us to the state and society we can all be proud of.
The slogans were scribbled on my house but the abuse is on all of our stairwells. The tag may have been placed on me but we are all paying the price. We must not be afraid. Look around you. We are here and we are many, we have a voice and we must raise it. And we say today to Benjamin Netanyahu: we are not afraid! We will not stop fighting for what is important and fateful for our future. The answer to attempts to silence us is to shout louder.
And even if we cannot achieve peace now under this government, we must still act now so that there will be peace.