Over the weekend, video circulated online of opponents of judicial reform heckling and shouting at the Israeli legislator Simcha Rothman (in Hebrew) as he walked down Madison Avenue in New York City. Herb Keinon comments on such efforts to bring Israel’s anti-reform protest movement to America’s shores:
That Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s judicial reform plan has, for all intents and purposes, been mothballed, and that talks are ongoing under President Isaac Herzog’s auspices to come to a consensus on changes in the judiciary, are a testament to the effectiveness of the protests. . . . It is not as if no one is listening to the voices being raised in Israel. Why raise them overseas? Why harass and harangue government ministers abroad when it can be done—and is done—with such ease on Israeli soil?
The U.S. public is accustomed to seeing protests against Israel and Israeli officials—be it when the prime minister visits Washington, when AIPAC holds a large gathering, or at college campuses. But these protests are usually organized and carried out by Palestinians or their supporters.
While the Palestinians and their supporters are often protesting against the state itself, the Jews now demonstrating are only protesting against the current government of that state. However, that nuance—a mighty important one—may very well be lost on the average ABC or NBC viewer catching a glimpse of the Jews protesting against government officials at a Salute for Israeli parade or hounding them as they walk down Fifth Avenue.
When Jews protest against Israeli officials abroad, this may be less clear to the uninitiated, and it may be interpreted by those not familiar with the nuances of Israel as opposing the state itself.