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Progressive Jews protest against Netanyahu government outside Israeli Consulate in New York

Progressive Jews protest the Israeli government’s policies outside the Israeli consulate in New York, Feb. 21, 2023 (Photo: Gili Getz/Twitter)

Some 200 liberal and progressive Jews protested against Netanyahu-led government policies outside the Israeli Consulate in New York on Tuesday. The demonstration was organized by the Progressive Israel Network, an umbrella organization that includes ten left-wing partner members.

Demonstrators protested the planned expansion of Jewish communities in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria with slogans such as “No democracy with occupation” and “Democracy for all.”

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, director of the left-wing T’ruah organization, told The Times of Israel that the New York rally was conducted in solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests in Israel against new judicial reforms, which have triggered nationwide protests attended by thousands.

“We’re doing this in solidarity with the Israelis who have been out on the streets at this point for almost two months,” said Jacobs, who blasted the Netanyahu far-right coalition as a threat to Israel’s future as a democratic state.

“We’re seeing right now there’s an extremist government in Israel that is taking really unprecedented steps that will have a very long-term and dangerous impact on Israeli democracy,” she said.

Jonathan Kopp, advocacy chair of the New York-based, left-wing J Street organization, stated that Tuesday’s rally participants were pro-Israel advocates who are concerned about the country’s current direction and future.

“To be pro-Israel in 2023 means standing with the hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Israel to defend democracy,” Kopp said.

In a rare occurrence, the Jewish Federations of North America blasted the Netanyahu government’s judicial reform plan, which would enable the Knesset to override rulings of Israel’s High Court.

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid, the Progressive Israel Network stressed the need to balance majority rule with proper protection of minorities.

“The essence of democracy is both majority rule and protection of minority rights,” the organization stated.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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