Activists tell +972 that they want to challenge Israeli protesters to look beyond the far-right coalition and see the conditions that enabled its rise.

by Ben Reiff, +972 Magazine

Amid a sea of Israeli flags in downtown Tel Aviv last Saturday, carried by the more than 100,000 protesters attending the biggest anti-government demonstration in recent history, stood a pocket of protesters that looked rather out of place. For those marching past them all evening, they were impossible to miss — and that was the point.

Palestinian flags were waved aloft, while striking black banners were unfurled, bearing slogans such as “There’s no democracy with apartheid,” and “A nation that occupies another nation will never be free.” They chanted in support of the Israeli teenagers currently serving jail time for refusing to enlist in the army, and handed out flyers that concluded: “Instead of mourning a pseudo-democracy, let’s demand change from the root!”

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the official residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

An amalgam of dozens of independent activists, several established anti-occupation groups, and a contingent from the left-wing Hadash party, the “radical bloc” has grown larger and more prominent with each demonstration over the past three weekends, growing to a few hundred people on Jan. 21. And while their numbers may be dwarfed by the wider protest, their Palestinian flags and signs calling for decolonization have drawn the ire of both the main demonstration and the people they are protesting against — escalating to confrontations and physical attacks in every protest so far.

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