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'I came here for therapy, to be with other people who feel the way that I do'

At Tel Aviv protest, showing that ‘love Trumps hate’

Around 500 American-Israelis demonstrate outside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, as part of worldwide women’s marches

Protesters outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on US President Donald Trump's first day in office on January 21, 2017. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)
Protesters outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on US President Donald Trump's first day in office on January 21, 2017. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Among the 500 demonstrators outside of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, the star of the show was Sela, a one-eyed German shepherd mix sporting a t-shirt proclaiming her a “Nasty Bitch.” The demonstration, organized by Pantsuit Nation Israel, was part of anti-Trump marches and demonstrations across the world.

“We were watching the rally in DC before we left, and we were trying to think of what to do,” said Sela’s owner, Julia Magid, a pre-school director from New York who has been in Tel Aviv for four years. “All of my family and friends are at the march in DC and it felt important to come here. Watching the inauguration made me feel infuriated, angry, and frustrated. But there are pockets of optimism and hope, and watching the rally today was one of them.”

Josh Banks, 17, a new immigrant from London who will be drafted into the army soon, was attending his first political protest along with his host family from Kibbutz Azoria. “I think Trump’s a bit of an ass and he’s not nice to neighboring countries,” said Banks, whose sign read “I’m a Brit and I thought Brexit was bad.” Banks said he wasn’t sure about the impact of the protest, but it was the best he could do.

“I’m putting a smile on people’s faces, and that’s already a point against Trump,” he said.

Julia Magid, owner of Sela, a one-eyed German shepherd mix named after a Viking Warrior princess, at the Tel Aviv women‘s march on January 21, 2017. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)
Julia Magid, owner of Sela, a one-eyed German shepherd mix named after a Viking Warrior princess, at the Tel Aviv women‘s march on January 21, 2017. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Ayelet Shuber, one of the event organizers and a spokeswoman for Pantsuit Nation Israel, said she was pleased with the turnout. “It’s an opportunity to really express a position to the Trump administration, [to show] that love Trumps hate,” she said, pun intended. “Also, many Israeli-Americans don’t support Trump and certainly not most Jews.”

Pantsuit Nation Israel sold shirts commemorating the march at cost, and quickly ran out.

"Trump, Trump, bist a shrek, Donald Trump gay avek!" is Yiddish for "Donald Trump, you‘re a terror, Donald Trump go away!" one of the chants heard in the crowd on January 21, 2017 at the Tel Aviv women‘s march. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)
“Trump, Trump, bist a shrek, Donald Trump gay avek!” is Yiddish for “Donald Trump, you‘re a terror, Donald Trump go away!” That was one of the chants heard in the crowd on January 21, 2017 at the Tel Aviv women‘s march. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

“I’m embarrassed to be an American right now. There has to be someone better than Trump, who is a sexual predator, misogynist, and Islamophobe,” said Pamela Azaria, a Ramat Hasharon resident who works at a software company.

Many of the protesters at the rally held signs protesting the Occupation, and advocating for Palestinian rights along with women’s rights.

Azaria, along with many other protesters, dismissed the idea that Trump is somehow “better for Israel,” but from a different part of the political spectrum.

“I’m happy he’s not going to criticize the settlements. [Politicians] use settlements as an excuse. but [settlements] re not what’s held up the peace process,” she said. “I’m nervous about the embassy moving to Jerusalem. I’m afraid of the violence that will follow.”

Like many demonstrators, Azaria had family and friends marching in the US, including a sister in Boston, and she came to show her support, and also for personal reasons. “I came here for therapy, to be with other people who feel the way that I do.”

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