Likud Activists Form Their Own Tea Party Movement

Party's right flank protests the peace process and the proposed freeze on settlement construction.

Likud activists who oppose the settlement freeze have set up a protest movement against the peace process and the continued construction moratorium in the West Bank. The group is modeled after the far-right conservative Tea Party movement in the United States.

The Israeli group will hold a rally Sunday at the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv, under the banner "Saying No to Obama," where they plan to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy and the American pressure on Israel to renew the settlement construction freeze.

danon - David Bachar - October 28 2010
David Bachar

Likud activists said yesterday that their Tea Party will be the opening shot in their efforts to stop the peace process entirely. They said Israel's commitment to negotiations stems only from inertia and habit, rather than a real need or interest on Israel's part.

Knesset members Danny Danon, Ayoob Kara and Yariv Levin are among the Likud lawmakers who have agreed to participate in Sunday's rally. Former MK Michael Kleiner, who initiated the event, believes it will trigger a popular wave of protest that will counter U.S. President Barack Obama's pressure on Netanyahu and prevent the freeze on construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem from being continued.

On the Facebook page set up by the group's activists, they wrote that the decision to form an Israeli Tea Party came from a deep sense of frustration with what they see as a political vacuum in the right wing.

"We believe there is no buffer on the political map separating leaders from making decisions on the peace process that are disastrous and dangerous to Israel," the activists wrote.

"The Iranian nuclear issue is also only a guise to weakness and allows us to be dragged into making 'gestures,' and enacting conciliatory policy and concessions in negotiations with someone who, apart from promising terror, cannot give us a thing," the group's Facebook page says.