Teaching Visitors to Say 'Occupation' in Hebrew

All That's Left, a newly formed leftist collective, is taking to the streets with visual and educational strategies to reshape how visitors think about Israel.

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On the 46th anniversary of the outbreak of the Six Day War, a dozen members of a leftist group gathered in front of the Jerusalem Municipality on Wednesday evening to “redraw” the Green Line and speak out against the continued occupation of the West Bank.

Members of All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective covered a long piece of butcher paper with green paint and distributed hundreds of flyers, in Hebrew and English, to passersby. In the flyers, they accused Israel of “systematically erasing the Green Line” and condemned several institutions—including the Jewish National Fund, Birthright, Masa and the Tikvah Fund—for being complicit in “the process of erasure.”

“The idea was to redraw the line and to raise awareness about what is happening in terms of inequality, injustice and land grab east of the Green Line,” said group member Emily Schaeffer, a native of Boston who immigrated to Israel in 2000. She noted that several people grabbed brushes and joined the protest.

Canadian-born activist Daniel Roth, who also participated in the action, tweeted about the response: “Some tell us that Palestinian children are all terrorists. Others yell support to us for speaking.”  He told Haaretz that police officers asked the protesters what they were doing and allowed them to proceed.

This was the second public action by members of All That’s Left, a diverse group of about 85 students, young immigrants from North America and like-minded Israelis who came together through word of mouth in January, according to Roth.

Last month, members of the collective and of the youth movement Hashomer Hatzair interrupted Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s speech at a Masa event, chanting “Diaspora Jews say ‘end the occupation.’” The group targeted Bennett for his “racist rhetoric” and opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state, according to a statement on the group’s Facebook page.

Roth stressed that the group does not have a formal leadership body and that decisions about protests are made by consensus.

Members have been spotted recently passing out leaflets at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv with the message, “Want to hear what they didn’t teach you on Birthright?” and “How do you say ‘occupation’ in Hebrew?”

“We’re specifically targeting visitors who are coming on programs and just starting up conversations,” Roth said.

On the All That’s Left Facebook page, which has over 500 “likes,” members have been posting articles about settlement growth and promoting “political” tours of Jerusalem and the West Bank. In addition, the page includes lists of recommended documentaries and books, including those by harsh critics of Israel such as Rashid Khalidi and Edward Said.

Kayla Zecher, 24, who lives in Jerusalem and participated in the protest on Wednesday, said she became involved with the collective because she felt Diaspora Jews were oblivious to the realities of the occupation.

“These right-wing organizations are so powerful abroad, and they promote a very narrow image of Israel,” said Zecher, a native of Pittsburgh. “I want the dialogue to get to a point where we can admit that we’re making mistakes and begin to talk about how we can fix them.”

A member of All That's Left symbolically repaints the Green Line in Jerusalem on June 5, 2013.Credit: A. Daniel Roth

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