100,000 is nothing: The myth of Israel’s ‘mass anti-government protests’

Despite media hype, getting 100,000 people out to a protest in Israel in not unprecedented.

By Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Magazine

The media and assorted opponents are hyping the leftist rallies in Tel Aviv expressing opposition to judicial reform efforts by the new Israeli governments as being unprecedented.

They’re not.

While Israel is a small country, getting 100,000 protesters to come and assail the government, on any side, is really not very hard.

Here are just half a dozen examples.

A protest against Sharon’s disastrous disengagement from Gaza:

Israeli police estimated that 120,000 people filled Rabin Square on Sunday night, brandishing banners denouncing Sharon’s so-called “disengagement” plan.

Protests in favor of turning over Gaza to Hamas and ethnically cleansing its Jewish population:

Israel said yesterday it would intensify its military assault on the Gaza strip, hours after more than 100,000 people rallied in Tel Aviv to demand that Ariel Sharon follow through on his pledge to withdraw Jewish settlers from the territory.

Haredim protesting government school regulations could turn out 250,000.

The last haredi protest of a similar size and nature was in 1999, when the community protested against several Supreme Court rulings on religious issues, including a ruling that ended the exemption of haredi yeshiva students from military service. At that rally, some 250,000 members of the community turned out to protest.

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A rally demanding Olmert’s resignation topped 100,000.

Housing price protests topped 100,000. So did opposition to withdrawing from the Golan Heights.

Anti-government rallies of 100,000 or more might be a big deal in some places, but they’re common in Israel.

100,000 protesters in Israel is no big deal.

Anyone telling you this is an unprecedented public rejection of the government that, by the way, won the recent elections, is lying to you.

And most of the media’s lies depend on fooling people who don’t know a whole lot about Israel.