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Israelis, Iranians meet in Berlin to protest war speak, Iran sanctions

  • Published 16:14 04.05.12
  • Latest update 16:14 04.05.12
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    Israelis, Iranians meet in Berlin to protest war speak, Iran sanctions
    Activists from rival countries to hold a joint
    demonstration against strike on Iran, say sanctions only strengthens
    regime and call for demilitarization of the Middle East.

    Roy (Chicky) Arad

    Following the success of the love
    initiative between Israelis and Iranians on Facebook, it's time for a
    face to face meeting. Israelis and Iranians attending a number of
    meetings in Berlin the last few weeks, due to produce a first joint
    demonstration on Saturday.

    The purpose of this demonstration is
    to protest against the voices calling for war, the sanctions imposed on
    Iran, and in support for a nuclear demilitarization of the Middle East.

    The organizers are eight Iranians and 13 Israelis, amongst them
    left-wing activists Itay Naor and Dana Rothschild. The meetings were not
    photographed because of concerns for the welfare of the families of the
    Iranian activists. For this reason, they also use aliases on Facebook.

    One of the organizers, 35-year-old scientist Gal Schkolnik, says she
    was very surprised they did not have any disagreements. "It's amazing.
    We simply agree over everything. We had some information gaps of each
    other's politics and history."

    The protesters of first
    Israeli-Iranian rally will assemble in Kreuzberg in Berlin, then making
    their way to Neukolln, there they will read a joint statement they wrote
    at the meetings. The statement can be found in the group's website in
    German, English, Hebrew and Persian. The demonstration's route was
    chosen for its diverse population, including Israelis, Palestinian and

    "The reactions are great," says Schkolnik, an active
    participant in Israeli-Palestinian anti-occupation demonstrations.
    Schkolnik even sent a message to Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah
    Khamenei using the Iranian branch of France Radio.

    According to
    Schkolnik, the local media is not so supportive. "The Germans fear us",
    she explains, "Israel is a taboo here, a burning potato that everyone
    ignores, especially after Gunter Grass was lynched. Germans have a
    primal fear of saying publicly anything negative regarding Israel." As
    for the public, Schkolnik says reactions are supportive. "People
    understand that we're protesting against things they don't agree with,
    like nuclear weapons, oppression, occupation, starvation."

    Disappointed, Schkolnik left Israel after the Second Lebanon War in
    2006. As a scientist, Schkolnik expertise is the electric fields in
    proteins. "I am supposed to write me thesis right now, but I am more
    focused on the protest, it burns in me."

    The clear majority
    among the organizers was female. Arzu, a 30-year-old academic from
    Tehran, said that "when the issue of attacking Iran rose, we asked
    ourselves what we can do. The escalation in the debate with Israel is
    helping the Iranian government because it diverts attention from
    protests to war."

    Arzu also talked explained Germany's part in
    the issue. "Germany supplies the Iranian regime, for example, with
    surveillance equipment used to break the resistance. When we heard of
    the delivery of a German nuclear submarine to Israel, it was too much.
    We felt we have to do something. We saw that our Israeli friends are
    dealing with it also, so decided to act together."

    "I always
    had Israeli friends," Arzu said, "but we never cooperated politically.
    We were surprised when we found that Israelis share a lot of our fears."
    Arzu heard of the Israeli-Iranian Facebook love campaign, but stresses
    that "this campaign was not political and did not face hard issues like
    the need to fight militarization and resist. We thought it was not

    Arzu said that the Iranians involved in the initiative
    are a part of the anti-regime movement in Iran. She adds that the
    protests in Iran were weakened as a result of the international
    sanctions aimed at the regime, achieved opposite results.

    "Calling off the sanctions is
    very important to us. Prices rose astronomically. My family has a hard
    time finding medicine. It is only possible to find some in the black
    market, which is controlled by Iran's security forces. In fact, they are
    the primary beneficiaries of the sanctions," he added.

    I tell
    her that the west thinks the sanctions will help to stop the Iranian
    nuclear program. Arzu explains that the opposition is the one getting
    hurt and that the unemployed have other things to be worried of than
    civil rights.

    "The sanctions will not help to stop a nuclear bomb, considering there
    is a plan to build one. Both Israeli and Iranian governments portray
    each other as a dangerous enemy, this way they divert the attention from
    internal issues. The regimes have to keep us in a state of emergency in
    order to control us. But I am certain the people will win, one day."

    "In both sides," agrees Schkolnik, "there is a regime which ignores the
    hard lives of its people and uses war calls as a way to strengthen its
    status and distract public opinion. In Israel, as in Iran, once there is
    war everyone salute and keep silent."

    Added: May-5-2012 Occurred On: May-5-2012
    By: ElegantDecline
    World News, Other Middle East
    Tags: Israel, Iran, War
    Location: Berlin, Berlin, Germany (load item map)
    Views: 1415 | Comments: 4 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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