Protest in front of embassy in Tel Aviv
Against the slaughter of Tamils and the alliance of war-mongering Israeli and Sri Lankan regimes
Yasha Marmer. Maavak Sozialisti, Israel
On the 7th of April, Tnuat /Harakat Nidal Eshtiraki, the socialist struggle movement in Israel, organized a small but loud picket in front of the Sri Lanka’s embassy in Tel Aviv. The protest that was attended by a dozen of the movement’s activists and supporters was held as a part of the international day of action of the campaign against the slaughter of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
We came to protest against the brutal slaughter conducted by the Rajapakse regime in the north east of Sri Lanka but also against the support given to this regime by the Israeli Government that is heavily involved in weapons deals with the Sri Lankan Army. The two war-mongering regimes established strong diplomatic and economic ties in the recent decade. During these years the Israeli regime armed the Sri Lankan Army with jet fighters and missile ships among other weapons (as reported in the Israeli press). All those are being used now by the Rajapaske Government to conduct the same kind of war crimes that was conducted by the Israeli regime in Gaza and Lebanon. In March 2008 during the official visit of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to Israel, the Israeli Prime Minister back then, Olmert, gave his support to the murderous war in Sri Lanka by saying: “Concessions to terrorism will only bring the destruction of the [Sri Lankan] state”.
As opposed to the disgusting alliance between the murderous regimes, the protesters expressed their solidarity with the struggle of the poor and working masses in Sri Lanka that are being deprived of their most basic rights. On our placards it was written: “Stop the slaughter of Tamils”, “No to the siege – Not in Gaza; Not in north Sri Lanka” and “Arms sales to Sri Lanka – support of Murder”. Our chants called for the end of the war, for the dismantling of the prison camps, for immediate establishment of all democratic rights throughout Sri Lanka including the right of self-determination for the Tamil population. We also expressed our grave concern for the lives of our comrades in the United Socialist Party in Sri Lanka, who are facing harsh repression and death threats.
The Sri Lanka Embassy “greeted” the protest by calling the Israeli police, which had no legal grounds to stop the protest. Only after the police left, the ambassador, W.M. Seneviratne, was ready to meet one of the delegates of the protest, but the conversation with him was a waste of time. The only answer of the ambassador to questions about the slaughter and repression taking place in his home country was that it is just LTTE propaganda. Then he suggested that the war against the LTTE is just like the war of the Israeli regime against Hamas. In a sense that is true; in both of the cases the actions of the Hamas or of the LTTE was only a pretext for a slaughter which aims to make the Palestinians or the Tamils to give up the struggle for their basic rights. Our answer was that we oppose the slaughter in Gaza as strongly as the slaughter of Tamils in Sri Lanka. When the ambassador was asked to respond to the latest reports of chemical weapons being used against civilians in the Wanni, he told us that the Embassy will give an official response only to a written letter – clearly evasive.
The unpleasant meeting ended, but the protest went on. The answers given by the ambassador are nothing but lies, and we are determined in our struggle against the slaughter being conducted and for a genuine socialist democracy in Sri Lanka.
Pictures by “Menni Berman, ActiveStills”.