English Articles
The Far-Right ‘Flag March’ in Al-Quds is a Symbol of Hate, Not Nationalism
Hamzah Rifaat
Wednesday 12th of June 2024

The so called ‘march of flags’ in Al-Quds has a toxic history. Its supporters claim that the participants celebrate the ‘unification day’ of Al-Quds during the 1967 war.
 
 
The annual flag flying parade by far right, irredentist Jewish zealots in Al-Quds’s Old City has nothing to do with nationalism. Often projected by successive Zionist regimes as an expression of solidarity for the so called ‘reunification of Jerusalem’ that "Israel" achieved after the 1967 war cannot detract from the fact that the parade is a racist, vile, supremacist and totalitarian spectacle. It seeks to demonize, attack and maul Palestinians, and its messaging appeals to ultranationalist sentiment within "Israel". That sentiment is predicated upon ostracizing Palestinians as an ethnicity that needs to be eliminated from Al-Quds. 
 
The effects of the provocative parade in 2024, however, clearly points at how the disturbing trend of fascism witnessed in the previous years will continue as the genocide in Gaza reaches dangerous proportions. The simultaneous provocations from those claiming to be Jewish ‘activists’ is synonymous with Nazi Germany and its onslaught against the non-Aryan race.  
 
Contextualizing Nationalism as a Detraction from Fascism  
The so called ‘march of flags’ in Al-Quds has a toxic history. Its supporters claim that the participants celebrate the ‘unification day’ of Al-Quds during the 1967 war. In practice, far right Zionists brazenly negate the widely recognized historical and contemporary reality that the 1967 war followed a  prolonged military occupation  and sustained annexation of Eastern part of Al-Quds in the West Bank. It is hence, important to contextualize the bigoted, totalitarian parade by shedding light on how actual nationalism does not involve the displacement of an indigenous population nor does it constitute Zionist militias embarking on killing sprees as was witnessed in 1948. Nationalism leading to the creation of a neo-colonial project known as "Israel" is also not quintessentially nationalistic. In fact, it reeks of fascism. 
 
While the marchers claim that they are expressing solidarity for "Israel’s" so-called victory during the 1967 war, a closer analysis of the nature of the marches, the slogans used and the vitriolic abuse vented demonstrates that there this is more to the parade than what took place after 1967. The marches are not dissimilar to those during Nazi Germany. 
 
Its characteristics include the brazen deployment of anti-Arab slogans chanted by anti-assimilation organizations such as the Lehava and the Religious Zionism Party. This includes phrases such as ‘death to Arabs’, ‘may your villages burn’ and 'Islam is a false religion'. The route of the so-called march is also controversial as it cuts through the Damascus Gate into the Muslim Quarter which houses Muslim residents. Abuses are hurled and Palestinian residents attacked, with impunity. In 2021, a crowd of about 5,000 Israelis jeered with ‘Shuafat is on fire’, a horrific reference to the kidnapping and murder of sixteen-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdier who was set on fire by Israeli settlers in Al-Quds in 2014. The next year, some 70,000 zionists participated in a parade characterized by beatings and pepper spraying of Palestinian residents in the Muslim Quarter. The violence resulted in 79 Palestinian injuries while vandalism was reported in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. 
 
In 2024, nothing has changed. Amid the relentless genocide of the Palestinian population in Gaza, crowds waved Israeli flags and marched through the Old City’s Damascus Gate to the Western Wall. They also stormed Al Quds and attacked Palestinians by using anti-Arab slogans which reached a fever pitch and resulted in shutter-down strikes from the Palestinian population who were then ruthlessly attacked by settlers and zealots. These developments came under the watch of Zionist demagogue, Itamar Ben Gvir who took part in the march and unabashedly stated that Al-Quds belongs to Jews only. 
 
The alarming thing is that the March of Flags has witnessed its participation increasing over the years. From just a handful of zealots who were followers of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook in 1967, attendance in the contemporary era has swelled to around 70,000, predominantly young participants in 2022. The far-right Zionist Am KeLavi, a group that organizes the march, estimated that close to 100,000 participants took part in the 2024 parade which also includes families of hostages held by the Hamas liberation movement. 
 
This exclusionary and racially charged view of Al-Quds from the participants of the parade took a disturbing turn as journalists covering the ultranationalist show were systematically targeted. Similar to the Netanyahu government’s notorious massacres of international journalists exposing its genocidal machinery in Gaza, the far-right marchers beat Palestinian freelance journalist, Saif Al Qawasmi and abused, attacked and mauled local and foreign reporters. This is a blatant attack on those vouching for press freedom in the international community and is a point to ponder as the Israeli far-right shoots the messengers. 
 
The criminal silence of the Netanyahu regime on the March of Flags also points at culpability. There is a deliberate attempt to whitewash the bigotry on view as Al-Quds despite the city being rocked by communal, religious and ethnic violence. In some ways, that will be the case as the Netanyahu cabinet consists of far right, irredentist bigots who believe that waging war against an occupied population is the right of a Jewish state as is marching with Israeli flags and provoking Palestinians through murder and arson. 
 
What is evident however, is that the March of Flags has nothing to do with nationalism. It has everything to do with hate.  
 
 
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