10/25/2016 Rally in Tel Aviv Against Russian Actions in Syria

As dusk fell on Tel Aviv, a few dozen demonstrators gathered on a street overlooking the beach, in front of the Sheraton Hotel. An unusual aggregate of people assembled — Jewish, Arab, Russian immigrant —many carrying Syrian flags, a country with which Israeli is officially at war. The group came together across the street from the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv, to declare that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. The group came together to demand that Russia stop their bombings in Syria. The group came together to demand the world stop the barbarity. They carried signs with pictures of Aleppo on one side and a picture of Picasso's Guernica on the other side. One of the speakers explained, Guernica was a Spanish town held by the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. It was the first town deliberately destroyed by Nazi German Luftwaffe bombings and the Spanish government. Guernica was first time aerial destruction of the a city was used as a military tactic and Aleppo is the latest example.

Elizabeth Tsurnev, a spokesman for the organizers of the rally, sponsored by "The Committee to Help the Syrian People" said: the “Russians are not only bombing to aid the Assad regime, but they are blocking any international efforts to stop his regime.” Assad's regime is committing war crimes daily against the people of Syria and thanks to Russia nothing can be done.

Furthermore, Tsurnev continued, the situation in Aleppo is getting critical. Last night, a baby died from starvation and the people of the city will soon face starvation as well. Elizabeth, who herself immigrated from Russia, said her grandparents had survived the seige of Leningrad by the Nazis in World War II. She had grown up on stories of what that was like, as well as the slogan “Never Again." Tsurnev proclaimed that as a Jew, she could not sit still while “Never Again” turns into "Again and Again." When asked if Israel should be doing more, she prevaricated, stating that any overt Israeli actions would be used against the Rebels. However, admitting that while Israel was helping along the border, it could still do more.

Demonstrators called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to pull back his cooperation with Russian leader Putin, proclaiming that an Israeli leader should not work together with a murderer like Putin.

Today’s Tel Aviv rally marks one of the few demonstrations that have taken place around the world to protest Russia's actions in Syria. By some accounts, as a result of their bombing, the Russians have now killed more civilians in Syria than all of the civilians killed by ISIS. The demonstrators had one message for the world — Putin is a dangerous man and the same way that ignoring the destruction of Guernica in 1937 did nothing to slow the march to World War II, ignoring the bombing of Aleppo will only lead to more violence and even greater war crimes in the future.

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