Why Israeli Americans are protesting Netanyahu's visit to the Bay Area

ByLena Howland, Cornell Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Why Israeli Americans are protesting Netanyahu's visit to the Bay Area
Protests are happening around the Bay Area as activists are upset over a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Protests are happening around the Bay Area Monday as activists are upset over a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many gathered outside Mineta San Jose International Airport Monday morning. Protests are also being held at the Fremont Tesla Factory, and Union Square in San Francisco.

Netanyahu is meeting with Elon Musk and some AI companies in Silicon Valley -- before heading to New York for United Nations meetings.

Those gathered were waving Israel flags and signs protesting against the Prime minister.

"This leadership is not transparent, it's corrupt, and it's anti-democratic," Nitzan Levy, a New York resident said. "In Israel, we do not have a constitution, the only checks and balances on the government are the Supreme Court judges."

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Levy, who holds dual citizenship in America and Israel is here to demonstrate all the way from New York, she's speaking up for friends and family who can't.

"We already see how human rights are being revoked on a daily basis throughout all these amazing demonstrations my fellow Israelis are doing every day in Israel and I'm concerned," she said.

Protesters then moved to Tesla's factory in Fremont, where Netanyahu met Musk, the leader of X, formerly known as Twitter, who is facing accusations of tolerating anti-Semitic messages on his social media platform.

Rabbi Paula Marcus out of Aptos explains.

"Because Elon Musk has been attacking the Anti-Defamation League, and he has been permitting back onto the platform, people who are blatantly anti-Semitic, and this is what this government is doing, meeting with Elon, going to Hungary, going to places where anti-Semitism is rampant," Marcus said.

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It's a fight Ooori Zernik has become all too familiar with.

"He'll go down in history as one of the standouts in destroying Israel assets, Jewish assets," Zernik said.

He spent the first 10 weeks of Netanyahu's administration holding demonstrations across Israel before coming back to California.

"We identify with our families in Israel, our heart is with people who live there and that's their home and there's nothing they can do, just have to keep going on with their lives so that's our chance to show them that we identify," he said.

The Jerusalem Post reports that prominent Jewish organizations in San Francisco sought to arrange a meeting with Netanyahu during his visit about the rise in anti-Semitism but their offer was declined.

The Prime Minister's office said his west coast schedule had already been arranged.

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