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ISRAEL: New peace campaign uses version of Israeli flag; not everyone's happy

April 19, 2010 |  8:00 am

Tired of hearing only Avigdor Lieberman? It's time to sound another voice, says Peace Now, the veteran left-wing NGO. In a campaign timed for Israeli independence day starting Monday evening, the organization invites people to "wave the flag of peace" this year and call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "change direction and say 'yes' to the diplomatic process."

The "peace flag" has replaced the Star of David with the word "peace." Not everyone's happy.

Legislator Ophir Akunis, of Netanyahu's Likud party, was quoted in newspapers as saying the organization had removed itself from Israeli society's "sane discourse" and that its campaign proved it was an extreme organization determined to undermine every Zionist and Israeli symbol.  

Shelly Yechimovitch, a Labor legislator, rejects the campaign too. Not for political reasons -- she's pretty much aligned with Peace Now's positions on the Palestinian issue.  The former journalist, who for years carried the causes of social justice and workers' rights, calls the campaign hypocritical and unpatriotic: The flags are made in China. They must have been so busy with concerns over peace that they forgot their basic commitment to justice, Yechimovitch wrote on her blog (in Hebrew). If someone wants to claim state symbols for themselves, she wrote, it's better to contribute to Israeli employment and abstain from unjust employment practices elsewhere, she writes.

Among Yechimovitch's nominees for this year's "flag of hypocrisy" is the Eldan car-rental company, which is giving out blue-and-white T-shirts with a logo based on the Israeli flag, with a heart in the middle. Made in Turkey.

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

Image: The "flag of peace." Credit: Peace Now website