Read an essential account of the action by Moriel Rothman, friend and very awesome writer, activist, and poet. The shorter version is at +972 Magazine.
The Press Release
May 9, 2014
Jerusalem — On Friday afternoon, members of the All That’s Left collective simulated an “occupation” of the Machane Yehuda market,Ben Yehuda Street, and Zion Square in protest of the Israeli occupation. The group put on a street theater performance in which they unfurled American flags and proclaimed the American conquest of the areas, explaining that Israelis would henceforth be forbidden entry without a permit. The action was motivated by the new settlements recently established on Salah Ed-Din street in East Jerusalem and in the Old City of Hebron.
Activists simultaneously distributed hundreds of flyers (see above), which highlighted the day-to-day realities of occupation in both East Jerusalem and Hebron. Reactions from the audience, which included three Birthright trips, ranged from physically aggressive to curious and confused. Most people displayed a negative visceral reaction to the implication that Israelis should be barred from their own public space. With time, many understood the ironic intent of the message: “I think they’re protesting the occupation,” said one American tourist. “What’s that?” responded his friend.
All That’s Left is a collective unequivocally opposed to the occupation and committed to building the Diaspora angle of resistance. The collective generated attention in the past when its members interrupted Naftali Bennett during his keynote address at the MASA Israel mega-event, when they drew the Green Line on the internationally recognized boundary between East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem, and when they were arrested in Hebron for studying Torah and protesting segregation on Shabbat Hayei Sarah. Regarding today’s action, ATL member Leanne Gale said, “As an American Jew living in Israel, it was shocking, intimidating, and saddening to be treated so aggressively by my peers on Birthright, simply for attempting to raise awareness about the occupation.” "We got Taglit-Birthright participants talking about the daily experience of Palestinians. If that's not a success, I don't know what is," commented Roi Bachmutsky, another ATL member.
Contact info available upon request.