_*AntiMcDonald's Daze in Israel
**16th October 2005
*/Some recent history, and a report of a highly successful day's protests
/(for pictures, see URL at the end)
McDonald's has been met in Israel with a certain degree of resistance
ever since it opened its first restaurant in Ramat-Gan (a Tel-Aviv
suburb) in 1993, when a group of Anarchists chained themselves to the
doors and blocked the entrance.
For some reason, antiMcDonald's sentiments here have revolved almost
exclusively around the issue of animal rights, and only in the last two
years or so are we seeing ecological, consumerist & health-oriented
groups joining the campaigns (the workers' angle is still missing, sadly).
In the early nineties, the "What's Wrong with McDonald's?" leaflet was
translated into Hebrew in a joint effort by the animal rights
organization "Anonymous" (nowadays a deradicalized, mainstream, somewhat
welfare-oriented organization) and an Anarchist group calling themselves
simply "Anarchist Movement".
However, the International AntiMcDonald's Day has been decently observed
only in the last 4 years, mainly through the initiatives of the Tel-Aviv
based group "One Struggle", a Human/Animal Rights Anarchist group quite
similar in character to "Greenpeace London". This group used to hold a
regular, weekly vigil in front of McDonald's for over a year (quite an
achievement in a place like this), and produced a better, more didactic
version of the Hebrew AntiMcDonald's flyer.
In 2003, One Struggle - with the help of other groups - organized a
critical mass bike ride through central Tel-Aviv, carrying signs and
stopping at various McDonald's restaurants to leaflet passers-by. The
bike ride, about 30 people strong, ended in a bigger demo outside a
central McDonald's restaurant, with 60-70 people carrying banners,
signs, setting up literature tables and serving free vegan food.
The 2004 event, although better organized and including vigils in
Israel's three main cities (Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem), saw a more
or less equal amount of people take to the streets, but was almost
unanimously ignored by all media (generally, it is worth noting that
Israel is a very political place as far as conventional Left/Right or
Nationalist politics are concerned, but it has a strong tendency to
downplay and brush aside more global issues, like McDonald's, which do
not fit neatly into Israeli Left/Right categories).
In 2005, during the weekend of the 14th-16th of October, we organized
the most successful Israeli antiMcDonald's Day yet.
In Tel-Aviv, where the main event took place, we gathered at noon in the
small garden on Shenkin st. - one of Tel Aviv's central streets, packed
with people on Friday afternoons - for a general antiMcDonald's
"happening". It included activities for kids (creative games, street
theater), free screen printing shirts with antiMcDonald's slogans, free
vegan food, information stalls, a big picture gallery displaying the
horrors of McDonald's connection to factory farming, pollution etc, and
more. After a couple of hours we marched - around 50-60 people - to the
nearby McDonald's restaurant on Shenkin st., with signs, bullhorns,
drums, banners and festive costumes, and from there to a second
McDonald's at Dizengoff Square. The number of passers-by who asked
questions and showed interest in our message was encouraging, and only a
handful of people actually entered the restaurants while we demonstrated
and handed out flyers outside.
After the Sabbath, on Sunday the 16th, there were antiMcDonald's vigils
in four different cities (Haifa, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba and Hertzliya,
where local Green Party activists joined the AR activists). All vigils
were well-attended, and coordinated by a new animal rights group called
Shevi (acronym of "Animal Liberation Israel"). In the evening, there was
free vegan food plus a screening of the documentary "McLibel 2005" with
Hebrew subtitles at the Salon Mazal Radical Infoshop in central Tel
Aviv, with a big turnout as well.
The most surprising aspect of the 2005 events, in complete contrast to
previous years, was a lot of national media attention regarding these
protests. The two major Israeli daily newspapers, Yediot Aharonot and
Ma'ariv, both ran articles about the events and the general worldwide
protests against McDonald's, in their printed as well as online
editions. Ma'ariv, the second largest newspaper in Israel, with hundreds
of thousands of readers, even devoted the main article of its Business
section, cover and all, to the protests. There were interviews with
activists on television programs - including one on channel 2, Israel's
leading channel - and also on several radio stations, including Galei
Tza'al's economic report (that's the IDF's radio station and the most
popular one in Israel).
We do not know what caused this minor media frenzy, but we tried our
hardest to take advantage of it, and are satisfied that a record number
of Israelies have now heard that there is indeed something very wrong
with McDonald's. The corporation, by the way, maintained a "no comment"
policy to all reporters regarding our actions and our claims.
All in all, we feel these events were fruitful, positive & enjoyable,
and that a crystal-clear message of resistance to the McDonaldization of
the planet was conveyed.
For pictures of the various Israeli 2005 vigils, flyers, posters, press
For a sample of Israeli mainstream media's report of the events:
(from the Yediot Aharonot site)
For more information, please contact One Struggle at:
firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.onestruggle.org
or Shevi at:email@example.com / http://www.free.org.il
---- the McLibel mailing list ----
McDonald's, McLibel, multinationals
get on: send blank mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
get off: send blank mail to email@example.com
help: send blank mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
human: send meaningful email to email@example.com
submit: send stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org
Email this story to a friend Printer friendly page
Submit News & Views