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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/24/14

Jerusalem: The Big Bongs Night - cannabis legalization demonstration

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OccupyTLV, April 20 - I have never been to a demonstration where everybody had a smile on their face. Starting on Saturday at midnight, people arrive with flowers in their hair, guitars, and bongs. The crowd was decidedly non-violent, numbering 1000-2000, all in a celebratory mood. Among the demonstrators were secular Jews, orthodox Jews, and even some Palestinians from East Jerusalem... 

Police was ready with armed military police, mounted police, militarized armored vehicle, and numerous plain-clothed policemen - ready to prevent a putsch. After all, the organizers had been detained a couple of days earlier on "sedition" charges. 
In most civilized societies "sedition" charges are reserved for incitement for violence in attempt to topple a lawful government... 

The event was originally scheduled for midnight till 4:00 am at the rose garden on the west side of the Knesset (parliament), where it would have bothered nobody. But police cordoned the whole area off. Therefore, the demonstrators gathered in the park on the east side of the Knesset. The demonstrators then to the northern entrance of the rose garden, next to the Supreme Court. 

There was chanting, dancing, music. 

From time to time plain-clothed police violently snatched a person who lit a bong. Mounted police repeatedly charged into the demonstrators, ineffectively trying to disperse them. 

By next morning, media reported that 10-30 demonstrators were detained.
Conduct of the Israel police was simply ridiculous. The attorney general guidelines are NOT to prosecute weed smokers. And the Israel police is notorious for its colossal failure in fighting organized crime and government corruption. Assassinations of crime figures in broad daylight in busy streets have become a routine. The former prime minster has recently been convicted for taking bribes, the former president is serving a prison term for sex crimes...  Judges were caught obstructing justice and falsifying court records, but were not prosecuted. 
The Jerusalem police itself is plagued with corruption as well.  The district commander was forced to resign under investigation of sex crimes, and a top officer was forced to resign under investigation of cover-up of the same.  
The Jerusalem police is also notorious for failing to prevent several events, which were described by Israeli media as lynching attempts by Jewish mobs against Palestinians. These events took place in the center of Jerusalem, minutes' walking distance from the central police station, in an area that is under constant surveillance by plain-clothed police and video cameras...
As part of the ongoing campaign for cannabis legalization, a protest guard is now sitting 24/7 in the center of Tel-Aviv, smoking in what they declared as "decriminalization zone". 
Whether cannabis is legalized or not is no longer material. The people refuse to comply with illegitimate, senseless intervention with their private lives. 
[1] 2014-04-21 JERUSALEM: The Big Bong Night (with Israeli pop/rock music)
[2] 2014-04-21 ISRAEL: Wake-up call for the Minister of Health by Cannabis Legalization activists
[1]  Thousands rally in Jerusalem for pot legalization
[2] 2014-04-21 Cannabis legalization Protest Guard sitting in Tel Aviv
[2] Ex-Jerusalem police head indicted for sexually assaulting colleagues
[3] Israel Police: Hundreds watched attempt to lynch Palestinians in Jerusalem, did not interfere
Joseph Zernik, PhD
Human Rights Alert (NGO)
* The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations was incorporated into the 2010 Periodic Review Report regarding Human Rights in the United States, with the note: "corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California". 
* The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations was incorporated into the 2013 Periodic Review Report regarding Human Rights in Israel, with the note: "lack of integrity of the electronic records of the Supreme Court, the district courts and the detainees courts in Is Israel".
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Dr Zernik's core research pertains to e-government and its significance for Human Rights and Civil Society.

His work won appreciation in Israel and abroad: * Prof Uzzi Ornan - "All power to you! I hope that you see your tremendous efforts (more...)
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