Tag Meir (Light Tag) is a grass-roots organization founded in 2011 which works against racism in Israel.
Wherever there is racism, and in particular religiously motivated racism, Tag Meir seeks to expose and counteract it. Tag Meir seeks to transcend religious divides, enlisting support from across the Israeli spectrum, from secular through Reform and Conservative to Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox. Tag Meir seeks to highlight and publicize the outstanding anti-racism work undertaken every day in Israel by a multitude of organizations and individuals. In addition, Tag Meir sees the battle against racism as also a part of a campaign to support democratic values, and the very traditional Jewish values of loving our neighbours and justice for all.
Tag Meir works in partnership with a forum of like-minded organizations and institutions in Israel, from the social justice-focused New Israel Fund to Jerusalem's religious and cultural institution Beit Avi Chai. Our partner organizations help to direct the work of Tag Meir, and to publicize its events, many of which are held at short notice following racist attacks.
The name Tag Meir was coined in response to the name Tag Mechir, Price Tag. In recent years, a small percentage of extreme right-wing settlers have chosen to respond to what they perceive as discrimination against them by the Israeli government by performing acts of violence and desecration against Arabs, Christians and minority groups in Israel and the territories. The settlers label their attacks Tag Mechir, Price Tag, with the intention of sending a coercive message to Israel's government: this is the price you pay for failing to support our cause as we see fit. For example, in 2011 a mosque was burned in a formerly peaceful town near Hebron. In 2012 an Arab taxi cab near the West Bank town of Bat Ayin was fire-bombed, injuring its driver and passengers, including young children. And in 2012 the door of a Christian monastery at Latrun, just outside Jerusalem, was burned, and walls were spray-painted with offensive graffiti.
Whatever their politics, the majority of Israelis oppose acts of violence against innocent people who are being used as pawns in a political fight that has little or nothing to do with them. Tag Meir offers these Israelis the chance to voice their opposition and publicize it to those who need to hear: the victims, Israel's government, the general public, and the world beyond Israel who care about what happens here.
After the burning of the mosque near Hebron, Tag Meir organized a delegation of people to visit the town, apologize to its residents and religious leaders, and offer material support. After the fire-bombing of the taxi-cab at Bat Ayin, Tag Meir organized a delegation of supporters to meet near the site and visit the victims in Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem, just outside Jerusalem. After the desecration of the monastery at Latrun, Tag Meir organized an on-site demonstration of solidarity with the victims and protest against the attackers; the five hundred people who attended listened to music and speeches by representatives of the monastery and Jewish leaders from across the spectrum: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.
Tag Meir's work extends well beyond responding to Tag Mechir. In 2012, following the riots against African refugees in South Tel Aviv, the home of Eritrean refugees in Jerusalem was fire-bombed. Tag Meir organized a protest nearby and helped the family with material support. In 2012 an Arab teenager was lynched Jerusalem's city centre for no reason other than being an Arab. Again Tag Meir protested nearby.
Tag Meir was at the forefront of protests [link to article] against the publication by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi of the invidious and inflammatory Torat Ha'melech (The King's Law), a book which sought to justify religiously the killing of non-Jews by Jews.
Representatives of Tag Meir are frequently invited by national newspapers to comment on racially motivated violence and destruction. This aids Tag Meir in the publicizing of racist attacks in Israel and the responses to them. Israeli citizens and those abroad who care for Israel's welfare, can now know the extent of the problem and will add their voices to those demanding a government to responce to this poison in our midst.