Israel vs. The Rest, Part Three

A review of my experiences at yesterday’s pro-peace Rally, this is Part 3 in a series of posts on rallies related to what’s going on the Mideast. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Today, as I think about yesterday’s rallies, I am certain of three things:

1. The frequency of people tagging blogs with “Gaza,” “Israel,” and “Palestine,” has shot through the roof. Needless to say, not everything is newsworthy or even cogent, but at the very least, it does indicate an increased awareness.

2. In my next post, where I focus on what a rally really is, and what it really needs to entail, I’ll argue that the vast majority of the 10,000 people at the pro-Israel “rally” don’t know much about what they are supposedly rallying for. For now, I’ll throw this out there in support of why our protest was a real rally, and the other wasn’t:

No dialogue resulted from the other “rally.” It was just a bunch of guys on a podium shouting platitudes, with a bunch of people cheering. There was no working to bring about change. It was monolithic. Everyone even looked alike, as all were given “tzeva adom” (red alert) hats to wear. The organizer informed the multitudes that these hats were “a symbol that the missiles would stop falling, and the alerts would end.” Right. Hats. Why not take the money that was spent on the hats, and donate it to assist those lives in peril in southern Israel? That’s really advocacy. That’s real activism.

At our rally, there was dialogue (albeit hostile at times), that had the express intent of bringing about a change to the status quo in the Jewish community. We may not have changed people’s point of view, but we made it undeniably clear that this is not a black and white issue. We got attention from a wide variety of media and press, including Radio-Canada, who interviewed me in French when they heard I was Canadian. They all seemed mildly surprised that there could possibly be supporters of a “middle-way.” No surprise, given that much of the media was focused on the giant stage on 42nd Street.

3. Here’s a run-down of the colourful remarks hurled – by Jews – at me and others yesterday:

“You’re leading the way back to Auschwitz!”
“You’ll bring about another 9/11”
“You’re not Jewish! Take off your kippas! You’re not a real Jew!”
“There are no innocent civilians in Gaza!”
“Shame, shame shame!” (Repeat, ad nausea…)

Deeply hurt, I didn’t take any of these slurs personally. They hurt because they’re a stewing indicator of the inability of people to see beyond their own point of view. If there is a solution to the shit, it lies in people who are able to see beyond their limited horizons and outside of their borders.

While I’m not so sure I want to remember everything, I’ll have photos and video posted soon.

Next up, Part Four: Rallying the way to Victory


  1. C. Rosenberg says:

    It’s embarassing to see Jews hostile to debate and dialogue and making blanket statements like “there are no civilians in Gaza, etc..”. We have to be a people that fight for truth and justice instead of labelling an entire people our enemies without really understanding why they’re angry or without contemplating the possibility that we’re not always right. Its imperative that people understand all sides of the conflict. I find it difficult at this time to become critical of Israel with the immense backlash that the state is beginning to receive as it becomes more obvious that the military is expanding its operations, but we have to remember that it is really people, Jews and Palestinians, that are being killed, not some abstract, faceless ‘other’.

  2. jepaikin says:

    Wow, “C,” quite eloquently put. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for your insight. Good to know others are around. Truth and justice, indeed.

    B’emet v’tzedek.

  3. David says:

    If I ever get around to a coherent formulation of my thoughts on the issue, you’ll see that, this time at least, our politics differ substantially.

    Nonetheless, a larger principle is more important to me than political concerns of the passing moment. Your zeal to stand up and be counted on the issue, to look deep down and come up with – then express – your uniquely Jewish approach on the subject, and then to challenge the Jewish community’s status quo with it – publicly, in person – is beyond commendable. It took courage, and chutzpah, and cohones. All too often, those who find their ideas falling outside of the mainstream community are too easily sidelined to outside of the Pale. You didn’t. Yasher koach bro.

    And you draw a mean shin. A double yasher koach on that one.

  4. Dotan says:

    I will add my voice to David’s Yasher Koach’s. I know it’s not easy to try and voice a peaceful agenda while people are “dying” to see war.
    Trust me, it is not easier on this side of the ocean…

    If you feel like brushing your Hebrew, here are my thoughts following the last two anti-war rallies in Tel-Aviv:

    B’mehera B’yaminu, Amen…

  5. Kazi says:

    First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    Are you tension? panic?

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