Monday, July 17, 2006

More Fun Than A Land War In Asia

So now that I'm on the SFVoiceForIsrael mailing list, it came to my attention that there was gonna be a 'Jewish-led' protest at the Israeli Consulate in SF, at noon today, against, um, well, everything Israel has done for

1. The last month
2. The last forty years
3. The last sixty years
(you choose)

and that people were invited to counterprotest. So I went.

It was, and this is not exactly the word I expected to use, lots of fun. I was surrounded by upset Jewish activists, there were flags and police barricades all around, and people were yelling at us that we were enemies of peace. We sang Hatikva. It was exactly like the Soviet Jewry rallies of my childhood in some ways. I had a very good time. Is that sick? It's much more cathartic to wave a flag and scream 'Hezbollah out of Lebanon' and 'Am Yisrael Chai' than to read the papers and get more and more worked up.

Some Notes:

1. In theory this protest was a brainchild of Jewish Voice for Peace and some outfit called Jews for a Free Palestine, who do not seem to have a website. Clearly, there were some other people involved. Many of the protesters were waving A.N.S.W.E.R. signs. Palestinian flags, and one or two Lebanese ones were being waved vehemently. There was only one sign bearing JVFP's name.

2. This group may want to get together more to discuss their agenda more clearly. One sign demanded a return to the pre-67 borders, but during the chanting there were several rounds of "From the river to the sea..." Also the thing about redeeming Palestine with blood and fire, which is the only nonreligious, nonfood piece of Arabic I understand.

3. The media were being dopes. One woman snarled something about killing all the Arabs, and was immediately descended on by Channel 7, and miked. Channel 7 was then surrounded by non-homicidal protestors demanding a chance to speak and balance the homicidal protestor. Then the non-homicidal protestors were descended on by the JCRC representative, who wanted to be the voice of the community, although this was not actually a JCRC demo. Tohu vavhohu, LIVE!

4. A sweet older lady walked up to me and started to talk about how the two flags should be together, for PEACE, and how I just needed to cross over and extend the hand of peace and friendship to the kid flapping his 'I voted for Hamas' shirt at us. I expressed some doubts, and she told me that if I thought like that, then of course it wouldn't happen. Wished to hammer her on head with flag, but was better brought up than that, also Channel 7 still lurking.

5. What is it with very pale white girls with scary intense eyes wearing khaffiyehs? There were a couple of Arab guys wearing them around their shoulders, and one girl who had something in a check pattern tied over her hair, under her scarf. Then there were the very very white kids, mostly female, all with mad, staring eyes (I'm not making this up, it was sort of frightening) wearing khaffiyehs wrapped around their heads, in that sort of mask style you see stone-throwing types wearing it in photographs, but bare-faced. (The better to yell.) I couldn't help but wonder what the hell this meant to them. Combining cultural appropriation and cross-dressing seems particularly odd. Nowhere did I see a Palestinian man wearing a khaffiyeh on his head, which I think is what it was originally for, and which looks a darn sight more normal.

6. I discussed with the person next to me what the equivalent for our crowd might be of the insane khaffiyeh style. The only thing I could come up with was the silly kibbutznik hats (tembels? timbas? urkels?) and they're not flattering. I suppose the exact equivalent would be for me to wear a black fedora, Somehow I don't think so.

7. Lots more happened.

I don't know if this did any good in the world, realistically speaking, but it felt right.


The back of the hill said...

I have often felt that I should wear my fedora to these events.

Problem is that it is blue, Balkan-style (purchased from a Croat at a flea-market in Amsterdam), and I would look ridiculous wearing it to a protest.

I'm thinking of purchasing a Hhassidic gangsta Borsalino for just these events. Or maybe an IDF kippah.


Check it out !

You'll be glad you did !

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Glad I could let you know about the counter-demo :)

If you have any more info that should be publicized quickly - please let me know.

Have a wondeful Shabbat!


parcequilfaut said...

Balabusta --

White girls in kaffiyehs? Hunh?

Now I will admit that I own an Indian-style salwar keemis (and that I got my best buddy his own kurta) despite the fact that we are both white as the driven snow, but we wear them to go to the Hindu temple, not to protests. And I don't wear the kurta, even though it is super-super-comfy.

Hunh? I dongeddit.