Last week in Jerusalem we attended an anti-Israeli protest, which was supposed to bring attention to the “occupation”. Before going into details, I should mention that I was anxious to cover a pro-“Palestinian” protest in Israel. My trusty Lonely Planet guide to Israel and the Territories warns me not to attend any protests, because they could quickly turn violent (which made them even more attractive).
Alas, the reality is much more boring than that. It looks like few people in Israel care about the issue. We finally caught a glimpse of a protest – I saw it from a taxi on our way to the Jerusalem market. Then we had to walk back for nearly 10 minutes to see it.
It was a rather depressing picture – we didn’t see any signs; there was no chanting and not a single Arab was to be seen (although there are plenty of them in the city). It was a dull event, with mostly older women dressed as badly as they were during their rebellious hippy youth.
The whole event had a striking resemblance with the mini-demonstrations in front of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto every Friday night – the same ancient hippies, who don’t want to admit even to themselves that their revolutionary days are long gone. At least in Toronto they are able to get a token Arab to stand with them and carry a sign.
They were confronted on the other side of the street by a group of students with Israeli flags.
However, despite the potential of a clash, the police were nowhere to be seen. Judging from the fact how cautious the Israeli police are to prevent terrorist acts or riots, it was obvious that those protesters didn’t have enough fire in them.
Our group was the only one to show any interest in their cause. We started to talk with them, but quickly found out that they expected us to speak their language of clichés, limited to “oppression”, “struggle”, and “liberation”. Every question requiring a rational answer was met with high-pitched cries of indignation, which resembled the screeches of a drunken squirrel.
In the top picture our friend Roberta (from JDL-UK) “suffers” the consequences of asking when the name “Palestinian” was used for the first time to describe the Arabs in the area. Not only didn’t the woman know, but she accepted it as a personal insult and was ready to get into a physical fight. That didn’t scare Roberta, who is a veteran of the fights with the Muslim fanatics and their lefty doormats. Later she told me that in England many colleges had prayer rooms, supposed to be “multi-faith”, but actually controlled by Muslims. Once she appeared at a college dressed like a Satanist and demanded access to the prayer room. After being refused, she threatened to sue them for equal access and only then she was allowed to perform her mock Satanic “ritual” under the hateful stares of the Muslims.
Zaza also tried to make his point, but his arguments were met with the same tired clichés, which should’ve died and been buried with the terrorist Arafat.
All in all, it was a boring event. It made me miss the Toronto protests, where those revolutionary leftovers have a little bit more adrenalin in them and with the police almost always near them, they feel as if they still matter…
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