Friday, April 28, 2006

Violent Rally for Peace

After my plans for this weekend fell through in a rather tragic manner, a friend of mine from camp politely asked me if I wanted to accompany her to a rally in Washington, DC.

Do I?

Of course I do!

I haven't done anything activist-y since high school. At my very first rally, a anti-war protest in DC, I dragged my father along. He was reluctant to go, but plodded along like a trooper. And thank goodness he came.

What I hadn't realized about this rally was that it was run by International ANSWER, which very liberal, very pacifist, very anti-Israel. We quickly figured this out when, instead of cries for peace and love from the podium, we heard a violent diatribe against Israel's policies and existence.

And the banners! The banners! Around us, people carried signs that advocated anti-Zionism, anti-Israel, and even straight-up anti-Semitic actions and ideas. This rally came soon after a comment made by Virginia Representative James P. Moran in March of 2003, effectively blaming the American Jewish community for the war in Iraq.

If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war in
Iraq, we would not be doing this... The leaders of the Jewish community are
influential enough that could change the direction of where this is going, and I
think they should." Rep. James P. Moran (D-VA), March 2003

Throughout the day, I saw signs with the words "Moran was right!" emblazoned in thick letters. With the cantankerous attitude that has come to describe all of my actions, I pulled the Star of David necklace out from beneath my shirt and threw a Hebrew T-shirt on over my clothing. I was lucky that I wasn't beaten up.

Speaking of being beaten up, the anarchists, common little vermin that infest any protest, were out in full force that day. Dad and I watched in horrified fascination as a masked mob surrounded on beleaguered Washington police officer, abusing him verbally. My father, the consummate cop, shoved me to the ground and pulled out his cell phone to call 911. He later said he was rather surprised that shots hadn't been fired that day. (Interesting enough, these anarchists attacked the World Bank later that day. Busy little people, no?)

My friend says that Sunday's rally should be an interfaith event, not run by ANSWER. Thank goodness. A rally for peace in Darfur should not be perverted by hateful people who confuse conflict for peace.


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