Monday, July 17, 2006

Happy Shiny People

Lisa Goldman has written an account of yesterday's anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv, contrasting the "sullen curiosity at best, or outright hostility at (frequent) worst" of the right wing with the "sincere, goodhearted people" of the Left.

Well, let me tell you a story about another anti-war demonstration, this one last Friday in Jerusalem. I wasn;t there, but my son was, and I'll trust the accuracy of his reporting.

Friday my son was hitching back to Jerusalem, to spend Shabbat at his yeshiva, and the car that stopped picked up not only him, but a former elementary school classmate name Assaf Gavish. It let them out in front of the Kings Hotel in Jerusalem, across from a small plaza where an anti-war demonstration was taking place, near the Prime Minister's residence.

The boys got out of the car and saw the demonstration. "My friend," the Oldest Teen reported, "went a little crazy." He waded into the small crowd, yelling "What do you know about terror? What do you know about death? Have any of you watched your parents being slaughtered before your eyes?" You see, Assaf's brother, grandfather, and both his parents were murdered in their own home, with Assaf and other family members present, a few years ago.

So what did the "sincere, goodhearted people" of the Left do when this victim of terror told them off? They assualted him, verbally ("murderer" "fanatic" "Jewish terrorist") and physically. My son started towards them to intervene, but Assaf managed to break free and run over to the Prime Minister's residence guards and ask to file a complaint. The guards talked him out of it by agreeing to break up the demonstration.

Points to note:
1. For a kid from this area to go running to cops is almost unheard of. Cops, out here, are usually seen as biased, ad not in our favor. Today, with all the rocket, Kassam, and Katyusha attacks, with abandoned homes in the north being looted, with terrorists caught in one place and suspected in others, and with the possible kidnapping of another soldier, the police found time to break into a yeshiva, tear gas the students, and rough up the rabbi over an old police file. This isn't the first time they've played Cold Case when there were better things they could be doing, so no one local really trusts the Israeli police; if they were the better alternative, you can imagine what the worse one was.

2. For the police to break up a demonstration of the Left is nearly unheard of.

In the comments on her post, Lisa writes:
I guess if a country cannot "withstand" a few hundred people peacefully demonstrating, then its democracy is not very strong.

Well, I guess if the "sincere, goodhearted people," the "friendly, relaxed and open" leftist demonstrators cannot "withstand" a single 18 year old victim of terror telling them they're full of [I won't say what, but George W. Bush was caught using that word today], then their committment to peaceful demonstrations is not very strong, is it?

Knitting to clear the mind. Black bulky weight. On size 10.5 needles. In the round. Stockinette. Pictures? You don't need a picture. Just close your eyes and you'll see something close enough.


Jane Dark said...

Hugs, Moze. To you and Oldest Teen. I'm very proud of the fact that he was willing to attempt to step in to help his friend.

Lisa said...

Actually, if you will re-read my post with a little more care, you will see that I am equally critical of the hypocrisy shown by both the left and right.

Lucy said...

Oh, was all over the news yesterday what G. W. was caught saying when the mic was on. Go figure! Stay Strong, Moze! (close eyes) Oh, the knitting is lovely....(open eyes)

Moze said...


I did read, and re-read, your post with care. I can't see anything "equally" critical of both sides. You do call one left wing demonstrator a "nutter" for wearing a Stalin T-shirt, and then you write:
But then they chanted something a bit odd:

????, ????, ???? ?? ????

Soldier, listen, it is possible to refuse.

Hmm.... The last time I heard that chant was during the right wing anti-disengagement demonstrations last summer (every summer a new crisis, it seems). Those demonstrators were encouraging soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate Jewish settlers from Gush Katif; they were roundly condemned by the political centre and left for mixing politics with military matters and for encouraging soldiers to disobey orders. And now these leftist demonstrators were doing the same thing, but for a different reason. Which goes back to my pet theory - that there is not much difference between the extreme left and the extreme right.
But then you follow it up immediately with an "except."

Except what?

When I interviewed right wing extremists before, during and after the disengagement I was inevitably met with sullen curiosity at best, or outright hostility at (frequent) worst. But these leftist demonstrators were friendly, relaxed and open. Even when a nutty old woman walked up to a young couple - she pregnant, he holding their toddler in his arms - and said to the woman, "You're a lesbian! We don't need any more homos in this country! And habibti, the Arabs only understand one thing: force."

So, let's sum up, shall we? Calling for refusal to serve is not a good thing. There is not much difference between the extreme left and the extreme right, except that the extreme left is "friendly, relaxed and open" while the right is sullen, hostile, and nutty.

You may be equally critical of one particular message espoused by both sides, but you only launch ad hominem attacks against one side.

muse said...

Why wasnt' this in the news?!

Horrid and the police worse!!!!