Firstly, let me say that I am ever so glad I do not look Jewish. In any way. And that there should be brocha for that.
I spent all day Saturday at the Sabeel conference at Saint John's Presbyterian Church over in Berkeley. I'm Goyish enough that I can do so.
Secondly, I wish to also clarify that the gap between the Dutch Reformed and the Presbyterians is not just doctrinal. Presbyterians are, from the point of view of Shtrenge Dutch Calvinistim, a bunch of wussies and quislings. They've never had to fight for the life of their creed against a superpower. For them, being sneeringly disapproving is a luxury they take for granted.SABEEL
This is an organization that claims that it is " an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states-Palestine and Israel-as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions". Which means that they seek the destruction of Israel by appealing to the cotton wool between the ears of many ignorant Christians.
The conference I attended, advertised as "Breaking Down The Wall Of Silence: Voices We Need To Hear - a Sabeel Conference to inform and stimulate thoughtful action toward a just resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict", was organized by Friends of Sabeel.
It turned out to be a rather unsubtle attempt at brainwashing. And, in the case of many of those sweet little old Presbies, it probably succeeded.THE MORNING
Self-praising pro-Pal speeches by several people, including one by a smirking Roman Catholic priest from San Francisco.[I mentioned to a priggish female sitting next to me that my ancestors had fled Brabant five centuries ago to get away from Catholics and their violent self-righteousness, and here I was actually listening to one of those people pontificate! She looked daggers at me, moved several seats away, and avoided me for the rest of the day. And I feel good about that.]
High-minded jibber-jabber. Chris Brown draws several comparisons with Apartheid - like many South Africans, he acts like he owns the word. The Apartheid theme will be repeated ad-nauseum throughout the day, by every speaker, in every possible way.
He fought apartheid, now he's fighting Jewheid.
We're supposed to feel admiring yet sorry for him, or something.
Huwaida Arraf talks about going back to her parents land, and how her people are suffering. Emotions, emotions.... are we supposed to feel sorry again?[I think this was the woman who at previous hate-fests wailed that she couldn't go back to the town where she was born, until someone pointed out that she was from Cleveland....]
Nearly an hour of horrific images, including a short film of a demonstration being teargassed, with weeping children and wailing women, and charges by riot police in an orchard. Heavily edited, and without background information. Precisely calculated to draw gasps and condemnation from the audience. Who now feel indignant, and sorry.
This is followed by a passionate rant by Anna Baltzer, in which she states that settlements are colonies of the evil occupying population, whose inhabitants are impoverished Israelis, paid to reside illegally on land stolen from the Arabs. Subtle hint that the other Israelis don't want those poor folks too close, and in any case real people prefer to live in Tel Aviv. Asserts that the overwhelming majority of the settlers moved to the West-Bank for financial reasons (having been paid to do so), and that a lot of the settlements were founded as outposts on seized Palestinian land by violence-prone extremists.
Quotes: "Civilian settlers carrying around these HUGE weapons - a weird power dynamic
". -- "Palestinians
(forced to) abandon their ancestral homeland
". -- "A very violent settler attack
She also discourses about Zionists pillaging Palestinian villages and committing mayhem. The term she uses, if I remember correctly, is 'massacre'.
The gist is that settlers are violent Jewish brutes who outnumber and bully poor sensitive Palestinians.
She assures us that she is a good Jew, not like the others.THE AFTERNOON
All of the themes above were raised again during the keynote speech after lunch, by Phyllis Bennis, who, almost obscenely relishing the accusation, spoke about the "massacre in Jenin", asserting that the refugee camp was wiped off the map. She also accused Israel of trying to create an ethnically pure Jewish state - framing it in such a way as to draw a subconscious link with another such attempt at ethnic purity.SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS....
Nearly every speaker tried to convince us that they had nothing against Jews, many of their friends were Jewish, they loved Jews oh boy did they ever and what a pity that some of them refused to see the how right the Palestinians were and how wrong the Zionists but what else can you really expect from those people and in any case they themselves only speak to the sympathetic apologetic pro-Pally Jews nowadays, which is the Zionist Jews' fault, they started it and they are heartless, cruel, and calculating.
Subtle suggestions of Jewish plots, and too much Jewish influence in the halls of power, and in Christian churches. The Jewish establishment. The Jewish lobby. The Jewish censorship.
Subtle, in this case, means fairly blatant.
No mention, of course, of the Sfardic / Mizrahi exodus from the Muslim world. No mention of the barrage of Qassams. No mention of the unceasing attempts to kill Jews. No mention of anything that would provide context or perspective. Just an unceasing flow of anti-Israel rhetoric, from eight-thirty in the morning till lunch-time, and then for another hour afterwards, before the workshops on practical anti-Semitism and how to propagate hate...... oops, I mean the workshops on "Why Divestment Is the Best Method to End the Occupation" (by Fahad Abu-Akel, room 2005, from 2:15 PM to 3:15), and "Christian Zionism in Mainstream Churches" (by Rosemary Radford Reuther, room 200, from 3:30 to 4:30).
There were many other workshops. It was a veritable smorgasbord of love.PROTESTERS IN FRONT
A singular bright spot was seeing the O
lack silently protesting in front, as people were entering the grounds. At some point, a livid troll ran past screaming that he needed a felt-tip pen, he was going to make a sign warning people about the O
lack, because they weren't REAL Women in Black (correct, some of them had beards), they..... were..... EVIL ZIONISTS!!!
He never did get his warning-sign made. I wonder what he would've put on it. Perhaps "warning, may cause awareness of reality".BREAKS
I may have made a few intolerant Protestantish noises during the various breaks. It depends upon your point of view - if you were a Lutheran, I probably offended you. Not sorry.
And if you were the Anglican, you are probably still sick to the pit of your stomach. Again, not sorry.
I didn't notice any Baptists or Eastern Orthodox, so I'm not sorry there either. And as for the Methodists, not sorry, I'm sure you've got a sense of humour. How on earth could y'all still be Methodists otherwise? Well?
Once again, not sorry.
Y'all can be as sorry a bunch as y'wanna be. Not me.
During one of the breaks, as I was grabbing all the free literature that I could get my hands on off one of the tables, I made a snarky reference to that famous line by Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel......
"The world is founded upon FREE things.....".ATTENDEES, ACTIVISTS, ATTITUDES
Despite many of the attendees being clearly trusting and uncritical subjects for indoctrination (who, after all, really wants to believe that the passionate and friendly speaker is utterly evil?), there were some who were not pleased at the one-sided Israel bashing. A number of them left early. Perhaps the rough treatment they received from Palestinians dressed as IDF border guards acting out the checkpoints on the lunch-queue also got to them.
There were also enough pro-Palestinian activists floating around that critical comments were quickly and firmly dealt with. Enough true-believers that skeptics knew how unwelcome a realistic point of view would be. Room for only two kinds of attendees - the already convinced, and the going-to-be-convinced.
Much of the conference was a lot of hot-air about non-violent resistance, with an implied (and at least twice plainly stated) justification of the use of violence, because, after all, it's also a valid form of resistance. Non-violence is better public relations than an exploded bus.
But let us please not mention the bus. Or the pizza parlour.
I left at five o'clock, foregoing the last hour of indoctrination. I had been spotted by too many known elements of the other side at that point, and nearly ten hours of being the black man at a KKK convention was starting to wear a bit. Let's just say I needed to lift the sheet and get some fresh air. Plus, not having partaken of the lunch that was included in the admission fee, I had a screaming head-ache and a horrible attitude.
Well actually, I had the horrible attitude from the moment I got to Berkeley. Who am I kidding?
Oh, I nearly forgot! Cindy and Craig Corrie spoke tear-jerkingly about their daughter. What agony, what heartbreak, oh sniff. Who can forget the outrage generated by Rachel's unfortunate filmed accident? Just like that little fella hit in the crossfire that the French press showed the entire world, Rachel Corrie's demise has been the one story that more than any other (and there are always SO many others) proves conclusively how evil the Jews are and how virtuous the concerned pro-Pally side. As, I'm sure, they have already told you many times. Such selfless martyrs.
Labels: Berkeley cossacks, Israel, Pro-Israel action, Street Zionism 2007, XTIAN