Tuesday, June 05, 2007


That should be rule number one. Our side's rather crappy slogans become infinitesimally worse when Borat has good volume and yells something strange and unintelligible.
Once one finally figgers out what the heck he's hollering, one wonders what the heck is in his mind, oy I'm telling you.

[This posting, in case you're already baffled, is about the anti-Israel demonstration in front of the Federal Building mentioned in my previous post, and about our pro-Israel counter-demonstration.]

Rule number two should be that if the other side can't give more than two-days' notice of their intent to publicly demand the destruction of Israel, we probably shouldn't show up.

For several reasons.

With only 24 hours advance notice they themselves will not have a significant presence - two dozen angry hairy people simply look rather silly, and will not really influence anybody who hasn't already been lost to civilization.

Another reason is that when we have to organize a counter-protest that rapidly, we will not have a significant presence, and we'll only irritate the cops. That is not a good thing.

Additionally, with less than a dozen people, we don't have enough rhetorical cohesion to keep on the same message, and some of our more extreme partisans may vocalize statements which leave some of us shaking our heads in despair.

Personally I'd rather have the eccentric hollering coming from the other side. Their extremism and spiteful hate can make us look good. Loud crazy bloodlust can be their worst advertising.

A third reason why we should perhaps let the other side's spur-of-the-moment actions slide is that if there are not a lot of people on either side, the SFPD will not be out in force. There are some sonei-Yisroel among the ranks, who at these smaller events tend to throw their blue-garbed weight around, and clearly adhere to a double standard, whereas when there are at least two dozen cops present, there are enough of them who are either neutral or on our side to ensure that the excesses of the pro-Palestine radicals will be dealt with, and the treatment of the pro-Israel side will not be blatantly biased.
Enough senior officers and potential witnesses to ensure a diplomatic even-handedness in any case.


I got there before everyone else, and wondered if I had the right time and place. Our sanest member showed up shortly after, followed by two or three other sane people. Soon we were augmented by two or three Borat, and a few others who were in between balanced and utterly Boratic. By three o'clock we had swollen to a mass of maybe ten people (Borat quotient: 30%).
The anti-Israel side by that time consisted of about twenty-five people milling about before the Federal Building and blocking the entrance, where they proceeded to unfurl banners and speechify.

We went over and stood next to them.

At this point, Boratic slogans were shouted, and their camera-toters swung into action. One young lady, possessed of both arrogant self-righteousness and impressive brazenness, came and took close-up photos of all of us. Some of the other photographers on their side were more particular about taking pictures of us from a few yards away, though clearly not because of any sense of bashfulness or good taste; one of them hissed at one of our members that he would be put on a death list.
We also took a number of pictures of them, even following the young lady with the impressive brazenness around and trying to get a picture of her face...... hard to do, because she really did not want to be photographed.

[Other than that repulsive smirking sneer on her face, she really was well worth photographing. But man, that brazenness! Impressive! Kudos, bitch, kudos!]

By three-thirty the police showed up, and insisted that both groups get off the plaza and onto the public sidewalk. It became apparent that the men in blue were more concerned about riling up the pro-Pals than about offending our sensibilities - the numbers and cameras may have had something to do with that, as well as the lack of diplomacy of our various Borat.

[We really have to be more in charge of our several Borat - they go off half-cocked at times.]

Both groups continued their respective actions on the sidewalk in front of the building, under orders from the police to keep to their assigned areas. Which, effectively, gave the advantage to the sonei-Yisroel. And while some of the police were polite, friendly and extremely reasonable, they were eventually joined by one officer who every time he passed by our group barked that we should not block the sidewalk. When we pointed out that the other side was allowed to block their entire corner, he snapped that they weren't blocking the sidewalk, we were.

[The other officers chilled somewhat towards us after his arrival. Group solidarity or something. It did not help that two or three of our Borat made snide remarks about double-standards and attempts to push Jews back into the Ghettoes. While those may have been the operative principles, most policemen will not break down and say 'sorry' when confronted with 'attitude', and many of them probably do not automatically think of the Jewish context of the word 'ghetto'.]

By four thirty we decided to "declare victory and go home". Sang Hatikvah, sounded the shofar, furled our banners and packed our signs, and headed off.

As I explained to a friend who was there, our task is merely to irritate the other side by our presence, and make sure that we are visible - no actual dialogue takes place, no minds are changed, no worthwhile rhetorical battles won. Especially if there is no news media present.

This will not be in the paper, though it may show up on the usual Israel-hating websites.

Probably just as well. The local news media do not report these events accurately and tend to blandly blather about both sides making their point blah blah blah. Even when the other side is screaming for the death of Jews, the Chronicle will at best merely state that passions were evident, while the ten o'clock news will show a reporter saying something inane against a background of inoffensive milling about in the distance and Frank Chiu maneuvring his twelve galaxies sign into camera range in mid-view.


Final note I: "Al mawt al Hezbullah, al mawt al Hamas", while being excellent slogans, are largely useless, as many of the Bay Area Israel haters do not speak Arabic, even if some of them have parents who do.

[Translation: "Death to Hezbullah, death to Hamas". I must thank Sheikh Nasrallah and his folks for the pattern of those slogans - if it weren't for video of his Shiites screaming similar stuff in Beirut last summer, I would not have thought to construct these phrases. My Arabic is not good enough to do more than hijack their rhetoric.]

Final note II: The area around the Federal Building has few pedestrians, and is a ghastly wind-tunnel besides. If we do any more of these 'one-day forewarning' actions, let's only do it if the bastards are going to be in front of the consulate or at Montgomery Street Bart Station. That way more of us can show up, and we can effectively hand out our flyers and engage passers-by in discussion, even if there are the usual Israel-hating ultra-left bigots among the pedestrians. The IHULBs tend to be less loud in their hate when there are more people around.


Jack Steiner said...

Sounds like one hell of an event. ;)

The back of the hill said...

Or an event from hell. It depends on your "entertainment" thresh hold.

For purposes of this conversation, entertainment thresh hold and pain thresh hold are the same.

I haven't developed the photos yet. I'll do that before this Saturday's hate-filled vigil at the Grandlake.

Anonymous said...

Pain, pleasure - difference?

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