On Sunday, it rained in L.A., ruining everybody’s afternoon. My afternoon was ruined for other reasons. I had to work. On assignment from the Jewish Journal, I went to cover a rally in Westwood.
On one side of the street where the rally was held, a small group of people criticized Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians.
Opposite, a larger group of about double the size showed up to respond, provoked by what they felt was a mischaracterization of the Jewish homeland.
If there was winner, it was the pro-Israel side, for reasons other than just having bigger turnout. Their side’s principal organizers and members were young and invigorated. They were a more effective face for their cause than the mostly above-50 crowd from the anti-Israel side.
It’s strange. The anti-Israel argument is the more liberal of the two but on Sunday, they had way less young people. Where were all the young liberals? Watching the Golden Globes?
They didn’t start until later that night. So that could not have been it.
After I left the rallies, driving into Beverly Hills, I may have gotten my answer. Across the street from the Hilton Hotel, at the site of the Golden Globes, throngs of people had gathered—it must have been a few hundred bodies. At first, I thought the crowd had assembled to catch a hopeful glimpse of celebrities arriving at the red carpet, but slowing down at the red light, many were holding signs, I noticed.
This, too, was a demonstration, I realized.
A street blockade had been set up and a multitude of teens and twenty-something year olds were pushing up against it, calling for the overturning of Proposition 8. Here is where all the young liberals were, protesting California’s ban on same-sex marriages.
I did a little research. It was also a counter-protest against Baptist minister Fred Phelps, part of what has been termed the “Phelps-a-Thon.”
Phelps, for those who don’t know, is an American pastor who is anti-gay and anti-Semitic. His website is Godhatesfags.com. He’s really pleasant.
Since Hollywood is notoriously gay-friendly, Phelps and the people from his church traveled to L.A. to spread their message at the Golden Globe Awards.
Whenever Phelps makes a public appearance, proponents for overturning Prop 8 show up to counter-protest and use it as an opportunity to collect signatures to get the proposition back on the ballot.
This was a day belonging to protests…and James Cameron.