By Suzanne Davidson
Some people know about books. Some know about film. I know about rallies. Specifically pro Israel rallies. I put on hundreds of them from July 2001 to December 2006. And I’ve gone to my fair share of them.
I know about specifications with signs and polls and the number of people you need to have before you have to order port-a-potties. I’ve heard all the complaining about how I need to have bigger signs, more colorful signs, different flags, more beverages etc. The list goes on and on.
I also know that you have to know your audience; your participants-your fellow Jews and their mind set BEFORE you have speakers who will rattle their cages.
That, I am afraid, is what happened when the Israeli Consulate (in conjunction with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles) put on a very big and special rally on Sunday, June 6, 2010.
There were many, many speakers. Perhaps too many. The event was scheduled from 2-3pm but lasted till 4pm. There was Governor Schwarzenegger and Jon Voight. There were so many councilmen and women; I thought this was an election year. Oh yeah, this is an election year. There were even two female governors!
There were plenty of Rabbis of all persuasions; Rabbi Hier of the Museum of Tolerance, one from Sinai Temple, a female Rabbi from another Temple, many, many men of the clergy from other faiths, and of course Rabbi Cunin of Chabad of Westwood. I also want to point out a very special moment when Judea Pearl (father of the late Daniel Pearl) spoke. Heavy and broken hearts were felt as he spoke.
Everyone said many special things and reminded us all why we were there. In the last ten years we have witnessed the beheading of Daniel Pearl, the murder of over 1200 Israeli civilians-women and children and grandparents- by explosives on buses, in pizzarias and ice cream parlors. The gunning down of yeshiva boys in Jerusalem. The hostage taking of Israeli soldiers leaving only Gilad Shalit alive but still held in captivity. The smuggling of weapons in underground tunnels and the shelling of Sederot for the last five years. The exodus of an entire community from Gush Katif. The killing and torture of a Jewish boy in a basement in Paris. And now the unmitigated gall of the Hamas/Arab PR machine, accusing Israel of aggression when she is within her legal right to protect herself. This promotes rabid anti-Semitism worldwide. This is deadly propaganda that is now being bought by the media and by too many people too ignorant, biased and lazy to do their homework about Israel’s history.
So it came as a bit of a shock when a speaker was introduced by one of the Federation people, after Judea Pearl spoke. The new speaker was the President of Americans for Peace Now. As he began his speech the audience started murmuring their discontent. This was the guy who backed the Oslo Accords. This was the guy who thought if we just sit down with Hamas and Arafat and give away land…and release murdering prisoners …that things will go well and we will have peace. This is Neville Chamberlain reincarnated.
The crowd started yelling. I mean real shouting…and rage. There were 3000 people there, many of whom were Persian Jews. These people know about totalitarianism and dictators and killers. They were yelling and the women were yelling…everyone kept saying “get him off”, “get him off.” I looked at Rabbi Cunin, the only one sitting down near the podium and I saw him look around. When he realized what was happening he got very excited and emotional and stood up. One of the Federation people went over and put his arms around the Rabbi to calm him down. But Rabbi Cunin would have none of it. He pushed the man’s arms off him and starting yelling at him to take this speaker off.
The yelling at the speaker went on and on. The head of the Federation took the microphone for a minute and said “we are not like the other side (meaning Hamas)…we tolerate different opinions.” He was quickly shouted down and ignored. And now the words “traitor” were being hurled at the podium. As a friend of mine who works at The Federation said…”the choice of having this guy speak was absurd.”
There is definitely a huge disconnect between the Federation and the rest of us. For all the reasons I just mentioned above, we who were at the rally are not going to tolerate any more peace now ideology which is only going to get us, and I mean Jews all over the word, killed. These people live in a fantasy land of feelings. They don’t know how to “THINK”. They have not done their homework and they don’t study Torah. There is no peace without strength in this world as we know it. Every time we give in to the Palestinians they view us as weak and they have no fear of us. Yes I said fear. They don’t have to like us. They just need to know we are not going to roll over anymore. The Federation needs to wake up and come out of their tower before the enemies are at their gate.