Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israeli-Palestinian Protest at Israeli Consulate

It was big! It was noisy! Though at the end of the day nothing like

the crescendo of missiles landing in Israel and Gaza.

But for over an hour hundreds of mostly anti-Israel anti-USA demonstrators chanted outside the Israeli Consulate this evening. They then marched from Montgomery Street down to Market Street and onto the Civic Center where they milled around

and dispersed into smaller groups, some continuing to parade the streets.

The pro-Israeli supporters were heavily outnumbered but undaunted as protesters lined both sides of the street outside of the Consulate at 5 pm.

From the start, the chanting got underway. 'Stop bombing Palestine...Stop bombing children...Free free Palestine!' And then the drums began to throb. The Palestinian supporters packed the sidewalk outside the Consulate but also were spread on the opposite side with the few Israeli supporters.

There was a large police presence with helicopters overhead.

On the Israeli side were Luda and Irina, Russian Jewesses.

'American Jews have very little understanding of what is going on,' said Luda, referring to the huge support for Palestine. 'I think they don't care to understand what is going on, they're superficial.

''They only support Palestinians because they (Palestinians) are poor. They don't know anything about Israel. Basically, they're just brainwashed.'

Suddenly, as if on cue, a figure waving a miniature Menorah strolled past and caught Luda's attention. She turned to talk to him.

'I'm Jewish American. I'm for human rights,' said Adam and went on his way.

'And that means automatically he supports Palestinians,' complained Luda. 'So Israel should let Hamas destroy us and do nothing about it! That would make all the anti-Semites happy,' she said.

Caden, a young Jew, was there, he said, 'to support the story of the other side.'

His friend, Jonathan, was one of the leaders of the Jewish counter-protest. 'I don't understand why the world is going crazy, because Hamas attacks Israel, because Hamas their goal is to destroy Jews, and basically they have been firing rockets for months...from the Gaza Strip.'

He said that of the nearly 400 people killed so far between 200 and 250 were terrorists, although conceding that many civilians had been injured.

As he was talking, Omar came up and accused him of bigotry.

'I know both sides. Trust me, I was there, I had rockets fired at me,' said Jonathan, referring to a school trip back to his homeland when he had been in the vicinity though not direct firing line of missiles.

'Israel stole the land from the Palestinians. I disagree with violence on both sides,' continued Omar with passion.

The two argued over the siege of Gaza and the blocking of transport routes.

'Supplies are coming from Hezbollah,' said Jonathan, defending Israel's actions.

'Blockading the country is an act of war,' said Omar.

By then Omar was one of quite a few Palestinian supporters who were crowding onto the Israeli side in an effort to dominate, their black, white, green and red flags mingling with the few blue and white ones.

The loud chanting continued, several conversations between opposing sides were taking place and police stepped in and broke up a couple of verbal altercations.

For more reports and pics see next blog.
For album of extra pics click here

pics show protesters outside the Israeli Consulate; mingling of Palestinian and Israeli flags; Jonathan and Caden; A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition leading the march down Montgomery Street

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