Monday, March 21, 2005

Report on San Jose Iraq Invasion Anniversary Protests
A friend sends this email:
My friends,
Really not much to report: Pretty small turnout, I'd say, about 500 to 1000 at the Ceasar Chavez Plaza in San Jose for the Anti American, end the war, end the occupation everywhere, protest. Actually most of those present were the hard core, burntout, 50 to 70 year old Caucasoid commie peaceniks from the usual peace and justice brigades. There didn't seem to be a lot of Muslim/Arab folks who are usually younger and more threatening. However, (this is an exaggeration) about every third person seemed to be a Jew...Jews for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and even an Israeli Jew with an "End the Occupation "T"shirt. There were six of us good guys: Bob and Lisa Cohen (of course), Marty Wasserman (who has an amazing talent to keep calm and soft-spoken in his verbal encounters with these guys,) Isaac Kight, a young man who's been active in pro-Israel causes on the college campus, Dan Milgram and his two young sons about 5 and 3 years of age, and myself. There was also a guy from a group called "" who stood with us. While the rest of us carried American flags, and signs denouncing terrorism and promoting democracy and liberty in the Middle East, Dan draped himself in the Israeli flag (not real crowd pleasing attire for most of the "end the occupation" protest attendees.) Several of them read our signs and tried to engage us in debate. Nowadays, before I talk to any of these folks, I ask the standard (Ward Churchill) question: "Did America get what it deserved on 9/11?" All the protesters I spoke to answered in the affirmative. Maybe it's just me, but I find it really kind of hard to have a reasoned discussion with such people. (I'm open to suggestions and tutorials about this.) We did encounter an unusual protester who bears a mention. This guy, it turns out, seemed to be one of your old-time, old school, no bones about it, anti-semites. He belonged to none of the organizations or groups at the rally; he was, he proudly claimed, an "independent jew hater." As he walked by us, he stopped and advised us how all jews should be killed. He said he would like to do it himself if he could. I pointed to Dan's two young children and asked if he wanted to kill those children too. "Absolutely," he responded, and then he took a step toward me and asked if I had a problem with that? (Actually I think guys like this are valuable to have around. I was looking for a TV person to get him interviewed; for our puposes, he would have made a great protest rally poster boy. But alas, where are the cameras and reporters when you need them?)

We kept an eye out for media but it wasn't too heavily covered. Lisa gave a long interview, in Spanish, to Channel 14 Spanish Language TV. We also gave an interview to a very nice young woman who was reporting for the San Jose State Univ. newspaper. We got to express our views. And we tried to paint these protesters as out of touch, Ward Churchill type fanatics on their own misguided warpath of hate Americanism. And of course, I suspect, we caused a lot of annoyance to the great humanitarians of this rally who still long for the days of Saddam's torture chambers and rape rooms.
Respectfully submittted,
my impressions only.

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