View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, May 16, 2003
A couple of follow-up notes to Monday's protest at the synagogue. First, the behavior of the ADL was despicable. The regional director came out, and basically accused us of provoking a confrontation that would lead to headlines. Whereas if we hadn't show up, all that would have happened would have been that Jews would have been verbally abused and physically threatened nose-to-nose rather than from across the street. A couple of weeks ago he wrote a letter to the Intermountain Jewish News basically accusing the governor of being anti-Semitic for supporting school vouchers. That's like accusing Dave Winfield of needing a hunting license to play the outfield in Toronto. The fact is, lots of Jews support vouchers, and before you say, "well, lots of Jews oppose settlements," remember that large number of dictatorial regimes haven't hijacked major international bureaucracies into spending nights and weekends figuring out ways to fix our 3rd grade history textbooks. Everyone knows that singling out Israel is bad, because about 90% of the governments not located in Europe or the Americas are worse. The ADL may believe that vouchers will disproportionately damage Jews, somehow, but that's different from intentionally targeting Jews. We can have a civil discussion about vouchers without calling people who support them, such as myself, anti-Semites. Still, it's good to know that he's got his priorities straight, even if it doesn't leave him time to confront actual Jew-hatred.

Secondly, at one point, the Black Muslims showed up to lead a chant of "Allah Hu Akhbar" that sounded like something out of the climactic battle scene from Zulu. Sadly, nobody on our side knew "Men of Harlach," but in retrospect that's probably just as well. What's interesting is that almost all of the actual Muslims who showed up for the other side were college students. They may claim this makes them the future, but I prefer to think it makes them callow and clueless. The Black Muslims aren't even considered to be real Muslims by most imams and mullahs, but they were welcomed here. Still, you gotta admit, they got rhythm.

Finally, despite the bravado and attempt to put on a good face (here they're not covered by burkhas), Wednesday's pie-in-the-face-of-NPR was a pretty one-sided affair. They were able to must 4 people, a banner, and the requisite Israel=Nazi Germany sign, and that was it. We were informed by Those In A Position To Know that they were pretty demoralized and surprised (shocked and awed?) by our display Monday - they thought they'd have the field to themselves. When it turned out that Jews still aren't ready to let themselves be intimidated again, they more or less crumbled apart. I'm sure they'll be back, but they've clearly got some work to do.

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