All These Moments

All These Moments

Random ramblings in writing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Pro-Israel Rally & Pro-Palestine Protest at UT

The Texans for Israel student organization at UT organized a rally in support of Israel. About a week before the rally was scheduled, anti-Israel students organized to protest the rally. I was there showing support for Israel and I was very impressed by how well Texans for Israel handled the pressure, as well as disappointed at the behavior of the Anti-Israel protesters.

One thing that was made clear about the Pro-Israel rally is that it was not an Anti-Palestine rally. We were condemned by the protesters as Anti-Palestine, but this was not the case at all. Every person I talked to who showed up to support Israel said they felt bad for the innocent Palestinians enduring the hell in Gaza. Time and time again, the Pro-Israel speakers as well as people in the audience stressed that it is Hamas they are against, not Palestine.

"Free The Palestinians From Hamas." To me that seems like something everyone should support, regardless of how they feel about about Israel's actions. This was not the case, and I found out that many of the Anti-Israel protesters actually sympathize with, or even support Hamas. This is really the root of what disturbs me about these protesters. I feel terrible for those who have died in this conflict, but why are people so quick to blame Israel for every person who dies in Palestine? Why does no one protest how Hamas has used active schools as sites to build weapons? Hamas is so evil that they are willing to put their own children in harm's way to provide propoganda against Israel.

The Anti-Israel protesters were loud and chanted in a way that was reminiscent of the sheep in George Orwell's Animal Farm. The most obnoxious thing they would do was yell "LIAR!" at a speaker whenever they made a good point in their speech, no matter how ridiculous. At one point a speaker mentioned how Israel had a daily three hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, a statement which would never be contested in a reasonable discussion, but of course the protesters shouted, "LIAR!"

What I think spoke volumes about the difference in behavior between the two groups is that the protesters disrupted our prayers (one in Hebrew and one in English) by shouting "war criminals" and "baby killers" at us. Then the Anti-Israel protesters took the stage and asked for a moment of silence for those who had died in Palestine, and all but one or two of the Pro-Israel group were silent and respectful. (A few tried to be vocal about the fact that they had no respect for our prayers, but other Texans for Israel members quickly shushed them.) Texans for Israel had a message to send and they sent it well: We will not stoop down the same level as the Anti-Israel protesters. It made me very proud to be a part of a peace rally that was so well behaved despite the incredibly antagonizing attitude of the Anti-Israel protesters, some of whom were openly looking to start a fight.

Despite how intense it became at the rally, there was still laughter to be heard. One of the speakers used a quote from Barack Obama supporting Israel. This angered one of the socialist protesters who yelled, "You know, Barack Obama used to be Pro-Palestine before you assholes... changed his mind." There was laughter within the Pro-Israel crowd and then we returned our attention to the speaker.

Also, I saw a t-shirt that had a Texas and Israel flag on the back and said, "Texas isn't the only Lone Star State." I want that t-shirt. If it's not being sold anymore I'll probably just make one for myself.

Here's a short video I took at the rally before my camera battery died. (I forgot to charge it, stupid I know.)

Credit for the first picture in this post goes to my friend Eric Hofstetter.


Anonymous Rhie Austin Anti-Racist-Action said...

Few points that you left out:
Despite the propaganda war that is being waged, the WORLD has shown support for the innocents of Gaza.
We stand not against Israel, but against the continual refusal to acknowlegde the WAR CRIMES being committed by their government.
Hamas were DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF GAZA: to stand for democracy is to stand for all who utilize it, whether you agree with their tactics or not(hello, solidarity?). To call a Hamas supporter a TERRORIST (as a number of your "pro peace/pro Israel supporters did) is to call an IDF supporter the same thing; when there is no one else to take up arms against oppression and protect the innocent peoples, then you make do with your army.
How can one say that Hamas uses civillian population as shields when you are discussing the most densly populated peice of land on earth (where else would they be, but within the land Israel so graciously gave the Palestinians after stealing their land) and not say the same about IDF who REQUIRES ALL CITIZENS UNDER THE AGE OF 35 TO ACT AS RESERVISTS?
All that your rally did was show a number of the people counter protesting that their (and my) families are little more than fodder to foster the hatred and greed of the ISRAELI government.
When the slaughter of innocent children becomes a means to an end, some accountability must be claimed.
In Solidarity with victims of war crimes everywhere.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Jared said...

The biggest difference between the government of Israel and Hamas is that Israel has arrested both Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine terrorists. The only terrorists Palestine has ever arrested are Pro-Israeli terrorists. It is only the government of Israel that has a record of being against terrorism in all forms, whereas Hamas shows support for terrorism by allowing Anti-Israel terrorists to operate in Palestine.

The fact that you think it is outrageous to suggest that Hamas is a terrorist organization shows how deep in denial you truly are.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Rhie Anti-Racist-Action said...

here's the deal, whatever you think of Hamas, to unleash WHITE PHOSPHEROUS against UN SANCTIONED SCHOOLS is an act of TERRORISM. A TWELVE TIME ATTACK ON A UN SCHOOL IS NOT A MISTAKE. There is no way that you can see what happened in Gaza in the last 4 weeks and continue to believe that IDF is not acting out in terrorism, to think otherwise actually shows how much denial you seem to be steeped in. I wish you the best in your continued search for truth, and pray that justice be brought for the people of Gaza.
In solidarity

6:21 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Liss said...

Attacks on schools, hospitals, mosques, etc. are the moral and legal responsibility of the party which has militarized what should be a neutral territory or site. Hamas and other terrorists who use these places as missile launch sites, ambush sites, etc. are the agents and cause of whatever civilian casualties occur. Any individual or force engaging in hostilities from within a neutral or otherwise protected place can be lawfully engaged and destroyed. Israel has gone out of its way to avoid civilians, whereas Hamas goes out of their way to target them.

The claim that the Jews in Israel occupy 'stolen' land is a tiresome libel that is patently false. It was no more 'stolen' from Arabs than it was 'stolen' from Jews by the Roman Empire. There is already a country in the region with a majority-Palestinian population. It lies east of the Jordan River. I see little need for a second Palestinian State in the Levant, especially one ruled by backward, murderous thugs like Hamas.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Rhie said...

So the next time someone knocks on your door with machine guns and tells you that you have no choice but to leave or be shot so that the Native Americans can reclaim their land, you will gladly walk away from the things that you (or, in your case, your father?) have worked your whole life to maintain? Yeah, I didn't think so.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Amanda S. said...

If your history goes back before 1948, in 1947 there wa a 2 State plan to have a Jewish State and an Arab State in Palestine. The Arab State had a huge chunk of land completely surrounding Jerusalem, and The Jewish State had a strip to the North, a strip to the West, and the Negev, so we received 70% desert. But we accepted it. Jerusalem was made into an international city for both the Arabs and Jews. But it was rejected by the Arabs.
A huge difference between Israel and Hamas is that Israel aims at military targets such as where weapons are stored and where firing is coming from. Hamas aims anywhere it can in Israel and it aims at civillians.
As for White Phosphorus, it is NOT illegal in International Law. It has been used legally all but ONE time. And that one time that it was used on civillians IS being investigated by Israel and those people will be prosecuted (as they should be because there is no need to use it on Civillian areas).
What I wonder is why so much hate on only Israel? What about Jordan. Have you ever heard of Black September? What about when Jordan killed many Palestinians? Where is the hate for Jordan? Why is it only focused on Israel? Just a few questions I would like to ask...

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELL YA!!! Down with Hamas!

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking from Israel... Thank you Jared, Israel is lucky to have friends that know of her struggly, pain and numerous very dangerous and painful steps it has made throughout its existence to respect the arab narratives. Every single time, it is greeted with rockets.

3:31 AM  

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My name is Jared and I'm an English major at UT. Politically I'm a mix of libertarian and neocon with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Otherwise I'm just a typical nerd.

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