I have attended two rallies before going out to Westwood to stand with Israel yesterday. Both of my previous rallies were "Free Ramos/Compean" rallies, where the opposition was limited, or non-existent, in numbers. Since this is my first big rally, I guess that would make me a protest virgin. The number of Anti-Israel protesters was huge, guessed by many to be about 3,000.
Gawfer, a fellow blogger and local friend, called me up earlier in the week and asked, "Doug, what are you doing this Saturday?" Ultimately, he invited me to join a bunch of other area conservative bloggers to go to the Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Israel Protest so that we could stand with the few Pro-Israel folks that would be there.
I immediately agreed to be there.
Evrviglnt of Political Vindication was one of the organizers, and has great pics of the rally, by the way.
Anyhow, I picked up Gawfer yesterday morning, and along the way we also gathered up Prying1, and arrived ready to rally. Also joining us was Eric of Tygrrrr Express, Joi The Artist, and Gary Fouse. Eric is an American Jew, and was afraid of nothing and nobody. He wound up being interviewed by two local radio stations (News Radio KNX and Liberal Radio KPFK) and L.A.'s ABC 7.
Upon arrival we had to wade through two large groups of Anti-Israel protesters with Eric of Tygrrrr Express leading the way with a huge sign that said, "Terrorists Wear Masks For A Reason." I was wearing a U.S. Navy Veteran hat and holding a sign that said, "Israel, We Stand With You." The opposition flung profanity at us, calling us baby killers and screaming that Israel are the real terrorists. In the background another part of the group was chanting, "Free, Free, Palestine."
As we joined the other Pro-Israel Rally participants the shouting from the Pro-Hamas groups became louder and more pointed toward our little group which at that time numbered 23. The group grew a little as the day progressed, but when compared to the thousands of terrorist supporters, our group was quite small. Not to worry, I was assured, because on Sunday between two and four in the afternoon there was going to be a massive Pro-Israel rally.
When the Anti-Israel protesters began to march the police herded the Pro-Israel group ahead of the terrorist supporters, wanting to keep us away from the possibility of any confrontations. It was then that I had the opportunity to really get to know my fellow supporters of Israel, and to learn the stories they had to tell.
One of these folks was a South American Jew who had earlier been interviewed by a Spanish speaking TV station. He and I spoke for quite a while, and I interviewed him live on Snoopers "Take Our Country Back" radio show. As with most of my companions, he has family in Israel, and relatives directly involved in the fight to protect Israel.
In the end, I found many friends in the fight to support Israel, and I appreciated the time with them.
But the sentence that sums up the entire situation between Israel and her neighbors was not said at the rally, or by any of the pundits on the radio or television. Instead, I read it in an article by Daniel Finkelstein in The Times.
It read, "Israel acts because the world won't defend it."