Wednesday, June 23, 2004
[Note: As this post was getting verrry long I have decided to split it up and post it over several days. I figure if I posted the entire thing at once the odds of anyone actually reading the whole thing were about nill.]
This past Sunday I was pleased to attend an important event at City Hall Plaza, Boston. Boston for Israel was organized by a number of community Jewish and Christian groups, led by members of Boston's Russian-Jewish community. I must say, it was a great success. The weather was beautiful, the event well-organized, and the police and Mayor's office did a fine job in making sure everything ran smoothly.
Featured at the event was Jerusalem Bus #19, which was destroyed when a Palestinian-Arab policeman blew himself up on it, murdering 11 people and injuring 50 others. Sponsored by Christians for Israel and ZAKA, the absolutely amazing group of Israeli volunteers who clean up after these horrible events, Bus #19 has now been turned into a traveling object-lesson in the reality and inhumanity of terror. (For a good description of what the ZAKA organization is all about, see this article.)
I remember when the attack happened. I saw video footage taken shortly after the murder and was moved to write about it here.
I watch the cameraman walk slowly around the site and imagine that he looks down and sees he's standing on a piece of flesh. You wouldn't even know - so easy to mistake for a bit of debris blown out by the explosion. That's how bad it is...
But Bus #19 rolls on, now doing its part to educate the public. It was even transported to The Hague where it stood in silent accusation of those who sit in comfort and judge Israel's righteous efforts at defense.
The rally kicked off with a three and a half mile march from Brookline, just over the border from Boston. Sadly, I didn't make the march, but I did get in to City Hall early and observed things as they developed. That gave me time to speak to a couple of people and take in the scene as it happened.
First I spoke to this gentleman, Matti Zahaf, Director of the ZAKA Organization in North America. He took a moment from setting up to answer a couple of questions. Here he is standing in front of the bus and a mosaic formed of the photos of terror victims. (Close up of the poster, here.)
What is Zaka?
Zaka is Israel's rescue and recovery organization, which means every time there is a terrorist attack or any other disaster, or car accident, we volunteers are coming to evacuate the injured and clean up the site from the remains to bring it to Jewish burial. According to Jewish law we have to bring every drop of blood and every bit of body to Jewish burial.
And what are we seeing here today?
The purpose of the bus is to show to the rest of the world that terror in Israel and terror in America are the same thing. Innocent people are being killed all over. The purpose of terrorism is to destroy life...From our organization's point of view, we want to show that unlike the Palestinians where when somebody gets killed over there they take their flesh and blood and they show it to the media, but us, we are very very careful to collect every drop of blood and every bit of body to bring it to Jewish burial without showing it to the media. In a way Israel has suffered because the world doesn't see what Israel is going through, but, if we are going according to our Jewish law...it's what we're doing.
And you also gather up the remains of non-Jewish people, including the terrorists?
Absolutely. Number one, at the time of a bombing, we don't know who the terrorist is. Number two, for the purpose of peace, we don't want that if a Jewish person has been killed by a Palestinian, we don't want that his remains be left on the field without anybody taking care of them, so we have to show our humanitarian side and not our barbarian side.
Of course, it wasn't all love and peace, after all, there were peace protesters there! A group of "pro-Palestinian" activists showed up and started doing their thing. The police did an excellent job of keeping them in place while not stifling their right to
make asses of themselves have their say. This woman was one of the most vocal of the group:
She was screaming lovely stuff at this guy, y'know, real peaceable-like stuff, like, "WHY DON'T YOU JUST WEAR A WHITE SHEET! YOU'RE A FUCKING RACIST! YOU'RE A FUCKING FASCIST MURDERER!" (Does your mother know you go to peace rallies with that mouth? You kiss Yasser Arafat with that mouth?) Meanwhile, some guy tried to block the screamee's camera shot with a cloth. Why, I have no idea, since there were about 80 cameras in attendance all over the place. I'm still kicking myself for NOT ROLLING TAPE. Sorry. Next time I promise audio (Solomonia readers deserve the full treatment). Other pictures of said piece of work, along with her cloth-boy attendant and friends are here, here and here.
Enough of that ugliness (on several levels), I need to talk to someone nice, so I go and talk to another one of the set-up volunteers. Her name was Ariel, and she was involved with several of the groups organizing the event.
Where are you from? Are you from America?
I am an American, but I was not born in America.
Where were you born?
I was born in Russia.
How long have you been here?
A long time. OK, I'm just curious, adds context and all that...
I see on your T-shirt it says, "America Don't Worry, Israel is Behind You!" What does that mean?
That means that as long as Israel and America are friends, both are safe.
And you think it's important for people to see this bus?
Yes I do, I feel that it's very important for people to see exactly what it looks like so that when they board the bus in Boston, they can picture themselves being in one of those back seats and picture themselves evaporating when the bomb goes off. And I also want them to picture that people who walk on the sidewalk get blown up as well. They don't just get killed by a rock, they get blown up into pieces, and then their organs, their internal organs, they are still steaming because they're still warm...they're on the sidewalk. That's what I would love them to see...in the film. I wish it was not true. This is as much as we can do. We can't bring the organs and throw them around here but that is the best [we can do]. I'd go for as bloody as possible just so that people know exactly what it is. Because it's very sanitized on TV and in newspapers...
Is there anything else you want to say?
Oh I just want to say that the terrorists don't understand that they're not gonna win anyhow, so their efforts are futile. Totally. By history, by religion, by the strength of our people as Jewish people and American people and everybody who just wants a normal life. But, unfortunately, it's gonna take so many more deaths of innocents.
Hey, I'm becoming a real Christiane Amanpour with these interviews...only smarter, and better-looking...and a guy...and I don't own a parachute.
As it got closer to the time of the marchers' arrival, a Klezmer band struck up a tune.
Someone set up what appeared to be a home-made 9/11 memorial.
I figured at that point I better head toward the back so I could catch some shots of the march coming in. I was truly curious to see how many people had shown up.
They would have to pass a gauntlet of intimidating characters, including Miss Potty-Mouth herself, in order to enter the plaza.
Why, who's that that's joined them...there, down on the left:
Why yes, it's the natural ally of the pro-terror activist, those guys who form a sort of symbiotic relationship with the kafiyeh-wearer, like lamprey and sharks, or...those little birds that hang around on the backs of rhinos, the nerds of the Hasidic world, the geeks in side-curls, the Neturei Karta guys. For the uninitiated, the NK guys are like the Simpsons Comic-Book Guy in a black hat: "Israel? Worst...country...ever." 'But, Jews have lived there for thousands of years, Israel is needed as a refuge for our persecuted people, the UN voted it into existence...' "...Worst...country...ever."
A final message for all friends of terror. Think about what happens to this little bird after all the teeth are clean:
Anyway, back on topic. The marchers were on their way!
It looked like a real good crowd:
[End Part 1. Part 2 tomorrow. What will happen when marchers meet protesters? Tune in tomorrow and see.]
Update: Go on to Part 2, here.
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Boston for Israel Rally - Jerusalem Bus #19 - Report with Pics [Part 1].
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