Sunday, July 23, 2006
This past Friday, the Muslim American Society held their "Justice for Palestine and Lebanon Protest" at Boston's City Hall Plaza referred to at the end of this post. The Boston Globe has its report here: Muslims, Christians protest bombardment of Lebanon
Participants carried signs such as ``Free All Palestinian and Lebanese Political Prisoners," ``End the Israeli Occupation," and ``Stop Aid and Weapons." At times during the nearly three-hour rally, which included a prayer service and was sponsored by the Muslim American Society, they chanted ``Free, Free Palestine," and then ``Free, Free Lebanon." A police officer at the scene estimated the crowd at 2 p.m. to be 500.
Around 1:30 p.m., hundreds gathered in tidy eastward-facing rows of about 50 people each, to pray to God. Most kneeled on prayer rugs. Others improvised with newspapers. Some took off their shoes. Usually, at that time of the week, they would have gathered in a mosque. Assam Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society, led the prayer.
Caline Jarudi, executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts, said that holding the rally was a big step among Muslims, who often are apprehensive about publicly vocalizing their views because they can face discrimination. ``The rally was about justice and hopefully there is no consequence," she said.
During the rally, many thought of loved ones in Lebanon or the disputed territories in Israel...
"Disputed territories." Very good.
Oh, but that's not the full story. No, no, my friends. You see, freelance operative Seva Brodsky was in the house, camera in hand -- and there was much jostling, grabbing, profanity and threats of violence directed toward our intrepid defender of Israel and America. The remainder of this post is either submitted by, or based on descriptions from, Seva. The pictures and video are his. Any asides from me are placed in brackets, Mr. Brodsky's submission is below in pull-quote format. The description of events is his. Most of the visuals are in video format, with only a few original still-shots, although I have pulled some stills out of the video for illustration (so that is why most of the photos are in a fairly small size). Stick with us, gentle readers, for this shall be worth it. Seva:
Having arrived from Israel several days ago, where I had just spent almost six months, I got right back into my regular Zionist activities. While riding the subway on Thursday, July 20, 2006, I read in the Metro that there was going to be a political rally the very next day (Friday the 21st) at Boston City Hall Plaza. That article, titled Lebanon/Israel cease-fire rally set for tomorrow, by Laura Dannen, could be found in the lower left hand corner of page 2. Following is a short snip:
BOSTON — Calling for an end to the “indiscriminate” loss of life in Lebanon, more than 1,000 members of Boston’s Muslim community are expected to rally on City Hall Plaza tomorrow afternoon.
The protest, organized by the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation, will call for an immediate cease-fire to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, now entering its second week, said Omar Abdala, the rally’s organizer.
“It’s unacceptable to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians,” Abdala, 25, said of the Israeli attack on Lebanon. “We’re calling for an immediate end to violence and for Israel to pull back.”
The demonstration, taking place from noon to 3 pm on City Hall Plaza, is part of a larger series of protests around the country this week. More than 2,000 Boston-area Jews and supporters of Israel gathered peacefully in Brookline on Tuesday, demanding peace and security for Israel, an end to terrorism and the safe return of two captured Israeli soldiers...
My interest was piqued, so I decided to check it out. I showed up at City Hall Plaza at about 2 pm, in black dress slacks and striped blue and white shirt, looking like a lawyer on a lunch break. I had a small backpack with the Canon digital photo/video camera in it. As I was approaching the crowd, which appeared to number several hundred people, I took it out and turned the video on.
As I approached the crowd I was confronted by Noah Cohen, [who's Marxist screeds are legend, and who feels Noam Chomsky isn't sufficiently anti-Zionist], who is the husband of Lana Habash [a physician who was quoted as stating that the bombing of Jerusalem Bus#19 was a justifiable act of resistance -- Together, Cohen and Habash run the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, whose goals we have gone over before and which boasts Andover High School's Ron Francis as a booster] and my old nemesis. He tried to harass and intimidate me, but I wouldn't give in. So he tried to impede my video recording by blocking me with his body. As I had a swivel monitor on the camera and was taller than him, I raised the camera above my head and continued filming that way.
However, he is not the type to give up too easily -- being resourceful, he raised a large white banner he had with him on a foam board, thereby creating a new, more formidable obstacle for my probing lens. This precipitated a cat-and-mouse game, which I did not mind engaging in. He was really annoyed by that and started calling for back up. A little crowd started gathering around me, threatening and verbally abusing me.
Some rather short and skinny woman, screaming hysterically at me, grabbed my camera and left arm:
In the ensuing commotion, I suddenly noticed that Noah Cohen grabbed my camera and was quietly trying to break off its swivel monitor. This really stunned me -- I didn't expect he would go to such length and engage in criminally punishable behavior, but I guess, he figured he could afford to do so and get away with it, being surrounded by his comrades-in-arms with no police in sight. At this point, indignant and even outraged, realizing that I was entirely on my own and no help was forthcoming, I yanked the camera from his grip and a scuffle ensued which seemed to cool off his zeal substantially.
More people joined the melee, shouting and threatening me. Unfortunately, by this point my camera was off, so I did not capture what had transpired then. One man told me that the police would not help me, as they were going to hunt me down and kill me (he can be heard on the video repeatedly commanding me not to take pictures):
Eventually the police, a man and a woman, showed up and questioned me, asking me if I wanted to press charges since I knew the name of the perpetrator. I said that I did and they told me where the nearest police station was, so I eventually did proceed there, but not before the Arab "witnesses" were screaming to the cops that I had attacked an innocent woman.
"In the Arab world it is understood that hospitality is given freely to friend and foe alike, that the blessings of family and religion are to be cherished above all else, except possibly money, that what is said is not necessarily what is meant at all because, in the richness and imagery of the Arabic language, style counts more than substance." Pp. xii-xiii of the Introduction to "The Arabs, Journeys Beyond the Mirage"; Vintage, 1988, by David Lamb, an American journalist and author, who is quite sympathetic to the Arabs.
The female officer went to talk to someone, returning several minutes later and telling the male officer that my version of the story got corroborated and checked out in the end.
[Here is the short video, from the time when Seva approached the rally to the point where his camera was grabbed and he stopped filming -- "He's a Zionist! He's profiling people!":]
Upon return from the police station, I continued my video recording activities. More insults and threats followed, and another conversation with the same two police officers, who then suggested I also go to a particular courthouse, as there was still enough time left in the day to also file my complaint there. I got into an interesting discussion with them, and the male cop suggested that I write about the incident to a paper, such as Boston Phoenix, and I replied that I intended to.
[Say, remember micro-Larry Bird? Well he and friend were back, and had a few choice words for Mr. Brodsky (that's his voice -- more of him later -- WARNING: contains profanity):]
[Another encounter with Noah Cohen, another guy who threatens to smash Mr. Brodsky's camera, and a beleaguered -- though it must be said, well-meaning -- Rally Marshall, who informs Mr. Brodsky that he can't guarantee his safety:]
I continued recording the event, moving across the street and observing it from a distance:
[Chanting: "When people are occupied, resistance is justified..."]
[Another encounter: "The Zionists must hate this"...and again with our basketball friend, or as perhaps we should call him, "Gorgeous"...note the Palestine water-bottle accessory:]
All this commotion begs several questions:
1. Why is it that I was the only pro-Israel person who was there out in the open? Where were others? If they were there, did they take notes, pictures, and videos?
2. Was the FBI there? Their field office could have had a field day, and I hope they did -- the proportion of Muslim clerics and Arab as well as hard-core leftist extremists there was quite staggering.
3. Why did the police not come to my rescue right away, and why were there so few of them? I only saw one parked wagon with two cops in it, and the two officers that I talked to. Given the size of the crowd, and the content of speeches, slogans, and banners, I would expect a battalion of security forces there. [This is remarkable. At every pro-Israel event, even family-oriented events, there has been an extensive police presence along with private security. At this event...almost nothing. Draw your own conclusions. -S]
4. Why is it that when we Jews have our demonstrations and rallies, we behave overwhelmingly in a civilized manner in the face of the opposition, and if one of us steps over the line of propriety, the rest admonish such a person? Why do we see such a drastic difference between our behavior and that of our opponents and enemies?
For actions far above and beyond what anyone would ever ask you to do, it is my honor to present you with this award and ribbon to be worn on your uniform [described by you as, "black dress slacks and striped blue and white shirt, looking like a lawyer on a lunch break"] at whatever events you deem appropriate. The Order of the Pest of Zion:
Wear it with pride.
Update: 7/24 7:15am -- Seva is on WRKO Boston right now!
Update 2: Nice job Seva! Thanks to Scott Allen Miller for having Seva on. Also welcome to Michelle Malkin, LGF readers, Freepers and others.
Seva will be on the Michael Graham radio show (listen live at the link) at about 3:15 Eastern-- that's a few minutes from now. Done. Great job Seva! You sounded great.
Update 4 7/27: Seva will be on Hannity & Colmes at around 9:20 Eastern tonight to talk about the incident!
Update 6: Part 2 of this story is HERE.
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Mayhem at the Defend Hizballah Rally!.
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