JAMAL KANJ, a fiery Palestinian from a group called Al-Awda, takes the podium. “We Palestinians,” he begins, “have been subjected to GENOCIDE at the hands of the Israelis for generations." He rants on. "In 1948, they forced us out of our homes, and today we must DRIVE THE JEWS FROM PALESTINE!”
Suddenly, a middle-aged man wearing a black “F the President” T-shirt rushes the stage, screaming at Kanj, “I’m TIRED of this CRAP! You people keep bringing this up! This is supposed to be an ANTI-WAR rally, not an ANTI-ISRAEL rally!”
Kanj yells back, into the microphone. Others in the crowd stand up and join in the shouting match.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has arrived in San Diego.
Red-vested “peace monitors” converge on T-shirt Man, trying to contain this sudden outburst of dissent. They are followed closely by the San Diego Police Department, who quickly take control of the situation and lead the man away.
As T-shirt Man exits stage right, ANSWER front man Carl Muhammed enters from stage left, strutting in front of the platform and waving a large Palestinian flag. Carl and his radical Palestinian posse face down the angry Israel supporters, and the entire rally begins to descend into chaos.
In an effort to regain control of the rally, CodePink maven Barbara Jaffe-Rose takes the podium, declaring her solidarity with the Palestinian cause. “As an anti-war Jew, I support the Palestinian Right of Return, and demand the end of U.S. aid to Israel.” She attempts to lead the crowd in a cheer: “Not one penny, not one dime, U.S. out of Palestine!”
AT LEAST A THIRD of the crowd has departed. Others remain behind only to express their disappointment and disgust. The organizers argue amongst themselves.
A woman in her fifties, dressed all in pink, accosts Carol Jahnkow, one of the leaders of the San Diego Coalition of Peace & Justice. It’s difficult to make out what the woman is saying, but it’s clear from her body language that she is NOT happy.
The crowd finally settles, and Iraqi-American Nadia Keilani begins her prepared remarks. “I’m not here to apologize for the regime of Saddam Hussein,” she begins,”…but the streets were clean, the water was running, there was no crime, no homelessness, and everyone was educated.” She goes on to blame the sanctions, the “indiscriminate bombing” and the invasion for the suffering of the Iraqi people, and points her finger squarely at George Bush and American Imperialism. “I cry for both my countries, America and Iraq…”
Peace Monitors? Christ, at least they wore the right color.
I also was unaware that there was no crime, homlessness and universal education in Iraq when Saddam was in power. The things you learn from the deluded left.