Skip to comments.I have never felt more proud or more alone (pro-Israel demonstrator gets spat on......BY ANTI NAZIS)
Posted on 09/10/2002 3:41:31 PM PDT by zapiks44
In 2002, 60 years after the Holocaust, a Jewish girl cannot go out to an anti-neo-Nazi rally and hold up the Israeli flag.
The past two years have been a perplexing time to be a young "liberal" Jew in America. As an Israeli American, I have often been required to defend Israel from her liberal detractors. An epidemic is crossing our nation's campuses, as confused college kids are lumping together the American civil rights movement with the anti-apartheid movement with the Palestinian independence movement.
Encouraged by groups like the Nation of Islam, black pride slogans have been appropriated for Palestinian protests and the language of Malcolm X has been subverted to serve the adherents of Yasser Arafat.
This has been particularly disturbing to me, as I have been extensively involved with attempts to heal the breach between the Jewish and African American communities.
During these troubling times, I remain proud of my Jewish heritage. During a mission trip to Israel with the International Hillel Organization, I learned that there are no absolutes in politics just as there are no absolutes in life. My sense of Israeli and Jewish identity was rekindled as I began to realize, together with my Jewish brethren in our homeland, that no matter how I or anyone else feels about the current actions of the Israeli government, the Israeli nation has the right to exist in its current form, as a homeland for Jews. I rediscovered that as an Israeli American, I could always hold my head up high. And I do.
Today I sojourned to the U.S. Capitol to join the counter-rally against a neo-Nazi demonstration. As I watched the neo-Nazis approach the south Capitol lawn, my ears were pelted with offensive slogans and vile rhetoric.
How can I describe my feelings as I watched them pass, with their swastikas, Aryan banners, anti-Israel posters and crossed out stars of David?
To these Nazi sympathizers, who applaud the victimization of minorities, of Jews, who extol the brutal slaughter of 12 million people including whole branches of my family tree, to them I wanted to sing out, "I AM A JEW! I AM AN ISRAELI AMERICAN! NOW IT IS YOU THAT ARE IN THE MINORITY. WE ARE STRONG AND WE ARE HERE FOREVER!"
Unfurling a blue and white Israeli flag, I walked briskly and purposefully toward the gathering of anti-Nazi protesters. Watching 300 neo-Nazis with their strident rhetoric, I felt small, isolated and helpless.
As I walked toward my compatriots, my fellow protesters, I felt more empowered with each step. These were people who believed as I did, rational tolerant people whose personal morality impelled them to stand together and denunciate hatred and intolerance. They would stand with me, protest with me, and perhaps attempt to educate -- with me.
Or so I thought.
As I walked deeper and deeper through the crowd of protesters, waving the Israeli flag high and proud above my head, I began to feel less and less welcome. I marched on, waving the flag even higher so each and every neo-Nazi could see the flag of the Jewish people.
Suddenly I realized that the cries and jeers at the sight of the flag, originated not from the neo-Nazis, but from the anti-Nazi protesters.
I continued through the crowd and tried hard to ignore the glares. Inevitably, I was confronted. Abusive, although not unfamiliar words assaulted me at first: "Israel is fascist!" "Zionism is racism!" An old woman with a sweet face screamed at me, "You are a Nazi!" she cried. What had started out as a protest against racism quickly turned into a forum of hatred and fanaticism. I and the flag I held were their targets.
What could I do? Would I turn around? Could I let them disrespect this symbol of my people, and retreat in fear? I held my flag even higher. And I attempted, among the threats, the jostling and chaotic vehemence, to reason.
"I am not the enemy! The enemy is right across the street. Please, let's share this common ground and fight together!"
Despite my intense rage, I stayed true to my nonviolent beliefs and fought her and the crowd that had begun to form around me, with my words.
The crowd of anti-Nazi protesters did not have the same nonviolent ideology. I was spat upon. I was physically and verbally threatened. Grown men accosted me and tried to rip the Israeli flag out of my hands. Several were very close to actually assaulting me. Police intervened and blocked the anti-Nazi protesters from approaching me. These were supposed to be the good guys, and yet the hatred they exuded was just as potent as that of the Nazis themselves.
When a police officer told me that I should leave for my own safety, I staunchly refused. With every shout, hiss, slur and threat, the Israeli flag stood higher in my hands. Blocking out all the defamatory statements about Israel, I stood at the forefront of the protesters and held up that flag as much for them to see as for the neo-Nazis.
I have never felt more proud or more alone in my entire life.
Eventually, I was made to relinquish the flag to its owner, who wanted to leave.
I didn't want to go and give them the satisfaction of my defeat, but I have never been so disgusted with humanity, and wanted to be as far away from these "champions of humanitarianism" as possible.
I wanted to show them the hypocrisy of fighting fascism by tearing down a flag and telling someone she does not have the right to be there because of her heritage. I wanted to give them glasses that would correct the myopic vision with which they saw as complex a situation as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one so clear cut and categorically absolute.
But all I could do was ask them, "Why are you doing this?" "Why are you doing this?" With all of the research I've done on the conflict, for all my convictions, all I could say was "Why are you doing this?"
I must admit that I, like many young Jews and Zionists my age, feel betrayed by American liberals. With regards to the Middle East, there seems to be no appreciation of the moral ambiguity, the political nuances, the multiple layers of media spin. Faced with such a complex situation, young people too often ask others to chew it, swallow it and digest it for them, and then tell them in absolute terms which side is most appropriate to their general belief structure.
Are you in favor of affirmative action? Are you for civil liberties and women's rights? Why, then, you must be pro-Palestinian! Anti-Globalization? Humanitarian? Pro- Palestinian! Ever voted Democratic/ Libertarian/Socialist or even abstained from voting for a Republican? Then Palestine is the side for you!
Strongly held political views in no way justify acting in such a callous and hateful way toward a fellow human being. With their blind hatred of Israel, these anti-Nazi protesters treated me as roughly as the neo-Nazis on the other side of the partition would have, had they but had the opportunity.
Today, I held my head -- and the Israeli flag -- up high; not in Israel, but in what I had previously considered to be a safe environment. For what better place to applaud the existence of a state for Jews than at a Neo-Nazi counter-rally on Capitol Hill?
I was sadly mistaken. As I went out to face the neo-Nazi demonstration, I found myself hated, both by the neo-Nazis and by those who were there to protest against them. I found myself alone in the middle. And for the first time in my life as an American, I truly understood the crushing impact of anti-Semitism.
In a very palpable way, I was an outsider, hated by everyone. With rabid anti-Semites on one side and anti-Israel fomenters on the other, surrounded by bystanders willing to do nothing as I suffered horrid abuse, I wept É and as Jews must do in this post-Holocaust world, I stood my ground. Truth.
A District resident, Sarah Kopelovich, 21, is a senior at George Washington University.
In fact, those liberal jerks are worse than the "Outed" Nazi's. Those Nazi's are not a serious threat. The liberal fascist jerks are.
The political landscape of the last generation has been transformed, Christopher Hitchens and all.
This girl is one sharp cookie.
This young lady is sadly confused into believing she should be liberal, because that's what she thinks she should be. A good Jew is a Liberal Democrat Jew.
It deeply saddens me that the misinformation and propaganda of the Democratic Party has been so succesful that a person such as Sarah grows up with the belief that the Democrats are the friends of Israel.
Hillary dines and smooches with a terrorists wife and the Jews continue to support her. Where is the sense in that?
I think we should all Freep the Wash. Jewish week in support of this girl and help convince at least one person that the Republicans and Christians are indeed the friends of the Jews and of Israel.
Here is the e-mail address:
Yes, and if I have anything to say about it, it will stay changed.
Nice article and I support you (for what it's worth) but you may wish to rethink these two little points.
I'm not so sure. She may feel betrayed by American liberals, but I don't think she changed her own liberal views.
Plus, it's rather clueless to go to a counter-protest alone, especially if you're not a 260 lb guy.
These things don't happen like a lightning strike, they take time. The road to truth can be a long one for some- and the destination is reached one step at a time. She sounds like she's well on her way down the proper road to me.
Since when is expecting people to act civil in public asking them to celebrate Jewish seperatism? I don't think she was necessarily asking people to celebrate her culture- rather she was asking them not to spit on and abuse her for it- which is exactly what they were supposed to be protesting against.
Being Jewish is not a requirement for being a citizen of Israel. It may be a requirement for immigration to Israel, on that I am not certain. But Palestinians and other Non-Jewish Semites, who are born in Israel of Israeli citizens, or were in Israel when Israel was formed, are indeed citizens of Israel and can vote in Israeli elections.
One reason we should support Israel is that it is a democracy that grants rights to it's citizens, not granted by the Arabic and Non Jewish semetic states which surround Israel.