At the Israeli Consulate

At the Israeli Consulate

Several Muslim and Arab organizations called a demo Saturday at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles to protest the assassination of Sheikh Yassin. Some people may have stayed away thinking this could be a tense affair, but it didn’t turn out that way at all. There were 300 of us and about ten counter-demonstrators across the street (the organizers asked ANSWER to help with security, which we were happy to do.) Last week, at the big antiwar demo, there were 20,000 of us, and maybe 3 dozen counter-demonstators. Given all the yap-yap the Right does, they seem oddly absent when it comes to getting in the streets.

One of the speakers, a Muslim, made the telling point that Sharon’s strategy backfired, saying (and I’m paraphrasing), “Most of you here are Muslims, and many of you haven’t demonstrated since 9/11 for fear of being arrested – and they are harassing us – but now that Sharon killed Yassin, you are in the streets here and everywhere. Sharon wanted to silence us but now more than ever, we are speaking out. His plan backfired.”

Later, I went to a fundraiser at a home in Culver City for a viewing of a documentary in progress, “GIve Peace a Chance”, by tireless LA activists Sally Marr and Peter Dudar. They screened 30 minutes of their 180 hours of footage on the antiwar movement which they are turning into a powerful, moving film.

There were about 200 people there. It occurred to me that if the powers-that-be raided the house and swept us all away, they’d have taken out a goodly chunk of the progressive activist community in LA. Had we been in Palestine, they might have attacked with helicopter gunships, then bulldozed the house. Am I being overly-dramatic? I think not.

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