The weekly interfaith peace vigil in front of the San Francisco Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue had a special message in light of the recent atrocities in the Gaza Strip:
"We grieve the disproportionate and retaliatory approach of the Israeli government to the threats to its national security, just as we have grieved our own country's blind and wrongheaded response to the attacks suffered on U.S. soil in 2001. Both serve only to spread despair, to strenghten the cause of extremism and to sow the seeds of heightened future violence."
The United States economy is trillions of dollars in debt, the national infrastructure is in shambles, and yet we can somehow afford billions of dollars annually in aid and weapons to Israel. This is getting more than a little old.
On Saturday afternoon in San Francisco's Civic Center, there was yet another march and protest over the latest Middle East outrage, and though they don't seem to do much good in the larger scheme of things, it's better than remaining silent and doing nothing.
My friend Ellen Toomey, whose teenaged daughter is half-Israeli, came over to join in the protest but her arrival from the East Bay was delayed so we had a lovely lunch at the Kurdish falafel place at Hayes and Gough instead. We've both put in our marching time over the last decade as you can see by clicking here (2005) and here (2006) and here (2007).
In Civic Center, while the protestors were marching down Market Street and back up Mission in a circle, the remnants of a counter-protest by Israel supporters was packing up their materials in front of City Hall.
To let off some steam, Ellen recently wrote to the incoming Obama administration:
"Only a sociopath could support a continuation of the slaughter of Gaza residents. What collective insanity makes American elected officials endorse this atrocity? American mainstream media is criminally complicit in distortion of facts and cheerleading genocide. I suggest that you and your staff access the reports from news sources around the world. If the excellent Al Jazeera frightens you, try some of the European news sources. Even Israeli media has more plurality of opinion on Israeli politics than American media."
"Support for Israeli forces to rampage the occupied territory of Gaza is not “pro-Israel”. It’s an invitation for loathing and disgust from around the world. This is not making the world safer for anyone. To believe it is, is not rational."
The Israel supporters were mostly elderly and seemed to be immensely pleased with themselves. However, their position is about as brain dead as Ariel Sharon, who the gentlemen wearing the Israeli flag like a muu-muu somewhat resembled. Don't they care that their grandchildren are going to be despised by just about every culture in the world thanks to Israel's barbarous behavior?
They obviously don't give a damn about Palestinian children, but you'd think that simple self-preservation would speak to the idea that it's not a good idea to piss off every other nation in the world, a lesson that the United States should also take to heart.