Anti-Israel Protest in Front of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, CA on June 4th, 2010
On May 31st Israeli commandos raided a flotilla of six ships attempting to break the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Five of the ships were boarded by Israeli forces without incident, but the raid on the sixth ship resulted in the deaths of nine "activists" after Israeli soldiers were physically attacked by passengers aboard the boat as they were lowered onto the ship’s deck from a helicopter.
On June 4th I attended a demonstration outside of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, the ostensible purpose of which was to protest against Israel’s involvement in this event.
When I arrived at 4:30pm I found on the south side of Wilshire Blvd., directly in front of the Israeli Consulate, an extremely angry, chanting, fist-waving crowd of leftists, Muslims and assorted Israel-haters.
On the other side of the street, directly across from the anti-Israel protestors was a smaller group of pro-Israel, counter-demonstrators, waving Israeli (and American) flags.
I decided to visit the anti-Israel side of the street first, and as I crossed Wilshire blvd. I could hear them chanting the thinly veiled threat to eliminate the state of Israel, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!"…And when I stepped onto the curb the hatred was palpable.
People were yelling profanities at the mostly Jewish counter protesters across the street, calling them murderers and even worse, Nazis.
Members of the far-Left, International ANSWER, were loudly leading the crowd in angry chants of, "Racists Go Home! Racists Go Home".
In the following video you can see the Iraq War veteran turned radical Leftist, Mike Prysner leading the protesters in a chant of "Long live the Intifada!…Intifada! Intifada!"
I walked among the crowd taking pictures of the participants and their signs.
There was no shortage of useful idiots.
Many of the signs implied that the Israeli-Egyptian blockade prevents humanitarian aid from entering Gaza. This, of course, is a patently false accusation. The only things Israel wants to keep out of Gaza are weapons and armaments.
The clear underlying message of the protest was that Israel is an illegitimate, racist, apartheid state that takes delight in oppressing innocent Palestinians for no good reason, and that the only solution - the "key to peace" - is for Israel to dissolve their borders and allow their enemies to over run the country.
President Obama wasn’t getting any love either.
And, of course, some of the protesters couldn’t resist comparing the "apartheid" state of Israel with the American "apartheid" state of Arizona.
And to add the comparison, there was a troop of Aztec dancers on hand.
Here we have a sign which brings up the old Jews as Christ-killers libel.
And here the flotilla raid is compared to the Holocaust.
But the winner of the most overtly anti-Semitic protester of the day award had to go to this guy…
You can see that he is dressed up as a "big-nosed" Jew (note the Star of David on the tip of his fake nose) complete with sidelock (or peyos). I’ve seen this fellow before, just recently he was at an "anti-war" protest in Hollywood dressed in a similar get up.
Here’s a closer look at his flag…
It reads: "Tzipi Livni - State War Criminal / Israel - Satanic Master of USA" on an Israeli flag adorned with swastikas. Tzipi Livni is the leader of the centrist Israeli political party, Kadima. She is also a strong supporter of the "two state solution".
Shortly after I arrived a small group of pro-Israel demonstrators crossed the street and attempted to stand just before the anti-Israel protest so that the oncoming traffic would see them before they passed by the larger anti-Israel protest.
This furthered enraged many of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators who began shouting at the Israel supporters and chanting, "Israel is a racist state! Israel is a terror state!"
Soon both sides were shouting at each other.
At this point there were only about six police officers on hand, when one of the anti-Israel protesters came over and began yelling into the faces of the pro-Israel people.
One older cop decided to try and persuade the Israel supporters to go back across the street. Reluctantly, they did go back as the pro-Palestinian side heckled and jeered them.
All the while more and more demonstrators were showing up.
There were numerous small children among the crowd.
This little girl was wearing a Hamas headband.
I continued walking through the crowd which seemed to endlessly chant, "Long live the Intifada!"
At this point I heard a roar rise up in the crowd a bit further down the sidewalk so I ran down and saw that two pro-Israel women were attempting to walk through the protest but were being blocked by demonstrators who quickly surrounded them, screaming in their faces. Mike Prysner, was repeatedly forcing his bullhorn into the women’s faces, screaming his inane slogans. A scuffle ensues and quickly more Israel supporters approach, including one large man who does not like having a raving twit like Prysner scream through a bullhorn into his ear.
Within moments a number of young Israel supporters cross the street to defend the women who were being pushed around and shouted at. At this point all hell broke loose, and I was sure there would be a brawl. In this video you can see one rage-filled old geezer in a red shirt screaming profanities and calling a young Jewish man a Nazi. This old coot is a regular at Left-wing demonstrations in Los Angeles, and often wears a ‘Hammer and Sickle’ badge on his shirt. He is also a raving Jew-hater.
The police were completely outnumbered, but lucky for them the Israel supporters decided to back off and walked away.
A moment later I noticed a young woman with a video camera who was being pushed around by some pro-Palestinian activists. As a fellow photographer I felt sympathy for her and ran over near her. There is no law preventing anyone from filming or photographing people at a public protest, and in fact there were a number of other photographers nearby, yet the crowd had clearly decided that she was a Jew, and therefore they were going to run her off. Watch the following video as they shove her around and swat at her with their placards.
I stayed close behind her in case she needed my help, but she was pretty tough. One of her assailants even managed to whack me on the head too. Later she tried to file a police report, with a police officer who had little sympathy.
I gave her my contact information in case she wanted the video.
I figured this was a good time to cross the street to the pro-Israel side.
The first thing I noticed was that most of the pro-Israel demonstrators were quite young….many, if not most of them, appeared to be in their teens or early twenties.
In this video you can see young Israel supporters singing and dancing.
The other thing that struck me was the slogan that they chanted over and over again, "Israel wants peace. Hamas wants war!", and it contrasted with the chant of, "Intifada! Intifada!" coming from across the street.
It was pretty much the only thing they chanted aside from a brief chant of, "Let’s Go Lakers, Let’s Go!"
I walked along the sidewalk among dozens of Israeli flags photographing people and their signs.
During the time I was on the Israel side of Wilshire Blvd. perhaps 20-30 additional police arrived on the scene.
All the while cars with horns honking kept passing by affixed with, or waving, Israeli flags. This brought cheers from the pro-Israel side and boos and fist waving from the pro-Palestinian side.
Another difference between the two sides of the street was that, unlike the other side, numerous pro-Palestinian activists were able to walk down the sidewalk past the Israel supporters without being shoved and pushed into the street.
Here we see a man holding a Palestinian flag walking a small boy no more than four years old down the sidewalk past the pro-Israel demonstrators. A few people say things to him, but he is not accosted and most of the Israel supporters simply ignore the man. It is impossible to imagine someone holding an Israel flag successfully walking down the sidewalk past the protester on the other side.
Moments later a shouting match broke out between a few pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel teenagers. I did not see how it started, but the police quickly broke it up and moved the pro-Palestinian teens on down the street. What impressed me was that one pro-Israel young man wearing a yarmulke walked along with them. At first they spoke seriously, but after a few moments they were smiling.
Perhaps there is hope after all.
The protest was scheduled to end at 7pm and as that time was approaching I walked around and snapped a few more pictures.
The crowd on the pro-Palestinian side was twice a large as the pro-Israel side, but the pro-Israel side clearly had the support of a majority of the passing traffic judging by the number of people who honked in support, waving out their car windows and giving the thumbs up.
At 6:50pm a number of the pro-Israel demonstrators walked among the Israel supporters telling them that the protest was over. It was Shabbat. People hugged one another. Some of the teenagers formed a circle and sang a quick song. By 7pm sharp the entire pro-Israel side of the street was empty.
I left too.
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