"Stop the Killing of Palestinian Children" rally

Berkeley, June 20, 2006

Shortly after the Gaza Beach explosions that killed several Palestinians on June 9, Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), a radical anti-Israel group, issued a press release calling for a rally on June 20 in downtown Berkeley to "Stop the Killing of Palestinian Children."

Seeing as the deadly explosions were swiftly determined to be not Israel's doing and were instead almost certainly caused by the Palestinians themselves, I wondered what the MECA rally was going to focus on.

I shouldn't have been surprised to find out that Lubin and the protesters would completely ignore the growing evidence that the incident was yet another exploitative fraudulent propaganda ploy by the Palestinians to blame Israel for their own acts of violence.

The whole rally turned out to be just another excuse for the radical left in Berkeley to bash Israel, as usual.

The typical crew showed up: a combination of aging political activists trying to re-live their 1960s glory days, over-eager young college students also trying to re-create the wonderful 1960's glory days their professors have told them about, and a miscellany of Bay Area eccentrics.

About 100 people showed up in front of the Berkeley BART station and proceeded to march in circle. Click here (or on the picture above) to see a short video clip of the protesters going in circles.Which seemed like a fitting metaphor for these types of protests overall -- going around and around and never getting anywhere or doing anything constructive.

Two pro-Israel groups -- StandWithUs and SFvoiceFor Israel -- also got wind of the rally and made a surprise apperance, staging a vigorous counter-rally with about 40 people immediately adjacent to the MECA rally.

Highlighting the one-sided hypocrisy of the Middle East Children's Alliance and its total silence over the repeated intentional killings of Israeli children by Palestinians, the pro-Israel side was effective in getting its message out.

The MECA protesters were handing out these flyers to passersby, and sure enough -- circled in green -- they focused on the Gaza beach incident and placed the blame directly on Israel, in complete contradiction of the evidence. A series of speakers went up to a microphone and spoke at length about the deaths, each pointing the finger directly at Israel. Barbara Lubin herself got up and read a purported email from a Palestinian woman to the crowd. I recorded part of it: you can hear it by clicking here (mp3, 420kb):

Barbara Lubin (reading an email she received): "... Apache helicopters across the sky. Forty civilians were injured, ten killed. I watched Huda on the local TV, shocked, yelling, shouting, crying, 'Ya Baba, Ya Baba' -- Dad, Dad. Her father's dead body was on the sandy hill unable to answer the child's plea. Her mother was killed along with Huda's three brothers and sisters. In the hospital, the child arrived at Al-Awda Hospital with ten injured .... She was shocked and in a state of denial. She kept saying to me, 'Mom and Dad did not pass away, they're in another hospital.' Whole families were destroyed in minutes. But all I heard was, 'The Israeli Army will investigate this incident.'"

The loud voices you can hear in the background near the end of the recording are Israel supporters shouting that the deaths were caused by Palestine, not by Israel.

My favorite sign of the day: "IDF and DOD: defending Capitalism from the threat of PEACE"

The counter-protesters had a few signs of their own.

They had taped up these flyers on nearby newspaper racks.

This being Berkeley, there were other messages on the racks as well. Ahoy! What's this poster I see right around the corner from the "Stop the Jihad" flyers?

Par for the course, in Berkeley. Click here to see a close up view of the text on the poster.

After a very short vigil and rally -- less than an hour -- the anti-Israel protesters suddenly and unexpectedly departed on what looked like a march through the streets. (With a police bicycle escort.)

The marchers passed over yet another typical example of "Berkeleyness" -- sidewalk markers installed by the city government celebrating Berkeley's left-wing history.

The marchers headed off down the street, destination unknown...

...leaving the Israel-supporters to completely "occupy" original protest site unopposed.

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