Monday, January 12, 2009

Gays for Gaza Demonstration in the Castro

Saturday 10 January 2009

The rally for Gaza at the San Francisco Civic Center went well, pretty much as expected and by the numbers. Over a thousand, maybe 2 thousand ofr us rallied, we marched around downtown, came back to Civic Center. There were maybe a hundred Zionist demonstrators across the street by City Hall.

My signs were much photographed and appreciated. On one side

“Never Again”
must be a cry in defense
for all humanity.
If it is used to justify brutality against others
it makes us no better than our past oppressors.

And on the other:

German Jews 1939
Palestinians 2009
Property confiscated and destroyed
Food & basic medical care denied
Deprivation of jobs & livelihood
Religious discrimination/Racism
Mass Round-ups & Detentions
Mixed marriages outlawed
Squalid relocation camps
Children murdered
Resistance labeled as “terrorists”
Settlements = Lebensraum
“Never Again” is for everyone!
What did we learn from the Holocaust?

The “Never Again” side, in larger print was clearly visible across the street when I held it up to the Zionists.

Where it got a little more interesting was in the Castro at 3:00 where Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism in Palestine (QUIT Palestine) led a demonstration of GLBT support for Gaza. We had several dozen, maybe 50 people at Harvey Milk Plaza. What would have been a nice little hour, maybe an hour and half of waving signs and chanting was energized into so much more by a group of about a dozen Zionists across the street from us. We really should thank them for giving us so much focus and energy.

Having taken a lunch break between the two demos I got to the Castro a little late and when I arrived some of our folks were on both sides of the street. I decided to go where the fun was. The anger and vehemence were so – well, scary. They weren’t seriously dangerous then and there, but they were spitting out insults and names, making odd assertions and screaming “Lies!” at any disagreement.” One guy instantly asked me when was my last therapy appointment. One woman said, “Did you know all the Gay Arabs are fleeing to Israel?” A few, yes, most no. (And never mind the absurdity of her statement!) “Oh, you’re such a liar!” she yelled. Some of the women kept shouting “Remember Mumbai!” Which has what to do with Israel and Palestine? I guess that Muslims are scary terrorists – unlike the IDF bombing schools and hospitals in Gaza.

We eventually went back to “our” side of the street and not only did we have many more people, but we clearly had more gay people, and we even had more Jews on our side of the street. As for all those gay Arabs fleeing into Israel from oppression in their own lands, all the gay Arabs present were on our side.

Finally they rolled up their flags and went home, and after a little bit longer, so did we.


Dusty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dusty said...

Just a reminder from someone standing opposite you in the Castro:

Why I stand with Israel:

LGBT Rights in Israel
-Gays have full rights to serve in the military
-Sodomy laws were struck down in 1988
-Full civil rights for LGBT people established in 1992
-Partner benefits for all governmental employees, including the national airline, El Al
-Partner adoption rights
-In 2007 the State agreed to recognize same gender marriages preformed abroad, similar to its recognition of other civil marriages from other countries

And you know what happens to us in Arab lands, doncha?

So, what happened to all those people who threw shoes at us? Did they really walk home barefoot?

Starjack said...

How does any of this legitimize dropping white phosphorus on Palestinian children, bombing people's homes? keeping food and medicine out of occupied territories? And you think Queer Palestinians aren't being killed by Israeli bombs and bullets?

Palestine was an open, multi-cultural, tolerant society before Zionists polarized the country, terrorizing & dislocating gentile Palestinians into refugee camps.

Brutalizing and starving people doesn’t make them queer-friendly.

I didn't see anyone throwing shoes at you. I may have missed that, or you could be hallucinating.