Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I hope Charles Johnson, Michael Totten, and 'zombie' don’t mind my borrowing this photo. I printed it out yesterday and stuck it on the wall in my office this morning, where only I could see it. Today I sat with the man holding the sign, occasionally glancing at him while I worked, trying to understand.

‘SMASH THE JEWISH STATE’, he says. Smash the Jewish State. I’ve been rolling those words on my tongue and looking at the man’s image looking back at me.

He’s wearing a nice green golf shirt with a pocket. My dad likes a pocket in his shirts too, so he can have his sunglasses and other things handy. This person also has things in his pocket, just like my dad.

He’s also wearing a nice, good quality cap. It looks green, but it could be gray. I’d like to think it’s green and that he’s matched the colors. The cap looks like it has a little red five-pointed star pinned on it. Someone on Michael Totten’s comments said that he doesn’t look like a lefty, whatever that means, but doesn’t that star mean he’s a communist? I thought communists wanted to make the world a better place.

It looks like he’s made the sign himself, and attached it to the placard with clips. I wonder if he goes to a lot of demonstrations and changes the signs according to the subject on hand? That’s a very tidy, organized thing to do.

You know, physically, he reminds me of someone else. Someone I was just thinking about this year on Remembrance Day for the fallen of Israel’s wars. Guy called Yossi. He used to be in my class. I can’t remember how he was killed, but I remember not being surprised. He was the type of guy who was always ready to help, who carried the girls’ backpacks when they were tired on school trips. He was an innocent who really believed in things. And he was the type of guy who would think nothing of volunteering for the really dangerous stuff.

The appearance of the man in the photo is probably similar to how Yossi, my old classmate, would have looked had he been fortunate enough to reach fifty. He didn’t make it to twenty-six. But maybe our green-clad friend here could have learnt something from him about kindness, about industriousness, and about trying to make the world a better place. Oh, and about smiling at the camera. Yossi would have smiled at the camera, no doubt about it.

And he would never have been holding a sign saying anything like that.

Everything about the harmless-looking gentleman in the photo, in his green or gray cap, even his serious, committed expression, is in such sharp contrast with the viciously violent, hateful sentiment expressed on his little sign.

Smash the Jewish State. Smash the Jews in it. Smash my nine-year-old daughter. Smash her little collection of Bratz dolls, lovingly collected one by one. Smash our three-month-old kitten. Smash my great grandmother’s Shabbat candlesticks. Smash Ronit’s new baby with her dark skin and bright eyes, suckling milk from her mother’s breast in the shade of the tree. Smash Doctor Assuline, who helped bring her into this world. Smash Luda, who washed the room after mother and daughter had been wheeled away, and Hameed, who built the crib her parents bought for her when they brought her home from the hospital.

Smash the memory of my dead classmate, look-alike of one hate-filled American protester.

What did we do to this tidy, organized, serious man to make him hate us so much that he wants to smash us?

I suppose he will tell you he isn’t an anti-Semite.

Update: Thank you Mark in Mexico for such warm words of support. And thank you Yael in Boulder, for the excerpt of Oriana Fallaci.