Doron Hindin’s piece about his experience with 15 others at the pro-Palestinian rally in Teaneck last week reminded me of the joke about the man who calls his wife on the way home from work to check in. Wife says, “Be careful; I heard on the news that one car is driving in the wrong direction on the highway!” Husband answers, “One car? There’s hundreds of them!”
If the community is doing one thing, it might be worth a moment to delve into why rather than call out the entire community as cowards.
As distasteful as supporting Hamas may be, these antisemitic blowhards acted within their First Amendment rights to spew their vitriol on a largely empty lawn along police property.
Not every rocket from Gaza was intercepted by the Iron Dome. Some rockets unfortunately hit civilian areas while others backfired or landed in open fields that caused little damage. Israel chose not to utilize its precious Iron Dome defense system to knock off missiles whose trajectories were deemed relatively harmless.
The same logic applied to avoiding this event. The local community did not “cede ground” as Mr. Hindin asserts, by choosing to enjoy Shabbat in lieu of confronting a few agitators. Rather, the community largely opted to let the pro-Hamas, intellectually dishonest rhetoric to blow in the wind of an open lawn. For example, video of the rally showed them loudly chanting, “From Palestine to Mexico, the apartheid walls have got to go!” Seriously? Aside from the ridiculous assertion that Israel—whose Arab population is represented in all echelons of Israeli society and enjoy more civil liberties than anywhere in the Mideast—is an apartheid state, the U.S./Mexican border is now an “apartheid” wall? These people were just looking for a catchy rhyme with no legitimate reason. Instead of a story about hate-filled idiocy flailing in the wind, Mr. Hindin’s presence made the story about 250 pro-Hamas activists outnumbering 15 pro-Israel supporters.
As we are increasingly being perceived as proxies in the Mideast conflict here in the U.S., it is important to vigilantly avoid physical conflict when we can. Thank God for the police who prevented pro-Hamas animus from escalating to physical confrontation with Mr. Hindin and his family. No doubt there were some there who would have liked to see it. Our community smartly chose not to engage.
I applaud Mr. Hindin’s support for Israel; you are not alone by any stretch. Intellectually honest Jews and non-Jews alike understand how important it is to support Israel. Mr. Hindin, I imagine that you joined the Tehillim gathering in Votee Park, the rally in Tenafly and will be at the parade next week. I urge all to contact our political leaders to voice our support for Israel as well. Large public displays of support and contacting leaders en masse may help sway public opinion and/or policy. Trying to out-yell anti-Semites at every open space does not.