Part 2 of the Bus 19 Anti-Terrorism rally in Berkeley, on January 16, 2005.

(If you haven't already seen Part 1 of the report, click here to go back to the main page.)

After being ushered back across the street by the police, the protesters immediately resumed shouting epithets at the Israel supporters.

Many of them fashioned their kaffiyehs into masks -- either to hide their identities, or to intimidate the Israel supporters, or to declare their solidarity with the masked terror groups in the Middle East. Or all three.

Before long, the chants became more overtly anti-Semitic: click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 2.4mb) of the Palestinian protesters chanting:
Protesters: Don't believe the news, it's controlled by the Jews!
Don't believe the news, it's controlled by the Jews!
Don't believe the news, it's controlled by the Jews!
Don't believe the news, it's controlled by the Jews!
Don't believe the news, it's controlled by the Jews!
Don't believe the news, it's controlled by the Jews!

Soon, their urge to initiate a violent confrontation could no longer be suppressed. They gathered up their flags and, shouting "Allahu Ackbar!", stormed across the street and through the park into the unsuspecting crowd listening to the anti-terrorism speakers. Things were about to get very ugly.

Click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 10mb) of an assault on the anti-terrorism rally by a group of Palestinian protesters. Here's a transcription of the incident:
Palestinian protesters: Allahu Ackbar! Allahu Ackbar! Allahu Ackbar!
Israel supporters: No violence! No violence. [Many people speaking at once.]
Jewish audience member: [Recites prayers in Hebrew.]
Protesters: Allahu Ackbar! Allahu Ackbar!
Jewish audience member: Adonai elohim! Adonai elohim! Adonai elohim! [Addressing the Palestinians] He loves you. Adonai loves you.
Angry Israel supporters: Murderers! Murderers! Murderers! Murderers! Murderers! Murderers!
Everyone: [Cacophonous arguing.]
Jewish audience member: [Addressing the Palestinians] Adonai loves you! Adonai loves you! [Unintelligible.] Abandon your hatred! Adonai loves you!
Angry Israel supporters: Murderers! Murderers! Murderers!
Palestinian protesters: [Unintelligible screaming.]
Everyone: [Cacophonous arguing.]
[The police and security guards separate the two sides.]

Thinking the crisis was over, the police eased off a bit for a moment and unwisely let the two groups come into contact again. Within seconds, the fists were flying. A teenage Palestinian boy (seen here on the upper right, with a kaffiyeh) attacked one of the Jewish audience members, but was quickly subdued by the police.

Click here (or on the photo above) to see a very short video snippet (QuickTime, .5mb) of the police wrestling the protester to the ground.

Later news reports said one of the Israel supporters was also detained (though I didn't personally witness this happening).

The police finally realized the seriousness of the situation and deployed the riot squad in full gear.

The invaders got the message, and after a bit more flag-waving and shouting, most retreated yet again back across the street. I went with them.

Over in the anti-Israel camp, I encountered a wide variety of Palestinian sympathizers. The ones who stood right next to the Palestinians were quite up-front about their feelings. The message "Hebrew Genocidists Out of Canaan" is part of a newly developing political meme (which I've begun to see more and more often at protests in Berkeley) that attempts to push the start of the "occupation" from 1967 CE all the way back to about 1400 BCE, when the early Israelite tribes first settled in the area now known as Israel and Palestine. As recorded in the Torah/Old Testament, the ancient Israelites battled with and defeated some of the inhabitants in part of an area known in pre-Biblical times as Canaan. According to this guy, the entire history of the Jews' 3,500-year association with the Holy Land is a "genocidal" military "occupation." Needless to say, in his view the only way to rectify this historical greivance is to drive the Jews out completely and permanently.

As I progressed down the block, the protesters' views became less and less extreme, and more and more naive.

A little further over were the old-time lefties, such as this woman who supported Barbara Lee (the US Representative for Berkeley and Oakland who voted to affirm her opposition to the separation barrier between Israel and the Palestinian Territories) and Rachel Corrie (the American activist who was run over by an Israeli construction bulldozer while working with Palestinian militants). This category of protester was strongly, stupidly anti-Israel, but not so aggressive that they'd dare to get into an argument with their opponents face-to-face.

At the other end of the block, standing as far away from the Palestinians as possible, were the wealthy North Berkeley peaceniks, with their expensive clothes. They want to show their peaceful hatred of Israel, but at the same time they feel uncomfortable being associated with those distasteful hotheads at the other end of the block. It's all revealed in their body language: standing upright and smug, but squinched over to the side as far as they can go, to distance themselves from the embarrassing rabble of their fellow anti-Israel protesters.

In fact, I discovered that if you were to stand behind the crowd, you'd see that the protesters had unconsciously arrayed themselves into a self-organized political spectrum, with the most violent and overtly anti-Semitic people on the far left side of the picture, and getting more and more naive and less and less vituperative as you move toward to the right side of the picture. It was a fascinating sociological manifestation, reflecting in a microcosm the structure of the entire modern "Left" as a whole.

Every now and then a car would drive by waving Palestinian flags, and the crowd would go wild.

Meanwhile, the chants continued unabated. Here's a sampling of what the afternoon sounded like.
Click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 1.6mb) of the protesters chanting:
Protesters: Down, down Israel! Down, down Israel!
Long live Falastin! Long live Falastin!
Down, down Israel! Down, down Israel!
Long live Falastin! Long live Falastin!

Click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 1.5mb) of the protesters yelling:
Protester #1: Y'all weak! Y'all weak! Y'all weak! [Smashes a flag-stick on the ground, breaking it.]
Other protesters: [Phrases in English and Arabic.]

Click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 1.6mb) of a protester yelling:
Male Protester: You just the killers! You're just the killers! You are weak! You got no [unintelligble], you got no right to be there!
Female Protester: [Laughs.]
Male Protester: Get out! If you are afraid to die, get out!
Female Protester: [Laughs.]

At this point something interesting happened. One of the well-dressed protesters from the middle of the block, apparently upset at some of the verbiage coming from the protesters at the far end, walked over and started trying to convince them to tone down their anti-Semitic language. I was standing next to her and managed to record part of the conversation:
Click here to hear a group of protesters strategizing about what their message should say (mp3 file, 300kb).
Please note that, as in the earlier clip, the sound quality is not very good, though the voices are audible:
Female protester: I'm not gonna tell you not to be loud and everything, 'cause I know it's in your heart.
Male protester #1: [Voices a grievance -- hard to make out.]
Female protester: You don't have to convince me.
Male protester #1: [Continues voicing grievance.]
Male protester #2: You know what? I think we gotta be careful.
Female protester #1: Yeah.
Male protester #2: Because ... we don't want to say any, uh, anything against the Jews.

There was no climactic end to the event: the chanting, arguing and confrontations rolled on for most of the afternoon. The police presence prevented any more violence, though tempers continued to flare all day. Below is a selection, in no particular order, of various scenes from the rest of the protest.

Holding a baby while yelling anti-Semitic epithets.

Click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 4.0mb) of a confrontation between a group of pro-Palestine protesters and a single senior pro-Israel woman.

Click here to hear a Palestinian protester showing off his knowledge of Shakespeare as he tells the Jewish protesters what would happen if they came over to his side of the street (mp3 file, 128kb). Here's a transcription:
Palestinian protester: Hey pussy! You know we can't go over there! We'll stay over here! Huh huh! ... We'll take a pound of flesh out of you for every life.

Dressed to kill.

One of the innumerable screaming arguments.

Click here to hear a Palestinian protester referring to suicide bombers as legitimate tools of war (mp3 file, 120kb):
Palestinian protester: We will win! Whether it takes one suicide bomber -- one day we will have tanks, we'll have tanks, we'll have the M-16s, and we'll see.

A pro-Israel supporter making a point about what it's like to live with the danger of terrorists in your midst.

A pro-fence sign.

This Protest Warrior tapped out a rhythm on a light pole with a coin, jamming with the anti-Israel chanters, who provided the vocals.

Click here (or on the photo above) to see a video (QuickTime, 3.5mb) of a homeless person taunting a masked pro-terror protester with cries of "Chicken!"

An anti-Zionist Christian (I guess).

My favorite outfit of the day: a custom-designed Superman-cape made from a Palestinian flag.


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