Ahmadin-a-palooza

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Earlier this afternoon, I attended the rally protesting the attendance of President Ahmadinejad at the UN General Assembly.  While there, I wrote a running diary.  Here it is:

10:55- A bunch of my friends from Montreal/Ottawa/Toronto have come to New York to join the protest.  I meet them at the offices of the American Jewish Committee.

11:02- I overhear/participate in the first Palin debate of the day.  “She should be here!” “No she shouldn’t!” Oh, the excitement.

11:03- While the Palin argument carries on, 3 kids starting arguing over how much the Toronto Maple Leafs suck.  Glad to hear that they are in the spirit of protest.

11:11- 2nd Palin argument.  Supposedly, there are people who are protesting the rally because Palin was disinvited.  I’m not sure where to start with this.  Do you really hate Hillary more than Ahmadinejad?

11:12- I see a sign, “Israel is here to stay.” That’ll shut those protesters up.

11:14- I’m offered a free t-shirt.  I consider for a moment being that I haven’t done laundry in a while, but then decline.  On the back, the shirts say “Stop promoting genocide.”  But the girl in front of me’s hair is so long that is only says “promoting genocide.”

11:19- I can’t get that SNL song, “I Ran So Far Away” out of my head…”like a very hairy Jake Gyllenhall to me…”

11:22- For security reasons, no signs are allowed to be held up by wood, so a lot of signs are using paper towel rolls.  How many ribs and chicken wings did these people have to eat in order to use an entire roll of paper towels?  I would not want to be a toilet on the Upper West Side tonight.

11:24-A bunch of cars are honking.  I can’t confirm this, but there might be a “Honk if you’re horny” sign.

11:25- First inappropriate joke of the day.  My friend asks, “Would you rather- Palin or Wiesel?”  I have no response (Palin).

11:28- Someone asks whether or not the Neturei Karta need a minyan in order to protest.

11:46- I arrive at Dag Hammarskjold Square.  Which brings me to the question, do you need to have a hilarious name in order to become the Secretary General of the UN?  Hammarskjold, Boutros Boutros Ghali, Ban-Ki Moon…the list goes on.

11:47- Nothing says “No Nuclear Weapons” like Israeli singing and dancing. Except in Dimona.

11:48- Israel denies the previous statement.

11:52- An old Jewish man yells at me.  I feel at home.

12:01- The rally starts with a “Stop Iran Now” chant.

12:02- Iran is still going.

12:04- I spot a sign with Ahmadinejad burning in a car with his head cut off.  Pleasant.

12:08- Another sign- “Where is Sarah?”  Answer: Hunting.

12:12- My member of Parliament back in Montreal, Irwin Cotler, is speaking.  I make a “Jeremy Moses Guarantee” that he will end his speech with the words Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof (Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue).  I have heard Cotler speak 20 or so times and he uses that line every single time.

12:14- I should mention that I made my own bingo sheet to play with at the rally.  And within 12 minutes, I already have a line with the words nuclear, Hezbollah, Holocaust, human rights and Rosh Hashanah.  I’m going for the whole square.

12:18- Cotler is finished speaking and he didn’t say the line!  I feel cheated.

12:19- 3rd Palin argument.  This one involves so many people that I can’t even hear the speaker.

12:24- Hardest part about Jewish rallies- its really cramped and all the girls are shomer negiya (they don’t touch guys).  Whats a young Jewish boy to do?

12:26: Another “Stop Iran Now” chant, and I’m pretty sure they still aren’t listening.

12:31- I feel like I’m at a Phish concert.  So many Jews.  So little space.

12:35- I wasn’t paying much attention but I’m pretty sure people starting cheering for “denying the Holocaust.” That can’t be right.

12:38- Guy next to me is holding thundersticks.  Seriously, this is a rally not a baseball playoff game.

12:41- The speaker is talking about how Ahmadinejad “might be crazy and might be arrogant.”  True, I say.  But no one can deny he’s got sex appeal.

12:50- Elie Wiesel pronounces Ahmadinejad differently for the 4th time.  He has done no better than anyone else.  *In total, I counted his name pronounced 7 different ways over the course of the rally.

1:02- The people are starting to get restless.  Literally after every sentence they are chanting “Stop Iran Now.”  I’m getting bored.

1:10- My favorite sign of the rally, “McCaine-Palin” has been fixed.  Dan Quayle made the sign.

1:13- There are plenty of Palin signs here but I have yet to see a Hillary sign.  I guess Hillary supporters have jobs.

1:18- I’m officially bored.  I’ve decided to head to the back and listen to people yell things at the Neturei Karta.

1:20- You know their problem?  None of them smile.  It’s simple marketing.  If you want to get your point across, you gotta be approachable.  These guys just seem like zombies.

1:21- They start chanting something over and over again.  I’m pretty sure its “Braaaiinnnsss…”

1:32- The Neturei Karta guys are actually taking pictures of us!  Like we are on display.  Amazing.

1:45- I’m leaving.  So lets do a final count of what I spotted/heard.

There were minimum 15 “Stop Iran Now” chants.

Total Number of Israeli Flags: 41

Total Number of Palestinian Flags: 0

Total Number of Quebec Flags: 1

Before I arrived at the rally, I decided to set the “over/under” on how many times I would hear the phrase “Wipe Israel off the map” at 8.  I only heard it 6 times.  Which is a shame, because I was betting on it being at least 10.

As for the bingo card, I didn’t finish.  I never heard the words “Osama bin Laden,” “War on Terror” or “Ban Ki-Moon.”  Too bad.

Posted on September 22, 2008

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