On Saturday, OC Weekly staff writer Luke Y. Thompson and myself took to the streets to see what was going on in Anaheim as a left-wing group known as the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition and put together a fairly huge "Anti-Zionism" protest with only a few days notice. Fairly predictably, a smaller scale "Pro-Zionism" anti-protest protest set up shop across the street. The spectacle amounted to two groups of people, separated by six lanes of Saturday traffic, shouting at each other from opposite sides of the street.
For those not familiar with the term Zionism, and why there would be and protest against it, and a protest of those protesting against it, here's a very condensed breakdown. The area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river, known by some as Israel and some as Palestine, was one of the cradles of civilization with a history that goes back to the dawn of time. It was part of the Roman Empire, it's where the Crusades were fought, and it's where little baby Jesus was born. For the three major monotheistic religions, it's one of the holiest places on Earth. Therefore we kill each other over it.
Right now, according to the pro-Palestine groups, Israel is starving the Palestinians by blocking their supply shipments, energy and water, causing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. According to pro-Israel groups, Palestinians militants have fired rockets into Israel and therefore are bringing the starvation on themselves.
This stuff might seem like a world away to many of us, but for some participating in the protest, and the anti-protest protest across the street, it's very personal. So personal, in fact, that for the most part, all the "facts" they give are unreliable and all their opinions laden with mistrust and disdain for the other side. Wow, so American!
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