Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We have the technology

"Israeli Apartheid Week" 2009

Monday, March 2nd: Part 2
Ryerson University

A friend handed me a few homemade flyers to distribute to the crowd in the lobby. I asked her for more and she scoffed, "You want more? Really? Hand those out first and then ask me for more."

She was surprised when I returned and asked for more... twice.

Now, I wouldn't want to call anyone an anti-Semite, but I noticed that the pro-Palestinians were more likely to accept a flyer from me than from a Jewish person. Their faces showed confusion when I brightly asked if they wanted a flyer and they looked from the flyer to my face and back again. Could their eyes be fooling them? I wasn't wearing an Arafat-scarf, so it was a quick judgment call. Was I for or against their ideas?

I didn't fool two young, black, hijab-wearing Ryerson students, though. They read the cover of the flyer and exclaimed, "Are you kidding?"

A few minutes later, they approached me and started to ask questions. Not friendly questions, mind you: one girl started off by demanding a yes or no answer to the question, "Do you support Israel's actions in Gaza?"

When I said yes, their heads went back, eyes raised to the ceiling, their hands flew into the air and they shouted, "Oh-Ho-o-o-oh!" They had me pegged, alright, and they were going to make me answer for Israel's "war crimes".

Our ensuing discussion demonstrated to me that Canada's schools are doing a terrible job of teaching young people to use logic and reason. The "arguments" these girls used were either incorrect or just plain lies. Underlying it all was an appeal to the base emotions of pity and hatred. Logic? Statistics? Theology? What have they got to do with tugging at heartstrings? Palestinian babies are being killed as we speak!

Higher Learning Lesson #2: It's all one big sob story and Israel is always to blame.

The first thing one girl said was that the situation in Gaza is "exactly the same as the Holocaust". She said it with a straight face, too. Never mind that most of the hundreds of Gazans who were killed during Operation Cast Lead were terrorists, compared to the 12 million people who died in the Holocaust.

When they countered with, "It's ethnic cleansing," I replied, "The population in Gaza is booming, actually."

"But Israel is bombing our mosques! It's our holy place! Do you support the bombing of mosques? What would you do if someone bombed a church? It's your holy place! I'm a Muslim and I wouldn't want someone to bomb a church!"

"If someone was stupid enough to store munitions inside a church," I said, "I'd tell the government to bomb the hell out of it."

Shock! Horror! And I call myself a Christian!

The girls laughed in derision when I said that Israel has the technology to detect weaponry that is stashed inside or beneath apartment buildings and mosques. Those images had obviously been faked, they said; I shouldn't trust anything unless it appears on the BBC's UK-based website.

A few minutes later they told me, again with straight faces, that Israel has the technology to distinguish between men, women and children and is using it to target and kill women and children.

Let me get this straight: Israel can see teeny-tiny private parts on its radar screens but not big, honking missiles and launchers.

"Hey, big fella, is that a missile launcher in your pocket or are you just trying to evade Israeli technology, inshallah?"

To be continued...