Last Monday I had the uh… distinct pleasure of attending the opening ceremonies of the Muslim Student’s Association “Israel: Apartheid Resurrected” program at UC Irvine. This is basically the annual Naqba day party that takes place on or around May 15, the date on the Gregorian calendar that the State of Israel was established. The program opened with a prayer in Arabic, later translated into English, which praised the martyr who gives up his life in the name of Allah. This was followed by a keynote presentation by Imam Mohammad Al-Assi, a controversial Washington DC-based Imam who was kicked out of his own congregation for pissing off the Wahabis.
Al Assi regaled the crowd of about 100 students (30 muslim supporters, 30 Jews and assorted passerby) with the usual shenanigans. That the Zionists represent a 5th column in America, that he can’t wait for the day when a sizable portion of the Jewish community will admit that Zionism is not only not Judaism but is in opposition to it. He made use of the very au courrant description of Zionists as financiers using their wealth and economic clout to distort American foreign policy. While he made it a point to emphasize that he distinguishes between Jews and Zionists, he also admitted that the vast majority of Jews are supporters of Israel. Add to that the accusations of Apartheid resurrected in Israel, the unprecedented human suffering of the Palestinian people, the genocide and the humiliation and you have all the ingredients of a rootin’ tootin’ Naqba party!
And what about the babes? Well, their babes were depicted carrying AK-47 assault rifles, while our babes were wearing messages of peace. Naqba is Arabic for disaster – and the real disaster isn’t the continued existence of the State of Israel on 27% of the Palestine Mandate. The real disaster is the continued whining, hatred and deification of death. Time to move on people! There’s civil war in Gaza, you’ve allowed the loons to take over and control your fates. Don’t you all want something better than this for your children?
Bla bla bla …
Man. Some things never change and I think everyone is getting bored of this annual dog and pony show. Even the Imam, who I am told is usually more bombastic, couldn’t get worked up for more than a minute or two. The crowd was polite and restrained, the Zionists smug but otherwise passive. Right now Rabbi Yo is on campus in a clown suit trying to get people excited. As for me? The liveliest conversation I had was with a Lebanese woman who spent last summer in Beirut (doh!). We both decided that what the Muslims and the Jews should do is have a hummus bake off. Obviously the Muslims will win, but at least much good hummus will be consumed and we can be gracious and let them win something, no?