THE PLANK APRIL 23, 2009
To illustrate the point I made in my article yesterday -- about how the dynamics of Durban I have been reversed in Durban II, with pro-Israel activists vastly outnumbering and out-organizing anti-Israel activists -- here are two photos:
The first photo (above) is of a pro-Israel rally held in the plaza right outside the UN complex, which included hundreds of people waving Israeli flags and holding placards with slogans like "End Double Standards! Stop Demonizing Israel!!' and "Teach Children Love, Not Hate." Activists had been flown in from across Europe to attend the rally -- particularly Christian supporters of Israel. Pro-Israel speakers presented from a big stage at the front, their words booming across the pavillion. The prime location ensured most of the day's departing delegations saw the demonstration. Interesting stat, courtesy of the JTA: Between them, the French and European Jewish student groups had 370 members accredited, amounting to more than one-third of all the NGO activists at the conference.
The second picture (above) is of an anti-Israel protest that occured a mile or so away from the conference, on a deserted strip along the Lake Geneva boardwalk. The protest, organized by a coalition of Iranian NGOs, featured giant placards chronicling the timeline of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, as well as dozens of large photos of Palestinian casualties from the invasion. They distributed "Maps of Palestine" booklets and pens emblazoned with a "Jewish star = Swastika" logo. A half-dozen activists toted signs calling Israel an apartheid state and comparing Zionism to racism. Other activists from the NGOs stopped passers-by to tell them, in broken English, about "the Israeli boycott of Gaza" (I think they meant "blockade"). In the 15 minutes I was there, I'd say 20 people stopped by. This is certainly not Durban I.