Wednesday, April 18, 2007


mass rabbinic arrest
mass rabbinic a.c.d.
mass rabbinic impact

(no, not the kind that UOJ is waiting for)

or:  וכיתתו חרבותם לאיתים
or:  Dude, Where's My Press Pass?
or:  Someone Had to Hold the Umbrella

Welcome Right-Wing Political Bloggers!
Welcome to the Hall of the Goblin King and its "MASS RABBINIC ARREST" post. Please be aware of two things:

1. This is not a political blog.
2. I am not right-wing.

This post is not about Ahmadinejad being a psycho, or about what the rest of the world should do about it. This post is about spiritual activism, civil disobedience, demonstration-as-holy-ritual-act and people I know getting handcuffed and carted off to Central Booking.

If you would like to dicuss those subjects, by all means comment here!

If, on the other hand, you would like to engage in the kind of self-congratulatory and other-demonizing rhetoric that both Right Wing and Left Wing political blogs are known for, please keep that on your own websites. :–)

Why is this directed to Right Wing Political bloggers
and not to the Left Wing Political bloggers?
Because LGF has linked here,
and whoever their leftist equivalent is has not.
Which is okay, 'cause so far you rightist people
are sympathetic to the protesters and their cause.

— Steg

Yesterday, Rav Avi Weiss and the Jewish activist organization he founded, AMCHA: the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, coordinated a civil disobedience protest at the United Nations.

Around 50 rabbis and rabbinical students, as well as a lay communal leader or few, participated in the protest. They prepared themselves in a staging area near the Iranian Mission to the UN — putting on talleisim and distributing signs — and after a few short speeches and rounds of slogan-shouting, they marched, singing ‘Am Yisra’eil Hhai, to the steps that go down past the Isaiah Wall across the street from the UN buildings.

At the bottom of the steps, they sat down, blocking the public thoroughfare. This is what is called civil disobedience — a purposeful and non-violent violation of a law in order to make a point. Classically, the civil disobedience of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. was for the purpose of demonstrating the injustice of a law; for instance, people of African descent were unjustly required to sit in the back of the bus and give up their seats to people of European descent, so Rosa Parks sat near the front and refused to move. She broke the law in order to promote a vision of society in which that law didn't exist.

In this case, though, R' Weiss and other speakers stressed multiple times that they have no quarrel with the City of New York or its laws. They were there to step beyond the line as they put it, in order to make their point:
"It's a serious matter to step beyond the line, to violate the law. But we must do so as a moral outcry to the world that it can't be business as usual. The time has come to expel Iran from the United Nations."
A member-nation of the UN which threatens to erase from the pages of history another member-nation does not deserve to be part of that international organization. And in a world with the "fire" of nuclear destruction threatening to burn not just Israel, but Europe and the United States as well, no one can go on with life as usual — even something as simple as walking down the street, or down public stairs.

That was their message. Iran — specifically, their president, Maḥmūd Aḥmadinejad — is dangerous, and must be expelled from the community of nations. And they were willing to "step beyond the line" of the law in order to get their message across. So they made their speeches on the stairs, and they sang לא ישא גוי אל גוי חרב ולא ילמדו עוד מלחמה a few times under the wall with Yesha‘yahu's words engraved on them. And then they sounded their shofars and sat down. They were obstructing pedestrian traffic (much safer than trying to do the same thing with vehicular traffic in the street).

Soon after they sat down on the steps and went back to singing עם ישראל חי and שומר ישראל, a woman tried to come down the steps, but had a hard time because of all the people sitting in her way. After her, two men tried to walk up the steps, but had the same problem.

That meant it was time for the formal confrontation. A representative from the police department addressed the protestors, explaining to them that they need to cease obstructing pedestrian traffic, or they will be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct (as well as more severe offenses if they actively resist). So about half of the protestors stepped back and dispersed along the upper reaches of the staircase, obeying the police orders, while the other half remained sitting and blocking the steps, expressing their willingness to go all the way and be arrested in order to make their message heard more dramatically.

And so, one by one or two by two, the waiting police officers with their belts full of plasticuffs handcuffed the civilly-disobedient protestors and deposited them in the back of two police vans.

So now you know what they were doing there.

But what the heck was I doing there?

I was being a sympathetic observer...

...and impersonating a press photographer.


Let's start from the beginning. The only reason I had heard about the protest before it took place was because one of the rabbis who participated is my consultant-and-poseiq on aveilut matters. While I was a proud participant in an April Fool's Day Anti-Winter Protest in college, I had never really been up close and personal with a serious demonstration — much less one involving civil disobedience and arrest! And so I felt that I couldn't miss this opportunity to witness a real live action of Jewish Spiritual Activism, especially since it would involve a friend-and-authority-figure I respect getting handcuffed and tossed into a police van! I mean, how many times in your life do you get to see something like that (assuming that you associate primarily with law-abiding folks)?! Especially when it's for a good cause, as opposed to for an actual crime (which would be bad)! As it turns out, a number of other people I know showed up to participate in the protest — and whether they 'wimped out' and stepped back at the end, or went all the way to jail, every one of them displayed impressive dedication to the cause.

So... people I know are getting arrested... what to do, what to do... take pictures, of course! All the pictures in this blog post — and many more — were taken by me, running around (and sometimes between) the protesters and dodging all the other professional and amateur photographers, reporters and videocamera operators, with the obvious exception of the lower-right picture below, which was taken by a participant (Yonah Berman).

My Time In Jail

My impersonation of a news photographer/reporter ends here. For more info of a news type, see the following websites:

The Bergen County Record
     Rabbis' plan: Get arrested at U.N. to protest Iran
     Rabbis arrested in protest
     (post-protest report)

‘Arutz Sheva‘
     22 Jewish Leaders Arrested Calling for Removal of Iran at UN
     (only article i could find within a few days)

     Stop Iran Now!
     (video of the official confrontation and the arrests)

Rabbi Mark Ankcorn
     Protest at the UN
     (cellphone video from inside the police van)

YouTube, Yonah Berman's Video
     Stop Iran Now! 2
     (video taken by one of the non-arrestee participants,
      rabbinical student Yonah Berman)

The Jewish Week
     Tuesday The Rabbi Got Arrested
     (best article title ever)

Yahoo News Photos, Iran Nuclear Issues
     one two three four five six
     seven eight nine ten eleven

AM New York
     Pictures for the Week of April 15th
     (pictures #119-136)

New Jersey Jewish Standard
     Rabbis protest Iran, mourn Virginia victims

The Herald-Argus of LaPorte, Indiana
     Rabbis arrested in protest against Iran
     (laporte, indiana? with an article focussing on teaneck, nj?)

Heritage Florida Jewish News
     Spiritual disobedience: Orlando rabbis arrested protesting Iran
     (very good article focusing on the participants from florida) (Esther D. Kustanowitz)
     Arrested development: is all activism equal?
     (opinion piece)

‘Arutz Sheva‘'s Tovia Singer
     INTERVIEW WITH R' AVI WEISS [4/26/2007]
     (radio interview with the organizer of the protest)

One of the major goals of this kind of protest is the publicity it generates. Rabbis getting arrested should be fairly big news, at least locally around New York — or at least an interesting enough event to get a short video blurb on the evening news. Unfortunately for the organizers, the Spring Nor'easter of 2007 hit a few days before, and the day before the protest, Cho Seung-hui perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. So there were wasn't much room in the news for an article or segment about a bunch of rabbis being arrested in a civil disobedience protest outside the UN.

Now, for the personal reflection part of this post.

I went to the protest expecting it to be corny. I also went there not understanding the point of getting arrested. Why not just stage a protest, declare your principles and your message to the public, and then disperse? What does getting hauled away in handcuffs and getting a criminal record add?

Now I think I understand, at least a little bit. The protest wasn't corny at all — on the contrary, it was dramatic. It worked. It got under my skin. I was trying to be a relatively objective photographer, recording the event (as well as meta-recording the press/media experience), but I had to constantly fight my instincts and stop myself from cheering the protestors on, singing along with them, and clapping them on the shoulder with a "yishar koahh" as they were led away (although i'm sure if i tried the last one, the cops would've intervened).

What surprised me the most about the experience of watching and recording it as it happened was the ritualistic feeling of it all. It literally felt like a holy symbolic act. Maybe even a form of sacrifice. The protest and its aftermath were all pre-arranged, pre-orchestrated, and pre-coordinated with the police. Watching it happen was like watching people going through the motions or acting in a play; everyone knew what was supposed to happen, and what each person's role was. And they fulfilled their roles happily, conscientiously, and seriously, because they weren't going through the motions mindlessly, without kavana — they were performing this ritual of civil disobedience with solemnity and respect, taking each step as it came, all according to plan. It was like watching someone make havdala, or shake a lulav, or pray — knowing that they really mean it.

The ritualistic atmosphere I felt was also generated by what the protesters were doing, and not just how they did it. This was for them a religious act. If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that Rav Avi Weiss came up with the idea of wearing a tallis while performing acts of activism in order to demonstrate that the acts are motivated by a specifically Jewish religious moral ethic. And so, many of the participants (who, remember, are mostly rabbis and rabbinical students) were wearing talleisim, some tied so that they wouldn't fall off during the arrest process. They were singing religious songs — ‘Am Yisra’eil Hhai as they marched down the sidewalks, Shomeir Yisra’eil as they sat waiting for the consequences of their violation of the law, and Lo’ Yisa’ Goy El Goy Hherev, invoking the Prophet Yesha‘yahu's words as they stood under those same words engraved on the wall.

It was an act of ritual, performed with kavana. It was serious. It was dramatic. And at least for this amateur photographer, it definitely left an impression.

Yishar koahh.

note of warning —

i have seen the disgusting outpourings of vitriol directed against the protesters (even before it happened!) in the comment threads of yeshiva world news and vos iz neias. i do not want to see anything of that kind here. i will delete all comments that attack individuals or groups. this is not vosizneias, and this is also not the yct~yu wars at hirhurim. this is my domain.

you can debate the efficacy or propriety of civil disobedience. you can critique this or other acts of protest organized by amcha. i want healthy discussion and debate — the operative word being 'healthy'.

remember: you are a human being; you are almost certainly a member of a civilization; and the vast majority of those reading these words are ba‘aley berit, contract-mates with each other and with God. any one of those is sufficient reason to express disagreement in an exclusively polite manner.


Blogger The back of the hill said...


Both bravo to the protestors, and bravo to the gentleman impersonating a press-photographer.

Now, can we get you to visit the Bay Area in time for Israel in the Gardens, which happens in early June?

As usual, the Bay Area Women in Black, who have voiced support for Hezbollah and Hamas, will be protesting the evil Zionists.

And, equally as usual, some of us evil Zionists will be facing them with signs and flags, so that the visitors to the clebration will know what Women in Black really stands for, and that they are not opposed.

Come, join us evil Zionists. Seriously. We can certainly use you.

4/19/2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Oh by the way: in addition to kavanah, we also have a sense of humour when we protest. A sense of humour is the natural chavruso to kavanah.

4/19/2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

The back of the hill: (x2)

Thanks! I must unfortunately decline your offer; while i can skip out on work in the middle of the day to drive (through horrendous traffic, btw) to Midtown and get back in time to teach my afternoon classes, i don't think taking a flight to San Francisco would fit around my work responsibilities.

Actually, speaking of adversaries, i skipped in my recap the fact that as the protestors began their march down the steps to the Wall, a group of about 10 Neturei Karta counterprotestors appeared at the plaza at the bottom of the steps! I actually have a series of three great pictures of the police officers/lieutenants who were directing motion look down, see the NK, and react with this great "what the heck are THEY doing here?" look; next thing you know, their kicking the NK counterprotestors out of the area and threatening them with serious violations if they don't move away and around the corner. You see, unlike the ritualized AMCHA protesters, these NK doofi didn't think to pre-arrange their presence with the authorities... :-P

re: Sense of Humor, yes, that was evident at a number of points also. I actually have a photo where it looks like my rav is holding a sign in front of his face so that he doesn't LOL because of my paparazzi'ing. Later on, when the arrestees were waiting to be loaded onto the police vans, it definitely looked like everyone there — the protesters and the police — were having, if not fun, definitely no hard feelings. More of a "grin-shrug, everything's going according to plan so there's nothing to worry about" attitude.

4/19/2007 7:27 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

okay, i'm definitely not cut out to be in the press business... i just wrote "their" instead of "they're". but maybe that's what they have editors for   ;-)

4/19/2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger beverly said...

I must admit my suprise at your reaction. I almost would think that your positive response was due to the fact that you know one or more of the protestors, but I think that you generally value independant thought more than that.

I would not have expected you to support something which causes rabbis to get arrested, even if it was only to raise awareness. The chillul Hashem here is tremendous. What would you say if dozens of palestinians blocked traffic in order to raise awareness of the suffering of people in Palestinian settlements?

To take members of the police force away from their jobs of protecting the city so that Jews can get media attention is not an effective protest method at all. Its a way to perpetuate the anti-religous feelings in this country.

4/19/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If dozens of Palestinians blocked traffic in order to raise awareness, I hope I would say that they are human beings too, and if they are prepared to do such a demonstration, they must be very distressed.

Nice post, btw, steg. Good job.

4/19/2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


The reason i support it is the same reason that i originally thought it was a silly idea — the superficiality of the act.

What is it that they were doing? They were having a demonstration, stating their case, waving signs and singing songs. The crime they were arrested for was *disorderly conduct*, which is a violation, not a criminal offense. It's roughly equivalent to getting a parking ticket.

If you check the timestamps on my pictures, the entire process of the protest — from initial rally at 40th & 3rd to final arrest by the Wall, took only about an hour (noon-1pm). The actual sit-down civil disobedience part only lasted about 20 minutes, from shofar blast to final arrest. Of that time, only 10 minutes elapsed during which the rabbis were "actively" (i.e., passively; they were just covering the floor with their butts, not pushing people back) obstructing pedestrian traffic. And even then, the 'trigger' pedestrians were still able to make their way through the crowd!

The whole thing was a ritual, that's what impressed me so much! It's all symbolic! No one was really inconvenienced; no one was charged with a real crime (except maybe one troublemaker at the end who decided to lie down on the ground and cause the cops to have to pick him up). It's all a publicity stunt — a symbolic, dramatic, holy publicity stunt!

If you don't know exactly what's going on — or the extent to which the entire thing was pre-arranged between the protestors and the police — then it could look like a hassle. But the drama is all bluster — it's literally drama, ritualized, with a moral message!

(i'm really way too excited about this... gotta cut down on the exclamation marks) :-P

When it comes to the police, a coworker of mine who has worked as an Assistant District Attorney in NYC explained that the officers who attend these pre-orchestrated demonstrations *volunteer* for it, for easy overtime pay. It's not taking them away from their jobs, it's just giving them an opportunity to make a little extra money doing something extremely easy.

I do worry about the potential hhilul hasheim though. When i see headlines spread around the internet saying things like "Rabbis Arrested Protesting UN" it makes me cringe; it sounds like hooligans lighting tires in the street, and doesn't express the reality of what went on at all. Maybe R' Weiss thinks that it makes them look like desperate people oppressed by 'the man', i don't know, i've never actually talked to him (although i do have a picture or two where he's looking straight at me; it's sorta spooky). But i do think that due to the fact that most people *don't* know exactly what went on, there is an unfortunate potential for publicity being negative.

4/19/2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Hatam Soferet:



Sorry, i forgot to answer your question about hypothetical Palestinians. My answer is yes, i would support a similarly ritualized protest by people raising awareness about the suffering of Palestinian civilians (assuming it was based on fact and not blood libels).

If, on the other hand, it was a protest lauding Ḥamās, Ḥizballáh, or other terrorist groups — i would most certainly *not* support it.

And if it was a [non-terrorist-supporting] demonstration that actually severely inconvenienced the public, i would not have quite as much sympathy for their message as i might otherwise.

4/19/2007 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your description of the protest as ritual; it fits in perfectly with the notion as practiced by community organizers. What seems lacking, however, is a consideration of reaction. If this was designed to generate an internal reaction (mobilizing a base, making people feel good, etc.) then that's fine. If it was about an exercise of power, however, then it seems lacking, since I fail to see who would be reacting in a way that furthers them accomplishing their goal.

That aside, my problems with the protest as presented (and as I could see from the photos): (1) no women (where was Sara Hurwitz, for one?); (2) distasteful slogans (in violation of Godwin's Law, reason, and taste); (3) a foolish and ultimately counterproductive stated goal; (4) a methodology and rhetoric that only make more intransigent the convinced on both sides and leave the thoughtful unconvinced with a bad taste in their mouths, or at least no way to form a coherent opinion.

Oh, and there's a dagesh hazak in the mem, so it should be: AMECHA. And why was R. Herman wearing a scarfy tallit? Assur! ;-P

4/19/2007 9:43 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


1. there were a few women; i didn't put all of my pictures up here, maybe i should have put one with women in order to fix that misimpression. i don't know who Sara Hurwitz is, so she may have been there. i'm sure you can contact someone involved.

2. yeah, i thought some of them were a bit much; although can you think of a more potentially accurate person to compare to Hitler than someone who puts on Holocaust denial conferences and threatens other nations with annihilation? (and who, btw, i am ashamed to report, a number of the speakers butchered his name)

3. i read somewhere on the internet in the last few days that protests are only really effective when the goal is actually realistic — because then the protest might actually 100% succeed, as opposed to just raising consciousness, which is also a goal of protests. i doubt that anyone expected the UN would listen to them here; i assume it was more of a declaration of principles.

4. what exactly are you referring to in point 4?

5. maybe they're protesting against the sheva’ :-P

6. i overheard one of the rabbis talking about bringing not his best or usual tallit, so if it gets a little damaged it wouldn't be so bad. that could've been it.

4/19/2007 10:03 PM  
Blogger Rabbi Ben Greenberg said...

Let me express publicly my thanks for your paperazzi like photography. It was also very nice to meet you in the world of basar ve-dam and not just bits and bytes.
Shabbat Shalom!

4/19/2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


you're very welcome! hopefully next time we meet in person there'll be time for more than just "hey you're you, i'm me, good luck" :-)

4/19/2007 10:52 PM  
Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

Very well written post. Thanks.

4/20/2007 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Sara Hurwitz is the "mashgiha ruhanit" at HIR, although she is still considered part of the rabbinic staff.

2. I'd rather skip the comparisons altogether, since drawing them is a futile exercise anyway -- all they do is allow people to retreat into demonization rather than think through why, pragmatically, someone might use the rheotirc Ahmadenijad is using. (And if the criteria is "annihilating other countries" I can think of at least one סנה who is beating him 2-0.)

3. I agree, but that was my first point, namely, that it wasn't clear to me what the real goal was. I just think the stated goal is foolish.

4. Yelling and screaming and name-calling drags down the quality of thought and discussion. For people who are already convinced Iran/Ahmadenijad (and the identification of a people with their leader is fundamentally problematic) deserve punishment, they're just masturbating; for people who are convinced that Jews/Zionists are irrational sputum-spewing despot-wannabes, they get more evidence to toss in their bag. Everybody else loses.

(A real solution one could rally for would be funding student protest groups in Iran. I attended a meeting on capitol hill last summer in which a leader of one of those groups testified that internal civil protest is starting to become organized and effective, but is undermined the more Western countries bully Iran. Hmm -- you think that this might be what Ahmadenijad wants?!)

4/22/2007 10:22 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


1. ah interesting

2. i don't dispute your point; i'm just explaining why i feel the comparison isn't quite as gratuitous as such things usually are.

3. i'm still vacillating on the worthiness of the gesture

4. they didn't actually identify Iran completely with Ahmadinejad; you can see in at least one picture one of the signs (of which there were multiple) that said Ahmadinejad: a disgrace to noble Iran. i vaguely remember the speeches containing points about the Iranian people and distinguishing them from the government's policies/statements, but i don't remember any specifics.
Good point about helping Iranian protest groups!

4/22/2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

jacob da jew:


4/22/2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said...

Avi Weiss did a very great thing here. I wish more rabbis were like this. I didn't see the YW & VIN comments, but it surprises me that there should be such things. If anything I'd expect it to come from moveon or salon. As much as I very staunchly oppose most things Avi Weiss does (check my previous post) but in this field he's #1.

Take it from me, a strong anti-Zionist.

4/22/2007 1:29 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/22/2007 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work, that's all that needs to be said. It's for a good cause.

4/22/2007 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless these folks! And thank you for the report.

4/22/2007 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More power to these rabbis and others who are saying they aren't happy with how things are being handled by establishment leaders and are willing to take their own stand.

The saying that the squeeking wheel gets the grease seems to be the motto of the Muslim community, and they do get establishment grease from coast to coast. It may be time the Jewish community starts making some noise.

Thanks for reporting on this and to LGF for carrying the link to your blog. We heard nothing about it in Chicago

4/22/2007 11:50 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

"What would you say if dozens of palestinians blocked traffic in order to raise awareness of the suffering of people in Palestinian settlements? "

I'd say they should go protest to the EU, not the UN. The suffering of the so-called "palistinians" is mostly due to the funding by the EU of the arch-terrorist Arafat, ym'schmo, and their new support for Hamas.

I'd also say you need to re-think "moral equivalency" if you think its simply about equating "protestors" - Israel isn't trying to wipe out the so-called "palistinians", they have offered them a state over and over, while the PLO, PA and Hamas Charters STILL TALK OF ALL OF ISRAEL... and of course, Iran is committed to whipping out Israel.

PS - "(A real solution one could rally for would be funding student protest groups in Iran. I attended a meeting on capitol hill last summer in which a leader of one of those groups testified that internal civil protest is starting to become organized and effective, but is undermined the more Western countries bully Iran. Hmm -- you think that this might be what Ahmadenijad wants?!)"

No, I suspect that "student leader" is working, consciously or not for Amanutjob. The only way the Iranian students are going to topple the mullahs is to kill many of them. If you want to fund the students, figure out a way to send them knives and guns. either that or warn them to get out of the way if they don't want to be collateral damage.

4/23/2007 2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What would you say if dozens of palestinians blocked traffic in order to raise awareness of the suffering of people in Palestinian settlements? "

I'd say send me a telegram the day the Palestinians abandon terrorist murder and adopt the tactics of non-violent protest. If they had done that from the beginning, this conflict would have ended a long time ago.

4/23/2007 3:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Godwin's law doesn't apply when you're talking about someone who wants to do the same thing Hitler tried to do, murder all the Jews.

4/23/2007 3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...think through why, pragmatically, someone might use the rheotirc Ahmadenijad is using."

Pragmatically, I've thought it through and decided that Ahmedinejad uses the rhetoric he is using because he hates Jews and wants to kill all of us. We heard this same kind of rotten cynicism back in the '30s, "Hitler is just playing to the crowd, he doesn't really mean it, he's a reasonable guy just like us"

4/23/2007 3:15 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

The Anti-Semite:

i don't think the YW & VIN reacted the way they did because they love Ahmadinejad; they did it because they hate R' Avi Weiss, YCT, [Modern] Orthodoxy, etc.

4/23/2007 7:31 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


then i suggest telling them that :-P


no problem


You're welcome... although if i knew that i was going to be linked to by LGF and so many other right-wing political websites/blogs, i might not have done it :-P . I'm a leftwing moonbat, not a rightwing nutjob. Or is it the other way around? I can never remember.


If you're going to use sarcasm quotes around someone's identity, at least spell the word correctly. And your objections to the Palestinian civil disobedience protest scenario are irrelevent — whether it's likely or not, the point is the hypothetical reaction to the hypothetical scenario. This post is much less about the particular politics of the protestors than it is about the protest itself.

Gary Rosen:

I agree with you that the Palestinians should have tried nonviolent protest a long time ago. Of course the reason they didn't is probably because they're not trying to get a change out of their own government, which is what civildisobedience is for — they're still fighting a war of nationalism vs nationalism from before the State of Israel was founded.

4/23/2007 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just so you know Women in Black are protesting every Saturday at 12-1 at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA. Rabbi Bloom led about 50 of his congregants from Temple Beth Abraham on a counter protest this past Saturday (4/21) though we didn't get any press coverage that I'm aware of, it felt good and we didn't get arrested either!

Women in Black is an anti Israel group of which many Jews are members- it is shocking to see fellow Jews in support of Hamas and if their (both Hamas & WiB) wishes come to pass what we all know - the destruction of Israel.

Stand with Us has been counter protesting WiB at the Grand Lake and elsewhere.

Thank you Rabbi and all for publicly speaking out against true evil in the world.

4/23/2007 11:35 AM  
Blogger Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Well done to both the reporter of these events and the protestors themselves. I think this one will have legs more than you imagined.

4/23/2007 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its important to note that support for the Jewish community and Israel is not (at least should not) be a right/left issue. So whether the link comes from LGF or Kos, or myDD etc. the important thing is that the author was able to bring news of the event to a wider audience. Thanks for the post Steg.

4/23/2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


Are you in touch with The Back of the Hill?

Andrew Ian Dodge:

Thanks. We'll see how far it goes... :-)

David C:

You're welcome! I've heard of LGF and Kos... what's myDD? And thanks for your message about it not supposed to be a right/left issue.

4/23/2007 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MyDD is a left-leaning political blog (

4/23/2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger Batya said...

Really fantastic post in every way.

4/24/2007 2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Toda raba for sharing.

4/24/2007 12:44 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


You're welcome!

4/24/2007 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steg- how cool! About the best that I could muster up here in Colorado was a pro- israel rally. Too bad that some of those other negative things happened and obscured what the protesters were doing, because they certainly deserved to be heard.

4/24/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


it was definitely a lot of fun, though, that's for sure

4/24/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Rav Avi Weiss is a tzaddik of the highest order.

4/24/2007 10:50 PM  

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