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"Hey Israel, what do you say? How many kids did you kill today?"
That was one of many myopic chants I heard at last night's sparsely attended Pots and Pans protest to "Save Gaza" from Israel. (There was no mention of the terrorist organization Hamas.) It was put on by the Anti-Genocide Noise Brigade and promoted by City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. While their Facebook event page says 1,300 people were invited, and 121 guests were RSVP'ed, I counted only 25 attendees by the end.
When I arrived, one of the leaders of the event gave me a flyer which proclaimed "Israel is deliberately killing entire Palestinian families." So, I knew I was in for low-level faux-intellectual talking points - ones that were very similar to the Hamas Charter, as it turns out.
The protesters marched for about 40 minutes through Capitol Hill streets, holding up traffic. There were some passersby shouting support, others shouting them down. It was entirely peaceful, though I use that term only to indicate there was no violence; their rhetoric oozed with hatred against Israel.
At the end of the protest, the group got together and the leader pleaded with people to bring friends to the next event, which they do weekly. One protestor, who had earlier called a passerby a 'cracker' along with saying something much more vulgar and juvenile, stood up to promote his radio show. (It turns out this weekend he's playing one hour of Palestinian music; he, too, pleaded for folks to give him recommendations.)
KIRO Radio's Brandi Kruse and I spoke with some protesters. One was a former Occupy participant who 'occupied' neighborhoods of Seattle over the last couple years. Brandi questioned her over the irony of just coming from a protest that chanted "Hey hey, ho ho, your occupation has got to go." The woman got angry.
A fellow protester chimed in, "Do they teach all you useless propagandists the art of logical fallacies?" Then the woman said, "We mean you're following in the footsteps of Goebbels!"
How cute. As a Jew, it's always special when you're compared to a Nazi.
I knew where this was going when the one protester brought up "logical fallacies." The example they always give, to make their point is to ask you if you've stopped beating your wife. The strategy is to be trapped into giving off the impression you beat your wife - because the question comes from the assumption that you do.
Knowing it was coming, I was ready to mess with them a bit.
"Have you stopped beating your wife?" one asked.
I said, "I'm gay."
"Have you stopped beating your husband?" another asked. I said, "I'm sorry, I'm single." (This is, sadly, true.)
"Have you stopped beating your boyfriend?" they followed up.
Okay, no more messing with them. Let me just put them out of business. "I've never beat anyone," I replied.
"But when did you stop?" the protester asked.
"I never started," I quickly retorted.
Silence. They were speechless. Their silly little foolproof strategy didn't quite work.
They told me, finally, that's what Goebbels would say.
I took lots of pictures, which you'll see in this blog. It wasn't a total waste of my night off. I got exposed to some of these folks (which is important - I enjoy hearing what the other side says, even if this side isn't particularly well-versed in the admitted complexities of this issue). Plus, one of the protesters brought a cute little Beagle dog. Sadly, it was probably an anti-Semitic Beagle.