The 'outside' protestAs many of you know already, due to 'security measures' at Columbia University yesterday, there were two protests against the appearance of Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One was 'inside' the campus for those who were allowed in and the other was 'outside' the campus. The Hall of the Goblin was at the 'outside' protest and filed a lengthy report with many pictures and videos that's worth checking out. (Hat Tip: Jameel).
This morning, Israel Radio interviewed former cabinet minister and journalist (and extreme anti-religious leader) Tommy Lapid. Lapid was asked what he thought about reports that only 20,000 people attended yesterday's biggest rally against Ahmadinejad. Lapid said he wasn't bothered by it. I am.
New York has the largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel. There are many other Jewish communities within a few hours' drive time. In November 1974, Yasser Arafat came to speak at the United Nations General Assembly. At the time, I was a freshman at Columbia, but I was home in Boston for the election day vacation. I took one of many buses that were organized by the community and went to New York to protest. I was one of thousands that did so. The rally was promoted for weeks in advance with stickers themed "Humanity v. Arab terror" and my recollection is that there were 200-300,000 people there, including then-President Gerald R. Ford. In that context, 20,000 people being at a rally in New York yesterday is a poor turnout.
Unfortunately, I fear that's because some of Ahmadinejad's arguments resonate even with some members of our community. That's a problem I discussed earlier. The weakness of Israel's government and its lack of commitment to the country's existence and well-being have also weakened our support overseas. That support will take years to recover, if ever.