Marquel TPVs NYTimes News That Somehow Didn’t Fit Section correspondent was passing through Times Square the other day, shopping for some special flour that Mufi uses in his Chinese dumpling recipe when he was jostled by a large crowd. It was a pro Palestinian demonstration. Many carried signs saying Israel was guilty of war crimes. I innocently mentioned to a group next to me that launching 1000 missiles blindly toward civilian populations is also a war crime.
A circle formed around me. “A what?” Asked one of the protesters.
Before I could finish I was grappled to the ground by several sign carrying protesters, and once on the ground, kicked mercilessly. The crowd moved on and I found myself alone in the middle of Broadway. Not the best way to make it on Broadway.
Later that day, on the East Side, I ran into a pro Israel demonstration. The signs all complained of discrimination and antisemitism and warned of future war crimes by Palestinians in the West. Again, and stupidly instead of innocently, I mentioned that occupying another people’s land after defeating them is a war crime. Same circle, same questions, different result. They hit me with their signs, their fists, and I think one mother hit me with her toddler. I was on the ground again, but this time bleeding, with a loose tooth and one eye closed. I was a mess and someone called 911. The ambulance took me to Bellevue where they stitched me up and sent me home.
I read the papers, as I do habitually, but I have yet to see mention of either protest in the Times. The Jerusalem Post of all papers, had detailed coverage. But it wasn’t any of the news fit to print by the Times. I was once again disappointed in the newspaper of record. Is it really that if it doesn’t record? My broken smartphone does better.
I went into the streets once more looking for people with t shirts about the Middle East. I found a family wearing Palestinian flag t shirts and stopped them.
“Are you joking?” The father asked. “That is our land.”
“We shall drive them into the sea,” he said.
“They have no right to exist,” he said.
“You are dirt,” he said, “not worth talking to.”
“This is nothing to talk about,” he said cryptically and led his family away at a rapid clip.
The father, again, answered. “It’s time to finish them off,” he said.
“It’s time to kill them all.”
“No.” He said. “They want to drive us into the sea. They are criminals. They shoot rockets at us.”
“I don’t have to listen to this anti Semitic propaganda. I’m finished talking to you,” he said hustling his family off.
“Nazi” he shouted back at me. Passers by stared. I walked home, deeply depressed and troubled.
I realized that both sides were the same, unable to win a war, unable to make peace. The Palestinians and the Israelis are identical. The only difference I could see is that the Palestinians will kick you but not so much that you need attention. The Israelis will beat you to an inch of your life but then they’ll call 911. I was unable to make sense of that small difference.
I went to Mufi’s and we made dim sum together. We sat down to eat and I started to discuss the Middle East. He put his hand up.
“Let’s not discuss it. We already agree on this issue. It’s too sad. Let the people who really need to discuss it do so.”
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