September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:Allah, Adonai, Jesus
Blurb:No Israeli could have been drunk enough to attend the anti-Israeli fundraising evening that took place on Sunday at the Knitting Factory club in SoHo. On the invitation was written, a fundraising evening with the aim to abolish Israeli rule in the West Bank...
Body:No Israeli could have been drunk enough to attend the anti-Israeli fundraising evening that took place on Sunday at the Knitting Factory club in SoHo. On the invitation was written, a fundraising evening with the aim to abolish Israeli rule in the West Bank, and those who held these invitations were forced to undergo strict security checks, including body frisking and bag searches. It was very strange to see the young girl in a Ramones t-shirt, who would normally be serving beers at a bar, organizing an event with such a serious look on her face.
Inside, the atmosphere was pleasant, despite the fact that at 8 p.m., when the event was supposed to start, there were still a lot of empty chairs and only a few people enjoying glasses of white wine. The place filled up by 8:30, when the background music was turned off and one of the organizers got up on the stage. The fact that you came is proof that not everybody in the United States has lost their marbles, he announced.
A saxophonist and a bass player got on stage and began to play a deafening piece. Meanwhile, two of the evenings organizers were handing out flyers. The top of the page read, a salute to a free Palestine and underneath it was a picture of an Israeli soldier with a gun pointed at a crying Palestinian boy. Stop Israeli terror, read the caption. Stop the occupation, stop all American aid to Israel; the right of return for all Palestinians. On the other side of the pamphlet was written, in Hebrew style letters, Jews Against the Occupation, and brief details about the organization.
Another pamphlet distributed during the course of the evening stated certain facts about the 34 years of the occupation of Palestine. Fact, the first statement began: the occupation is illegal under international law. Fact, the paper continued, the occupation kills children and innocent civilians. Various other facts included: The Israeli government destroys houses, The Palestinians suffer from sever water shortages, More than 1,000 Israelis have refused conscription into the army because of the occupation.
The audience, mostly Jews, greatly appreciated the announcements and honored the musicians by applauding loudly. Although the music was not up to par, it did not seem to bother the sympathetic audience.
A young Jewish boy got on the stage and thanked the organizers for at least doing something. He then invited Katy Engel, a frizzy-haired girl, to read something she wrote after a visit to the Middle East in 1990. In 82, I became an activist against Jewish brutality in Israel, she read in a shaky voice accompanied by an accusatory stare. I did not understand why everyone was quiet when it came to Palestine. Who are my people? she continued. I am sure that nations should not exist at the expense of other nations. This was followed by a round of applause.
Before I traveled to Israel, my three-year-old daughter held me and said Mommy, dont die, continued Engel. Who will throw them into the sea? she asked in a loud voice. The old woman I saw in Hebron, the seven year old girl, Lulu, who went to get milk for her mother and was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier and is now paralyzed in her bed? The soldiers are everywhere, she said as she revealed her findings from her short trip to Israel 12 years ago.
The Palestinians are not allowed to grow fruit trees. I spoke to a settler who said that in Israel when a Jew kills an Arab, nothing happens, but when an Arab kills a Jew he is punished severely. Engel also spoke about American aid to Israel, a subject that came up over and over again throughout the evening. Lulu was shot with a gun bought by American tax-payers, she said, finishing her tirade to the loud cheers of the audience.
When Engel left the stage one of the organizers asked the musicians to return. It took them an hour to get ready to play. After they took their places, one of them, wearing a colorful Bukharan kepa and dressed in black like everybody else at the event, announced that the next song was from the prayers called Selichos. He said it in an Eastern European accent, most likely denoting a bit of ignorance. The musicians said a few words about the meaning of peace, but no one understood them because the microphones were not working. Still the audience cheered. When the really loud music started, some in the crowd were forced to put their hands over their ears.
Other speakers and musicians went up on stage and shared their views on the current situation in the Middle East. The crowd received all of the speakers and musicians with raucous cheers in spite of the technical difficulties and the sometimes deafening music.
After the music, one of the hosts, an Arab girl named Nehad, went up on stage. Wearing her kaffiya, she was welcomed by the crowd. I will sing a song about the Palestinian refugees who want to return to their homes, she said, and broke out into an Arabic song. The clarinet player wore a t-shirt with the Palestinian flag on it with the words We liberated Palestine! After that a young oboist from Syria played. A young Egyptian played on the piano, on which was hungwhy nota red kaffiya.
After a long hour, Barbara, a woman in her fifties with red hair, wearing a bright red plastic shirt, got on stage. I am from another planet, and my weapon is more than my roar, she said in really good Hebrew. The crowd burst into laughterafter a quick translation, of course. In her southern accent she went over the same chorus again and again: Allah, Adonai, Jesus. Between each chorus, she told jokes that cracked up the audience. Her act and the evening were ended with the words, I dont understand how Jews, who suffered through the Holocaust, could do the same thing to another people, followed by whistling, clapping and cheers loud enough to break ones ears.