Last week, in another public display of Beavis vs. Butthead, a bunch of Palestinian supporters held a vigil on one side of State Street, while a pro-Israel counter-protest took place on the steps of the Michigan Union.

Charles Paradis

While I could have been doing homework, housecleaning or general mischief that night, I instead decided to take a peek.

My presence that night completed the “Israelestine Love Triangle” as each of the respective groups was organized by my secret admirers, Fadi Kiblawi and Rick Dorfman.

It started off with a simple singing of the Israeli national anthem from the blue and whites, and silence from the other side. A guy I knew from freshman year approached me and asked, “Ari, why don’t you come to these pro-Israel things?”

“Because you’re all a bunch of idiots,” was my reply. “When will you and them realize that all killing is wrong?”

Man, what a controversial statement. It provoked an Aryan looking kid with an Israeli flag and a Young Americans for Freedom button to inquire how I could justify suicide bombings. Sigh.

He went on to enlighten me that the real reason why there are suicide bombings is because Palestinians hate Jews.

I ventured over to my associates on the other side of the street. One of them informed me that the reason why there are so many suicide bombings is because Palestinians are oppressed, and the thing about hating Jews is a big lie.

Right as I began to contemplate this, the fireworks started.

“Divest from hate!”

To which the Jews responded,

“Death to bin Laden,” accompanied by a performance of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

This was too good to be true.

I got in the middle of State Street and conducted the orchestra, and – wishing that I had both an Israeli and Palestinian flag – came up with my own chant, “You are all lame and stupid.”

After several honking horns, near misses and people yelling “you’re being ridiculous,” I came to the conclusion that discretion was the better side of valor and returned to the sidewalk.

I walked away with dirty looks from protesters on both sides. Alone in the middle of State Street I was the one most at risk, and people to either side of me could probably agree on something:

They didn’t like me one bit.

It’s getting harder and harder to make an unbiased analysis of the situation these days.

People don’t want to hear that they may be at fault, but I got the answer right here: Suicide bombings happen because Palestinians are oppressed and they hate Jews.

Let me explain.

Pro-Israeli activists contend that Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews.

This is true.

Pro-Palestinian activists contend that they kill because they are oppressed.

This is also true.

If it were one and not the other, there would be no suicide bombings; there are suicide bombings because both phenomena exist. If Palestinians lived a pleasurable existence, it would be pretty hard for Hamas to recruit suicide bombers.

But if you live without running water and the fear of having your meager home demolished while Jews live luxury, the ideology of such villains isn’t going to sound so crazy.

And nobody wants to hear this. I brought up the notion to Anti-War Action! that Palestinians are partially to blame for the conflict and there could be no way that the group could be exclusively on their side.

Some of them claimed that I hate Arabs because of my position. I did the same thing with the Israel kids, and now I’m a self-hating Jew.

And it was me who was “being ridiculous” that night on State Street.

It’s sad when rational-thinking observers are marginalized so that one can advance an agenda, rather than seek peace for all.

Just a few weeks ago there was “debate” in the Union, in which Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America actually said, “there is no occupation,” and went on to explain why it is perfectly just for a Jew from Russia to live on the land that was taken out beneath the feet of an Arab.

That is no way to win friends and influence people, Mort.

It is perhaps symbolic that I was alone in the middle of street, allowing myself almost to be killed and honking horns and screeching tires drowned out my radical cries of “all killing is wrong.”

Maybe now I can get my message across, or are the honking and screeching of hackneyed, hateful phrases drowning out my words again?

– Ari Paul can be reached at aspaul@umich.edu.

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