Tracking a Jewish traitor If there is a good time to engage a controversial speaker, or to express a contrary opinion in a room filled with those who have no interest in hearing any argument but that speaker’s, it’s before you are known to be adversarial. Perfect timing, although important, must couple with opportunity. Often, a well placed thought or question matters more than the thought or question itself. If those in opposition aren’t listening, any comment is wasted.
More than a year ago, that was the situation in a small lecture room at UNC-Chapel Hill. Appearing there to castigate Israel was Anna Baltzer, a very pro-Palestinian Jew. In the room were her fans and fellow believers, those who supported boycotts against Israel, whose list of grievances was as long as it was one-sided.
Many in the room wore khaffiyehs. Some looked to be students taking notes, assigned to be there. It appeared that Baltzer had been courted, shown how badly Israeli forces behaved. Her many examples of injustice by Israeli troops seemed to prove, to her and her supporters, the evil intent of Israel.
Not once did she mention that Palestinians had continued to manipulate their fellow Pals to keep them as refugees. Not once did she even hint that Palestinians had their own evil intent regarding Israeli Jews. Not once did she mention grad rockets or suicide bombers or the good that Israelis did despite Palestinian transgressions. Indeed, by the time for Q & A, although I’d been careful not to tip my hat, I’d had enough.
“What’s it like to ride buses in the Palestinian territories? Did you get to travel that way?” I asked.
“Yes! The countryside is beautiful, lovely to see,” she said.
“Were you able to take pictures as you rode? Could you see everything clearly?”
“Yes,” she continued.”There’s so much to see there.”
“Then,” I said, in a more serious tone, “you’ll tell me why, when I rode an Israeli bus, I couldn’t see outside. In fact, because Israeli Egged buses have to have bullet proof glass in their windows, all we could see was a blur. Why you think that’s the case?”
Baltzer looked perplexed. Her Israeli advisor who claimed to be a former IDF’er, scoffed at me. I ignored him.
“The reason, Ms. Baltzer,” I said, “ is that Palestinians shoot at innocent Israelis riding buses. And Israelis don’t shoot at Palestinians while they ride theirs.”
I’d made a point about which she couldn’t argue. Still, people grumbled. I’d anticipated their animosity. Returning their stares defiantly, I stood up and walked out.
As I’ve written, that was a while ago, long before the recent attack on Israeli buses on the highway to Eilat. Probably, most who were riding in those buses never saw their attackers, attackers who knew not to shoot high where the windows were.
- Koplen 8/27/11