Thursday, May 30, 2019

Strange Flag-Bearers (and Burners) in Dayton

One thing that happened at the anti-KKK counterprotest in Dayton was that an Israeli flag was ripped to shreads and stomped on (after an unsuccessful attempt to burn it). How did this happen? Well, it's a weird story:
In an interview with The Observer, [Jen] Mendoza [of the Cincinnati Palestine Solidarity Coalition] said the incident occurred after she saw three young men with an Israeli flag and entered into what she described as a confusing discussion with them.
“And so recognizing the state of Israel as being of the same ideology (as) American capitalist imperialist settler colonialism, and seeing that flag on our side (counterprotesters area) was jolting,” Mendoza said of her reaction at the sight of the Israeli flag.
“One of them said that he was from Israel. And then the other two boys looked Arab,” she added. “The other kid, he was the one doing a lot of the talking, he made comments about God giving them the land, and at that point I was like, ‘Well, you’re on the wrong side of this fence if that’s what you believe.’”
Mendoza said that after the conversation went on and he said “some extremely Zionist, racist things,” he asked her if he should throw it on the ground and stomp on it.
She told him she’d be happy to burn it for him.
“And then he flipped and was like, ‘Yeah, let’s burn this flag right now,’” Mendoza added, “and he helped tear it apart — and then he told us that he was doing a social experiment to find out where people really stood on fascism. And then he began chanting ‘Free Palestine.’” 
So basically, somebody comes to an anti-KKK flag rally holding an Israeli flag and starts making racist comments wrapped in a Zionist guise. But wait: it turns out, he doesn't actually believe what he's saying -- he's impersonating an Israeli, enacting a stereotype designed to present Israelis as racist (though it's actually his words), in an effort to rile the crowd up and convince them to burn or mutilate the Israeli flag. Which the crowd then happily obliges. It's like a meat-world version of the Jewish impersonators Yair Rosenberg used to bust: "racists who pretend to be Jews—and other minorities—in order to defame them."

All at a rally that nominally was counterprotesting the KKK, which in turn was in large part targeting Dayton's Jewish community. Who then had to see a burning Israeli flag by people supposedly there to "protect" them; instigated by a person who (it seems falsely?) claimed to be Israeli in order to tar actual Israelis with his own racist performance. How lovely.

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