After making my armchair observations about the Darfur protests, and the connection with Iraq, I thought I would see how those who actually attended responded to the rally.
Soccer Dad, who bills himself as a skeptic, attended and posted a lengthy writeup of his impressions at the rally. I recommend that you read it all, but here's a good reason for skepticism:
Of the speakers, the one who moved with the crowd the best was Rabbi David Saperstein with a speech called "I have a nightmare." He was brilliant and really stood out among the speakers.And even though Soccer Dad found the Jewish presence at the rally overwhelming, there were speakers, "many who are ambivalent, if not hostile to Israel's existence. James Zogby - one of only three speakers I heard who mentioned the Holocaust (as he listed a series of crimes; the second of which was Hiroshima) - couldn't avoid mentioning 'Palestine,' as a place of concern."
But working against any of Schneier's notions about a reneweal of a grand civil right coaltion was the presence of the final speaker we were there for. In fact given that the rally was about an issue of conscience the presence of Rev. Al Sharpton a vicious demagogue with absolutely no conscience was inexcusable.
Sharpton is certainly a rock star. He got the loudest applause when introduced. (Given the Jewish makeup of the audience, I found that especially appalling.) And as we left the area it was clear that his doggerel, so skillfully delivered, was eliciting the loudest response. It galls me that a man who led a demonstration that led to a massacre remains a "civil right leader" untainted by any reference to his sordid past.
Soccer Dad has another post lamenting the Washington Post's whitewashing of some of these miscreants, particularly Al Sharpton.
Meanwhile, Judith Weiss, of Kesher Talk, says that she's probably the only shul-going Jew on the East Coast who didn't attend the rally, which she sees as something of a "feel-good exercise." In her post, she quotes David Adesnik's call for the marines:
Naturally, no one said a word about an invasion (although I attempted to provide a subtle hint.) The sign I held above my head had two messages, one on either side: "ACT NOW" and "WE DEMAND ACTION". If you look up "action" in my thesaurus, the first entry you will find is "the US Marines".Now, I don't normally quote my own comments at other blogs, but I think I was able to summarize my views fairly well. So here's what I wrote at Kesher Talk:
Judith quoted my comment over at Winds of Change, where she had cross-posted, and where there was a very active debate going on (and still going on).
The reason people have no solution is that there are only two, one correct but impossible and one possible but incorrect.
The correct but impossible solution is to get all the militarily worthless countries in the world, like Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, etc., to take action against Sudan under UN auspices. It's impossible because it won't happen. The UN has an execrable record on stopping genocide -- which is about its only conceivably useful function -- and we should do away with it.
The possible but incorrect solution is David Adesnik's: send in the Marines. It's incorrect because we have to focus our use of the military on interventions in which the U.S. has a national security interest, and not just a humanitarian interest, no matter how strong. Humanitarian needs are why we have other countries and why those countries have militaries.
I wish I could say I've read something to change my mind about this subject, but I still think there isn't a workable solution. (And, in my petty way, I still resent the people who are attacking the Administration for failing to "save" Darfur, when they are also attacking it for saving Iraq.)