Instead of outlining my views on what went down, I just want to share some anecdotes.
-I went to Annapolis (was I there in protest or in support, I’m a little unclear. You can see me on this video with the guy with the guitar) with my school’s chapter of ZOA. I arrived a little late, as I had class that I couldn’t miss. When I got there, one of the people I was with asked “where are we?” I looked around, amid the Neturei Karta, Lubavitch, and PLO protesters, and said, “We’re the normal looking ones.”
-One of the people I was with was rather energetic, and extremely passionate about Israel. She handed out stickers with an Israeli flag to everyone she met, including the security gaurds. When she asked one gaurd if he would like a sticker, he said “Sure. Anything for peace, right?” She smiled, nodded, and said “Yup.” As she walked away, she said “Wait. No. No division of Jerusalem. I guess not ‘anything’.”
[This conversation exemplifies what it was that almost held me back from going. I DO support peace, I just don’t think that dividing Jerusalem will accomplish that. My biggest proof is the three or four Palestinian groups protesting the convention. If they aren’t going to be happy with compromise, neither will we.]
-It seems that Annapolis residents don’t really get to see much political action. They’re too far away from DC to go there on a regular basis, and the 2 colleges in Annapolis-St. Johns and the Naval Academy-aren’t exactly known for their large activist population. Everyone was out infront of the conference, protesting their cause of the day. Most of them had something to do with Middle East politics, but in no stretch of the imagination all. One guy was there with a sign that said “Send a piana’ to Havana”. When I asked him what his sign meant, he explained that the trade restrictions with Cuba are such that Americans can only send medicinal aid. Pianos are not included in that category, but he was arguing they should be, because the power of music has been proven to calm patients into a speedier recovery.
-A girl, about my age, started talking to me. She asked where I went to school, and I said “The University of Maryland.” She looked at me and my friends, who were pretty much all dressed in denim skirts and zip up sweatshirts, and asked “What’s the difference between Stern College and the University of Maryland”. Hmmm… Where to start with that one??