It was beautiful out on Sunday (May 6, 2007) and even New York City looked clean and bright.
Fifth Avenue was ablaze in blue and white, with about 100,000 children and adults marching and close to 1 million people lining the avenue for 22 blocks south of 79th Street, cheering them on.
Dozens of bands, fife and drum corps, bands on floats and sound systems being pushed up the street on all kinds of carts, all provided music. It's hard to fathom that music can be too loud when played outdoors on a wide avenue in front of ranks of cheering people, but a few floats and sound systems managed it.
But hey, it was like being in Jerusalem in that everyone, or nearly everyone, was championing Israel and its right to exist. It's not that everyone on the street was Jewish. Like Israel, many of the people weren't Jewish, but they came out to support the one representative democracy in the Middle East.
The one real dower was a group of jackasses from Neturei Karta. This is the group that went to Iran for the Holocaust conference.
These mamzerim (people of questionable parentage) dress as ultra-Orthodox Jews and say the Torah forbids Jews to be in Israel until the coming of the Messiah.
OK, you can make a case for that -- not a good case but everyone is entitled to an opinion. But what gets me is that these cult members were standing behind a Palestinian flag. Why do that? What's that got to do with the absence of the Messiah? That's like wearing Ku Klux Klan sheets or waving a Nazi flag in front of Holocaust survivors.
For those who have never attended a major parade or demonstration in New York, one of the tools the New York City Police Department uses for crowd control is a series of meter-high portable fences. They look like long bicycle racks.
You walk along a sidewalk until you find yourself corralled. We ended up corralled next to these idiots. As you might imagine, there were words between the Palestinian-flag group and some Israel-backers, including a pair of Holocaust survivors and a few young guys with Israeli accents.
The police kept increasing the space between them and our group, so we had to shout louder. There were police lined in front of them, shooing marchers away who wanted to confront these dozen guys. All in all, the NYPD did an admirable job. The street cops were just following orders, trying to prevent trouble. And they did. I was just upset the wind was blowing away from them, so you couldn't spit in their faces.
I asked one of these idiots why he was standing with a Palestinian flag. He kept repeating the slogans written on the placards he and his fellow members were holding. There was a by a twenty-something guy with a slight Israeli accent. We agreed that it's fair game to criticize the Israeli government, but not its existence and not with this flag.
The only thing I can figure out is that the cultists' rebbe told them to do this and they did it. That's one problem I have with some of these ultra-Orthodox sects. Their rebbe or leader tells them to do a thing and they all, like cattle, do it. Look, if their rebbe tells them to pray a certain way, that's fine. But how to think and vote and to wave a Palestinian flag, that is or should be between a person and his or her conscience. But anyone who calls for the eradication of what they call their fellow Jews, which is the stated purpose of the Palestinian entity, doesn't have a conscience.
Another clown, not in ultra-Orthodox mufti, starting shouting about giving Israel to the Arabs. I asked about Gaza, the condition of that area now that the Israelis have pulled out. I asked him about the Arabs going into greenhouses that could have been used to grow food and stealing copper piping and smashing glass.
He called me a racist. That's what these one-trick ponies do when they run out of arguments. Then everybody but them is a something-ist. This guy should spend his time on the Internet, trying to buy a brain on eBay.
It wouldn't be Len's Lens unless I complained about something. It's an endearing thing about me.
I didn't like the fact that there was so much VIP stuff. Let me explain.
There was a reviewing stand that said VIPs only and I can understand the need for security when the mayor of New York and the mayor of Jerusalem, along with other notables such as Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., were around.
But at the concert in Central Park, most of the seats available were fenced off and marked VIPs only. There had to be hundreds of plastic folding chairs and many of them were empty while others in the crowd of 20,000 or so sat on the ground or on the two small portable grandstands. I don't know who you have to know or what you have to do to be a VIP, but in a concert like this, it should be open to one an all.
We left, not because we didn't have a seat, but because the entertainment was loud, not terribly good and not worth our time. I just hope it got better.
Even walking back the 30 or so blocks to Grand Central Terminal, there was wonder in the air. Even after the parade ended with a scores if not hundreds of motorcyclists roaring up Fifth Avenue, people acknowledged our Israeli flag and signs.
It was a great day. That's what I call a Sunday in New York.