Guest Opinion: Shame in Andover
Shame in Andover, MA - Friday Jan 5th, 2007
By PF Soto
Andover tonight was an illustration of the new america; and it was shameful beyond belief. [I took my pictures early, before the school library filled to overflowing; there were rows of standing-room only.]
I was shocked. Tho i've read hateful slander of Palestinian activists in small town newspapers and of course in the Jewish Advocate, and tho i've confronted vicious zionists and their appeasers before, and tho i new there would be protesters tonight at the Wheels of Justice presentation at Andover High School, never in my wildest imagination did i expect the viciousness of this audience. They (parent zionists, and even a school committee member got into it) attacked the speakers, relentlessly - shouting out eg "liar, liar" and worse. And a good part of the audience were students, witnessing this obnoxious adult behavior! What an example for kids (some of whom were overheard talking about 'getting' the organizers).
The principal, Peter Anderson, began the evening by asking for civility and noting that if that if people weren't courteous they would be asked to leave; he said he'd cancel the talk if necessary. Well, that of course is what the zionist hate mongers were waiting to hear. Soon enough the heckling and shouting began. A small but vocal chorus tried to shame these people; that didn't (and doesn't) work. Mazin (author of Sharing the Land of Canaan) and the other speakers handled this abominable treatment with incredible grace.
Finally, Anderson stepped up and threatened to shut the talk down. I yelled out 'that's what they want; you said you'd usher out trouble makers, that's what you should do; some of these people are paid provocateurs"; a few other parents in the audience echoed what i said "that's what they want you to do!" I thought i saw a light bulb go off in his eyes, I think he got it; especially as he seemed authentically sad when he later made remarks like "this is a great example you show your kids", "this does not speak well of Andover." The hecklers wouldn't quit; Anderson threatened again, and again, and threatened to 'call the police if i have to." What he did do in the end was stop the event. (No Palestinian activist i've ever been around has ever behaved like these people did - not even close! And all our side needs to do to get arrested is hold a sign.)
The guy in photo above was one of the most ugly and persistent; he had a thick Russian accent.
I didn't expect to care much for Peter Anderson because in November he caved in to the zionists and at the last moment canceled the Wheels of Justice tour, to reschedule only after some teachers threatened a law suit. But i am hoping, based on observation, that this guy finally, finally understands what he is dealing with. (It was out there for anyone to see.) That would be one good outcome.
Hala and i were told that things were getting ugly outside and that we should not exit the building alone. We did get an escort to my car, which in the end didn't seem necessary. Tho all of us were worried about Ron Francis, a (superb) teacher at the high school and a (heroic) leader of SDP. Ron is vilified in that town and by other zionists for working for Palestinian justice.
As to Mazin, and Joe and Hassan (the 2 other speakers); what does one say to them? How does one explain the vicious, ugly, ugly behavior at Andover High School? Mazin commented that he's brought the Wheels of Justice to hundreds of schools around the country - some in predominantly jewish areas of NY - but has never seen the like of this night. We had a distinguished, gentle man who was trashed for the temerity to come to Andover with stories about Palestine. The zionists control our representatives, they control the media, they have emasculated the P&J Industry - and they'll be damned if they don't get the schools too.
How does one explain the apathy of an american public that won't stand up to this, that continue to foot the bill for Israeli atrocities, human rights violations, and loss of civil liberties at home? How?
Shame on Andover, shame on america, shame on the P&J Industry - missing in action. Guilty.