(photo courtesy of Reuters)
Like a Purim carnival gone Kafkaesque, hundreds of Occupy protesters will gather at this week’s AIPAC conference in Washington DC. They’ll be there to vilify the one democracy in a region that’s surrounded by dictators, kings and mass murderers. These modern day Hamans won’t lift a placard in protest of Syria’s Assad, who is mowing down his own citizens. Nor will they be objecting to Egypt’s treatment of Christians. Their raison d’être will be to malign Israel by siding with those who wish to push the Jewish state into the sea.
Personifying this eerie, sinister and carnivalesque façade, is the Guy Fawkes mask that symbolizes the Occupy movement and the ideal visor for this Bizarro party to hide behind.
Haman himself couldn’t have donned a more apropos disguise.
The villain Haman is of course found in the Book of Esther wangling his way into the graces of King Ahasuerus of Persia. By hiding his ultimate goal of killing all the Jews, he slithers up the ladder of power but eventually is caught. His plot gets foiled, due to the heroism of Esther and Mordecai, and by a lucky twist of fate, the holiday is celebrated this week with comic dramatizations of the story (called a Purim Spiel) where it’s customary to don and impersonate characters and masquerade around as them.
With the Occupy crowd converging on AIPAC’s annual conference right as Purim is upon us, it’s as if ancient history is repeating.
Even more historically ironic is that one of the key sides the Occupy movement seems to be allying with is modern day Persia—Iran. On their homepage, a press release reads,
“The Occupy AIPAC coalition is gathering to urge Obama to reject the Israeli administration’s push for war on Iran...”
No mention of Iran’s rhetoric. No mention that Iran has targeted American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by providing weapons, financing and training to Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban. No mention of Iranian-produced improvised explosive devices being directly responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in both conflicts. No mention that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen ever said, “Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shia groups which are killing our troops.”
And of course no mention of the oft quoted, modern day Haman, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has often called for Israel’s destruction, “Israel must be wiped off the map.”
This is because as cleverly as Haman, this group masks its ulterior motive. It masks where the real terror emanates from. It turns reality into a twisted comic book character personified by the Guy Fawkes mask.
The advent of this mask’s modern revelation was catapulted to popularity by the 1980s graphic novel “V for Vendetta”, created by artist David Lloyd and writer Alan Moore and then turned into a 2006 movie via Time Warner. The same Time Warner who owns the DC Comic book media empire including modern day Golems like Superman (created by Jews), Batman (created by Jews) and on and on.
Like the twisted, lopsided camera angles on the villain’s hideouts in the old Batman TV show, this comic strip veers into slanted territory, as Occupy ‘s historical ignorance is a plot worthy of Purim or as Jonathan Jones of the Guardian writes of the real Guy Fawkes…
“This is all a colossal forgetting of history. There is not much to romanticise in the career of Guy Fawkes. Religious violence was a dark reality of life in 17th-century Britain, and the plot hatched by a group of Catholics in 1605 reflected decades of frustration at their faith''s proscribed status. The would-be mass murderers planned to blow up the new King James I and his entire parliament in assembly at the Palace of Westminster on 5 November. They dug a tunnel from a nearby rented house, piled up enough gunpowder beneath the palace to send it into the sky in flames, but when Fawkes was caught down there with the barrels and kindling, the failed assassin went down in popular memory as a demon to be ritually burned by Protestant crowds on smoky Autumn evenings.”
Holy Haman Batman!
Under the branded appellation of “Occupy AIPAC”, its movement is organized by groups that, on the surface, might seem worthy to many (with “Coalition for Peace” in their title and names like CODEPINK, the Interfaith Peace Builders (IFPB), Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine chapters and over fuel this festival.) Yet, if peace is what they are after, why side with a nation racing to get a bomb? Why do they stick up for a country that threatens the one stable, loyal ally in a region? Like Kafka’s Joseph K. in “The Trial”, Israel is again the one on trial in this upside-down world.
Indeed, there is no defense for the accused anywhere on the Occupy website. Nowhere does it mention how time and again, Israel has been the one to make the concessions toward peace—from Oslo in 1993 and Camp David in 2000 to the 2002 “Road Map” for peace.
Rather, like Passover follows Purim (having just suffered through Israel Apartheid Week, where the linguistic designation once branded upon South Africa is made to stick onto Israel), this latest Hamanic mask is just another of history’s in-your-face attacks.
Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant (AbeBuzz) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org