For several tense minutes last week, it seemed as if the first “National Summit of Imams and Rabbis” might fail even before it got off the ground.
Both participants and observers waited with bated breath as Sheik Omar Abu-Namous, one of the event’s organizers, called for an Israeli “apology” to the Palestinians, along with some form of compensation for families who lost their land in 1948, the year Israel was established.
A week after unknown assailants spray-painted swastikas on 26 cars in Marine Park under cover of night, a high-visibility community forum sponsored by the Brooklyn neighborhood's political officials (including both New York U.S. senators, Rep. Anthony Weiner, state and city representatives and the borough president's office) is taking a stand against bias.
The Town Hall meeting that was to be held Thursday at the Kings Bay Y was being seen as more than a reaction to the anti-Semitic scrawlings in a neighborhood with a small Jewish population.
A public opinion pollster is interviewing people on the street. He stops four people and asks, “Excuse me, what is your opinion of the meat shortage?” A Russian says, “What is opinion?” A Pole says, “What is meat?” An American says, “What is shortage?” An Israeli says, “What is ‘excuse me’?” My first time in Israel was an education. But not in the way I had anticipated.