The flags were marched in
and the crowd collected
and wine was available (we needed to open it ourselves which took care of any problems)
and Yesha reps were present, including Elie Pieprz, Miri Maoz-Ovadia and yours truly
all at the celebration of America's Independence Day on ... June 4th. Thanks to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel there were hamburgers and schwarma and salads. There was sushi for those who indulge, both stands strictly kosher. And I remembered to first eat the Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
As Ramadan is next month July and there is no eating or drinking then, and as since most of the guests are Muslims, being that the Consulate sees itself politically bound to the idea of facilitating the establishment of a state of Palestine, it would, I presume, be awkward to hold it then. In Israel, the Embassy's event will be on the proper date.
This is the last time the current CG will be hosting the occasion. Mr. Ratney mentioned "common humanity" as a major theme in his speech but, although he did name almost a dozen Arab cities in the territory for which the Consulate provides services, and did mention "Israelis" and "Jerusalem", he neglected to mention any town or community where over half a million Jews reside throughout Judea and Samaria, many thousands of them American citizens. I hope that was an oversight.
We met the new political officer for the Jewish communities and I saw friends and acquaintances including Consulate staff, major media people, other activists, my acquaintance, Nidal Rafa, who I know since she was MK Azmi Bishara's parliamentary aide, and other assorted Jerusalemites and people from the Pal. Authority including its Prime Minister, who were present. As I have written previously about this event, the panoply of diplomats, clergy, military personnel and locals is unparalleled, at least since the British Empire left the Mandate behind.
The Consulate staff could do so much more to channel cooperation and coexistence but are shackled by the stricture of the "illegitimacy" of Jewish residency in the historic Jewish homeland. I have chronicled the discrimination in many posts.
I still have hope they'll see the light as well as the folly of their policies.