I'm thinking the street is closed, but as I start to turn my wheel to the right, I see a sign on a van that reads, "Jews Against Zionism".
I quickly look for my camera and just as quickly remember that I left my bag with my electronics at home.
I reach for my crappy iPhone 4. I am now on the west side highway with my hazards on, in a blinding rain storm, waiting for the cam app to finally let me take a pic.
Thank the stars it was like a train of vans with signs because it took forever to get a pic off.
So I'm snapping away and I see that the street is open and that the police van is on the sidewalk. I see a demonstration of what appears to be Hasidim Jews with the same Anti-Zionist/Anti-Israel signs.
I'd never done what I'm about to tell you and I don't know what came over me. It was a dangerous and stupid move, but I'm glad I did.
I popped a u-turn and illegally parked in front of cops.
I threw on my army rain jacket, got out of the car and bolted towards the demonstration.
I swear, on any other day that would have looked like a hit about to go down. Thank the stars the attention was on the demonstration...
Now remember, I have never, in my ten years of internet broadcasting and writing, stopped my car and gotten out to even see what was going on.
I may write these blogs and do my shows, railing against the system, but I myself am trapped in that very same system...
I, like the rest of the herd, follow a pattern to get to and from work. I broke that pattern yesterday and discovered something new.
I didn't just learn that this cause really exists, which was a true blessing that I did. But, more importantly I learned that we need to break the pattern of life in our society.
We need to break routine. We need to stop for a minute or two and take a look at the world around us. I don't mean get all google earth crazy for the afternoon. I mean just stop for a minute and look around.
During our commute, be it bus, train, car or walking in the street every one of us looks like a robot on an industrial line.
All of us, waiting at the stop light for it to turn green, like when the Shepard yells, "go left."
I am one of you. I take a certain route. I try finding shortcuts to and from work. On my way, I'm just focused on getting there. But, I also try to remember to look around and see the world around me and I catch things I would not have normally seen before. But, to stop my car and jump out to talk to these people in a storm was a first for me.
I truly felt enlightened.
I saw, in person what I have only seen on the internet.
It's hard to believe anything we get through a screen these days, but some of it is spot on. Jews against Zionism was one of those times.
I do my fair share of research because I feel my role in all of this is to write, talk and spread the information I gather. I also feel the need to share more than the information. I share my thoughts, my reasons, my feelings, my passion and the fact that what I'm doing is making a difference because I'm not the only online soldier out there.
So, in all my research I've come across articles, videos and even full-length documentaries on this anti-Israeli issue, many, many times.
I never really click on it because automatically I think of antisemitism. Within seconds of reading a title involving the word Zionist, I think of the plight of the Jewish people.
I instinctively feel something is not right and refuse to even look at what is trying to be conveyed. I mean, it has to be Jew haters, right? What person would take the time to rail against Israel and not hate them?
I'm sure the information on this stuff is fabricated and it's most likely just another form of propaganda or mind manipulation. Maybe a Muslim extremist produced it. It could be the Israeli government making the video to get people riled up against them and give Israel another excuse to kill thousands in a day.
Then I think of the Liberty cover up. How Israeli fighter jets bombed one of our navy ships.
The USS Liberty atrocity was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, the USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighters and Israeli Navy torpedo boats, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War.
The attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 171 crew members, and tore the ship apart.
At the time, the ship was on international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula.
The USS Liberty was a spy ship and was not equipt with the weapons it would need to fight back an attack like that.
It was also displaying its flag and it was a clear day. There could have been no confusion about who the Israelis were flying over.
Israel apologized for the attack, saying that the USS Liberty had been attacked in error after being mistaken for an Egyptian ship.
Both the Israeli and U.S. governments say they conducted "inquiries", not investigations, and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the ship's identity.
The survivors of the attack will tell you that is an absolute lie... They reject and are offended that the government came up with these conclusions and maintain that the attack was deliberate.
Forget the fact that all US Navy Ships sail with the American flag on it. Forget the fact that the ship was called the USS Liberty.
There is no way this was a mistake because of the way they handled it afterward.
Reports that a Navy Commander did not allow for ships to be sent to defend and rescue the men come from crew members who called for help.
There was a complete media blackout. It has been reported that the Johnson administration, after learning what had happened wanted the ship to sink so reporters couldn't get pictures of it.
Commanders warned crew members not to tell this to anyone. Not even family members could know what really happened that day. It didn't matter that it came out the ship was attacked by Israel.
They stuck to the mistaken identity story and gave Israel a large sum of money and weaponry.
The cover up I can see and even understand, but the money and guns? That I can not get my head around. It's like Israel is the mob and despite a few people getting "accidentally" killed, you still have to pay protection money.
Anyway, moving on...
Imagine my surprise when I look to my left and see the very same people I didn't totally believe existed...
Like I mentioned before. I've seen pics and links to this stuff, but really didn't believe it.
That's why I am so glad I stopped to talk to them, even though my sneakers felt like pools.
I spoke to them for about half an hour and they are really friendly, smart, fearless men, with kind hearts. The only thing about them is, they believe that Israel is evil. Mind you, they are standing on a New York City street corner saying this stuff and holding up anti-Israeli signs.
I was there for approximately 30 minutes and not one New Yorker had a kind thing to say.
I had mentioned before, my instinct was to run away when I saw this kind of stuff online. The fear of being labeled an Anti-Semite is so embedded in our brains that we can't, at the very least, stay quiet and walk past while these men stand in a storm, peacefully & quietly, holding signs and praying.
People have to show that they "defend" the Jews and agree with what Israel is doing. But, trust me when I tell you there aren't to many people that don't have a joke or something bad to say about most, if not all Jews. You can't publicly admit that, but it's true.
These are Ultra Orthadox Jews, with the beards and the black hats, the whole bit. They even had glasses. Almost everyone of them had glasses. I guess that's do to all the reading they do.
I can't sit here and say there isn't an instant culture shock and political stand off upon seeing Ultra Orthadox Jews, saying Israel should not exist. But, if you stop for even just a minute, free your mind of what you've been taught for 60 seconds and listen, you might find that these guys are far from off. I did and I thought this cause wasn't real.
They were really peaceful. A little taken back by me, but with in a few minutes I won them over. They even invited me into there area within the barricades. I had to decline though because I threw my car in front of a garage in New York City.
I'm surprised the car was still there.
Anyway I learned a little bit about NK USA, the group they represent.
The NK stands for Neturei Karta, which means "Guardians of the City"... The Jewish religious group was formally created in Jerusalem, under the British Mandate of Palestine, in 1938, which split off from Agudas Yisrael.
Neturei Karta opposes Zionism and calls for the peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel. They believe that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
They live as a part of larger Haredi communities around the globe.
Yisroel Dovid Weiss, their spokesman (born 1956), a United States Haredi rabbi, is an activist and spokesman for a minority branch of Neturei Karta. It's an Anti-Zionist grouping of Haredi Jews.
Based in Monsey, New York, he believes that observant Jews should peacefully oppose the existence of the Israeli state: "It would be forbidden for us to have a State, even if it would be in a land that is desolate and uninhabited."
Rabbi Weiss was criticized in 2006 for his participation in the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, widely considered to be an event promoting Holocaust denial internationally, although claimed to speak as "the voice of the people who died in the Holocaust".
There is no denying the Holocaust and trust me when I tell you that's not what these people were saying when I was speaking to them.
When I finally got home and took my soaked clothes off I couldn't get into the shower before searching them online. Wouldn't you know, guess who I see on Al Jezeera? Rabbi Yisorul Dovid Weiss himself.
I brought my laptop into the bathroom and played the interview while I was taking a shower. I did a little more research and found tons of information on this cause.
I saw pictures of Palestinians and Orthodox Jews shaking hands and posing for pictures. There were even pictures of them with Iranians. And there was this one guy who asked me a great question. "What does ISIS stand for?" I replied, I didn't know. He replied "Israeli Secret Intelligence Service".
Then he asked me "why doesn't ISIS ever attack Israel?" "It's right there", he says.
I don't know, but it did poke that part of my brain that made me want to look into that theory more. I want to get this piece done before I look into that.
This piece isn't about whether I believe in this cause or not. It's not about knocking Israel. It's about meeting these people and learning something new. It's about confirming what I thought could have been true, but was always afraid to just talk about theories when it came to the issue.
I will say this, I believe Israel is up to no good. I think the way they brutalize Palestinians is disgusting and the way they screw with them is twisted.
The check points are the most horrific things I've seen in my life. I think about the fact that we could as easily been living like that.
I've had this feeling for sometime now. Whenever I see Netenyahu on American television talking about how they need to protect themselves, I actually feel disgust.
Imagine how I felt when I saw this man standing on the floor of Congress where only the speaker and president should stand, defending the right to destroy and take every Muslim territory around him.
Why are we in Israel's pocket? How did we get there and why don't we just walk away? Other than the Military Industrial Complex making more money, I don't see us gaining anything in that area anymore, other than trying to cement the American flag in the heart of Mecca.
I always supported Israel's right to exist, I just thought the real estate was bad.
I agree with some of NK's cause, even though I may not share the same beliefs when it comes to god's return and all that.
I would like to learn more. I am going to be speaking to the Rabbi after finishing this blog and set up some talks so I can get more information.
I'm open minded to anything. Religion has always been the hardest to agree with. But, for the first time I saw a group that I didn't judge by it's cover and because of that I took away so much knowledge and inspiration.
I want to thank NKUSA and Rabbi Weiss for speaking with me and for teaching me something new.
Like I said before, we have to break routine.
We have to stop judging and start opening our minds to other ideas.
In conflicts enemies join forces to combat a common threat. This is kind of the same thing.
Except Neturei Karta is not our enemy and they certainly don't seem like a threat. They just want to do the right thing by their religion and they want it to happen in a peaceful way.
I can get behind that, even if I'm not a religious person. Spirituality exists in all of us. You accept it or neglect it.
If there's anything I do believe is that we are all one consciousness connected subjectively. So, in essence, we are connected to the honorable and peaceful men of NKUSA.
If you're interested in learning more about NK USA, watch Rabbi Weiss' interview on Al Jezeera
Remember, fight for yourself. Fight for the web and fight for the next step in evolution. It's never too late...
Thank you for reading faithful.