Emotions at the state Capitol ran high midday Wednesday during a rally to support Israel, where it was suggested more than once that Tuesday’s earthquake was God’s answer to a lack of support shown by President Barack Obama to that nation.
The event was hosted by the Connecticut chapter of the 9-12 Project, a group created by conservative radio host Glenn Beck. While Beck wasn’t there in person, he might of been in spirit. Much of the event focused on reinforcing the relationship between the United States and Israel. But by the end, connections were being drawn between Obama and the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that originated just 85 miles southwest of Washington D.C.
Sen. Michael McLachlan, R- Danbury, was told as much by West Haven resident Eric Mazor who mistook the state senator for a member of Congress. As Mazor was speaking he called McLachlan in front of the podium and told him to deliver a message to Obama and the folks in D.C.
“What happened yesterday, I really believe that God was ashamed of what’s happening in Washington D.C.,” he said.
God, Mazor said, has a long history of serving up disasters when the U.S. slights Israel.
“If you look at the last 10 to 12 major catastrophes that have happened to America, they all correlate with us telling Israel or having Israel do something that God did not want.”
McLachlan stood politely in front of the podium as Mazor opined for several minutes before Rick McKinness, McLachlan’s pastor had had enough. He interrupted the speaker and told him to stop lecturing the senator.
“Excuse me, this is the only legislator who has graced this meeting and you’ve brought him forward to lecture him?” he said. “He’s here as a friend and he’s with us. Please be grateful.”
Mazor apologized and said he didn’t mean for his words to come across as a lecture. Afterwards, McLachlan was unperturbed.
“I’m often confused for a federal legislator. Some people don’t understand the difference between state and federal legislators. So when they hear I’m Sen. McLachlan, a lot of times they’ll come up to me and think I’m Sen. Lieberman or Sen. Blumenthal,” he said.
McLachlan said he listens to what they have to say and in many cases he will write to the appropriate U.S. senator to share what he heard. He said Mazor asked him not to write a letter for him. McLachlan said he was at the rally to support Israel in any way he could.
Mazor wasn’t the only person at the rally upset. Suffield resident Youness Bakr walked past the event and shouted something that attracted the attention of the Capitol police.
He made his way back down to the Capitol Avenue sidewalk where he and five supporters were holding signs criticizing Israel’s policies. Bakr, who is of Palestinian heritage, said he wanted to add some balance to the event, which he described as a shame on the state of Connecticut.
“I think it should be illegal. This is a country that has more international law violations than any country in the entire world and we’re here raising their flag?” he said. “They violate more human rights than probably Iraq, North Korea, and Iran combined.”
Bakr said it was a human issue not a political issue. He was joined Liz Aaronsohn, whose father was a rabbi.
“Being anti-Israeli is not being anti-Jewish,” he said.
Aaronsohn agreed. She said she’s not even anti-Israeli, she just objects to the policies of the country’s government.
“Ordinary Israelis are as brainwashed about their government policies as Americans are brainwashed about why we are in Iraq,” she said.