As I begin to promote PorcFest, I have received some concerns about antisemitic incidents in the past. Claims of slashed tires, epithets thrown, and a climate of fear have dissuaded a few Jews from considering attending the great festival. Naturally, since I am planning open events and a visible tent, it was important to investigate these claims. When I went last year, I experienced nothing but friendliness. Contrary to even claims by the media, I never smelled “odors of marijuana”, let alone (ooga booga) ANTISEMITISM. In fairness, I wasnt visibly Jewish, but there are a number of known Jews there.
When I brought this issue up with the PorcFest organizing group on Facebook, most people, including those who have been for over 10 years, could not recall any tire damages. There have been other incidents of generic aggressive activity, but not much. Recollections include:
- “Bigotry is not welcome, especially if there are forceful ramifications of it. “
- “I never heard of a tire slashing incident at PorcFest.”
- “I’ve been security for the last couple of PFs, and have no memory of any reports of tire-slashing.”
- “I’d rather not have jerks for neighbors.”
- “if this incident happened, it was a least prior to 2008, likely even earlier.”
- “No recollection of tire slashing. There was a porcfest related race issue which lead to broadening the application of not welcoming those who promote racism but I don’t recall tires being involved.”
- “I’m fairly certain rabid anti-semites don’t attend porcfest because ain’t no one tryna be associated with horrible bigots.”
On the other side:
- “I think there was something at porcfest 2 or maybe 3; that was the first time that I know of there was banishment. It also lead…to language being added that we don’t tolerate racist on our website.”
- “There was a porcfest related race issue which lead to broadening the application of not welcoming those who promote racism”
- “There is mild anti-semitism I have encountered but it was played off as a joke.”
- “I have seen some anti-Israel sentiment, but not more than most of us oppose the idea of mandatory states in general.”
I also received a private message that noted at an early PorcFest, there was a band playing whose groupies were talking about Jews and Zionists. The “incident”, if you can call it that, led to a prohibition of racist views from the event. Personally, I support free speech and openness, but I can understand the organizers concerns with keeping hostility out.
The originator of the allegations is known to exaggerate things and see antisemitism everywhere. What makes this all the more absurd is that the head of the security for this year is conservaform Jewish, and there are many Jews involved in the Free State Project, mostly nonpracticing/Conservative/Reform. Indeed, one of the prior Chairs of the Project, was an organizer of Jewish events at PorcFest.
While antisemitism is a bit of an issue among libertarians, its doubtful that it would manifest in a friendly family environment such as PorcFest. We will, however, have a real test this year with a tent that has a sign proclaiming “Jewish Libertarians” and an Israeli flag. My faith is with people being more or less reasonable, but perhaps a bit critical of a so-called government flag and somewhat questioning of Israel. There are a lot of myths out there and I am prepared to dispel them. Until then . . .
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