Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Occupy Wall St. Protests Doing More Harm Than Good

At Israel's Sderot Welfare Conference, middle class tent protestors disrupted Finance Minister Steinetz' speech with angry shouting. They want it all now, too bad about Israel weathering world economic crises. Occupy Wall Street makes as much sense.
Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 11:57 AM


/News/News.aspx/150250“In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” - Hillel (Pirkei Avot, 5:2)
 
As I write this, the Occupy Wall Street protests are entering their 75+ day and the police are tearing down their tents.

With no coherent overall message, the “Occupiers” rage against everything from economic inequality and corporate corruption, to the War in Iraq, to our nation's healthcare system...and of course there are those brave individuals warning us all about the insidious Jewish conspiracy that is at the heart of our nation's political and economic woes – what kind of revolution would it be, after all, without the rerequisite Jew-baiting?
 
Let's take a quick look at a couple of the protests' “highlights,” along with my own pithy observations:
 
October 1: More than 5,000 people march towards the Brooklyn Bridge, while hundreds march onto its pedestrian area and car lanes, taking over part of the bridge. Traffic into Brooklyn is stopped by the police for roughly two hours.

This makes total sense. By cutting off traffic from Manhattan to Brooklyn, the protestors teach us a very important lesson: That it isn't okay to go to Brooklyn?

One of the top concerns among OWS activists seems to be our lagging economy. This particular demonstration hindered the freedom of movement for thousands of individuals. And containing the protest couldn't have been cheap. In fact, policing the protests has cost New York City taxpayers millions of dollars. But at least it probably created a few new jobs at the NYPD!
 

By cutting off traffic from Manhattan to Brooklyn, the protestors teach us a very important lesson: That it isn't okay to go to Brooklyn?
O
ctober 3: Hundreds of protesters in New York City dress as "corporate zombies" and zombie walk past Wall Street with painted faces, carrying fake dollar bills.

I don't see how anyone could fail to take this seriously. Obviously these are serious-minded people with legitimate grievances, bringing real solutions to the table.
 
November 17: Occupy Wall Street protests crippled bus services the morning of Thursday, Nov. 17, with all Brooklyn-bound lines, Staten Island express bus service and the M5 buses running with severe delays.
The MTA also reported disruption on the subways that afternoon as demonstrators planned to take their protest onto the rails.

This makes a lot of sense. By blocking train and bus service, they're really stick it to the man – those corporate fat cats won't know what hit them! Oh, wait. Do you know who uses mass transit? People who can't afford cars! People who work for a living! Granted, bus and subway riders represent a broad cross-section of New Yorkers, not limited to the working class. But this kind of indiscriminate disruption indicates that the Occupiers aren't terribly concerned with who they hurt, as long as somebody is late for work.

That same day: In honor of the movement's two-month anniversary, and in response to the eviction of demonstrators from Zuccotti Park, hundreds of protesters march toward the New York Stock Exchange and eventually occupy other locations throughout the city. 

To borrow a line from another famous leader: If the Occupy Wall Street movement and its various offshoots last for a thousand years, men will say: This was their finest hour.

What impact has the OWS movement had on the areas it has come to occupy? Well, in some parts of the Financial District, barricades have choked off almost all pedestrian traffic. But that's okay, because the only ones suffering are the greedy corporations whose misconduct has inspired this entire movement, right? Well, not exactly.
 
Case in point: The Milk Street Café. The Milk Street Café is a delightful restaurant that just celebrated its 30th anniversary in Boston a few days ago. It's a unique kosher establishment, offering meat, dairy, and pareve cuisine, which is prepares in separate kitchen facilities. This unique approach allows it to be all things to all people, allowing them to offer a wide variety of quality cuisine, and providing a perfect venue for observant Jews to hold meetings with non-observant or non-Jewish clients, and leaving everyone satisified.

The Milk Street Café recently opened a second location on Wall Street.. But we might not be able to enjoy that restaurant for long.

 
Why? Because one of the (unintended?) consequences of the Occupy Wall Street protests has been the cutting off of foot traffic to the Milk Street Café, among other area businesses. But a restaurant isn't like an office, or a gym, or a theater. It is a restaurant, offering quality dishes made from fresh, perishable ingredients. And with each passing day, unsold items cause the Milk Street Café to bleed money. Their crime? Trying to earn a living by satisfying hungry customers, while existing on Wall Street.
 
Those monsters.
 
The Occupiers are doing their part, lashing out indiscriminately at business and public services throughout New York (as affiliated protests cause disruptions across our great nation). The only recourse it to Occupy the Businesses on Wall Street (especially kosher establishments), enjoy their goods and services, and spend your money there.

Vote with your wallet. Don't like a certain corporation's practices? Don't invest in them! But don't take out your frustration in ways that are a pointless waste of time at best (I'm looking at the corporate zombie parade), and at worst, are positively harmful to small businesses, with whom you have no grievances.

 
It's one thing when demonstrators wish to exclude themselves from our nation's economic recovery by holding up signs and stinking up public parks. It's another when they prevent those of us who wish to earn an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, from doing so.

I may not be the 1%, but if this is what the 99% is about, I'll be having no part of it.