Into the Clank Brigade*! And this kid is only 18 years old!
I kept it cool, and asked what about each sign offended them. Sign one was offensive because it was "racist". I explained it wasn't racist because it didn't say anything derogatory about Arabs, it was simply anti-occupation.
They moved on to sign two which they claimed was horrible because it showed Saddam standing on a pile of dead bodies. I explained that Saddam was brutal and killed thousands of his own people and raged an ethnic war against the Kurds. Hearing this they moved on to sign three.
This sign is a problem because they felt it portrayed all Arabs as "Jew haters". I explained that the sign commented on two specific groups, Saddam's regime and the P.L.O. who indeed do hate Jews and wage war against them. They called me a racist and move on to sign four.
Sign four is racist because it says "Islam" and has a woman in chains. By this point I was struggling to stay calm. I explained to them that Islam is not an ethnicity, it is a religious philosophy, and that the sign is speaking out against the oppression of women. "Not all women in Muslim countries are treated like this" a girl responded. "But many are" I said.
Just as I could see I was breaking through to them an angry woman in her thirties came up to me. She called me a racist, yelling and screaming as she really got in my face. I didn't know who she was, but that didn't matter -- I stood strong. I calmly asked what she objected to, and she ripped the signs out of the hands of a student standing by her. She began the same rant I had just heard from the students: how I was a racist, etc. She then claimed that I wouldn't dare put up a sign about black or Jews, and if I ever did I would get my ass kicked (it sure does feel good to know that everyone is concerned for my safety). I explained point by point why I disagreed. She told me I knew nothing about Islam, because I am not Muslim and she is.
On the sign saying "End the Arab Occupation of Jewish Land" she said "what if instead of Arab it said nigger!" I told her that wouldn't make sense because black people aren't occupying Jewish land, and that Arab was not a racial slur.
Via Sondra K
* = A group of people, male or female, who have a set of brass balls so damn big they clank together when they walk. Notable members include Chuck Yeager, Sabine Hearod, Pat Tillman, and Gen. George Patton.