Tensions brewed at “Day of Rage” rallies and vehicle caravans nationwide on July 1, protesting Israel’s plans to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria, more commonly known as the West Bank. The name refers to times when Palestinians riot and hurl rocks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, most recently near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Approximately 300 people associated with BDS Boston—a coalition of far-left anti-Israel organizations—chanted Hamas slogans on Wednesday night in front of the offices of the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council in the Massachusetts capital.
The BDS organizers said that they were protesting police brutality in the aftermath of the killing of African-American George Floyd, 46, on May 25 in the custody of Minneapolis police.
“The protesters hijacked legitimate outrage over the death of George Floyd to justify an ugly display of hostility towards Israel and Jewish organizations on the streets of Boston,” said Dexter Van Zile, an analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, or CAMERA, which is based in Boston. “This wasn’t about changing American police policies, but about coarsening and brutalizing the discourse around Israel and Jews through the exploitation of black suffering.”
CAMERA staff filmed the rally. A speaker for BDS Boston is on video leading the large crowd in the Hamas chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is a call for the replacement of Israel with a majority-Arab Muslim country.
At other times, the crowd can be heard loudly chanting “Intifada, Intifada,” the name of violent Palestinian uprisings. Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist group.
“Kaffiyeh-wearing college students and mostly middle-class white activists with Palestinian flags were shouting for the violent elimination of the world’s only Jewish state,” said Van Zile. “Think about that: They’re chanting eliminationist rhetoric outside the offices of mainstream American Jewish organizations—a fact that shows that this wasn’t simply about Israel, but about Jews as Jews.”
CAMERA’s Hali Haber said “what struck me about the rally wasn’t just the hatred, but the outright lies. An SJP leader at Boston University repeatedly screamed into the microphone that Israel is guilty of ‘genocide,’ a lie easily disproved by looking at Palestinians’ soaring birth rates and increasing lifespans. I can’t decide whether the people at this rally were ignorant or malevolent—maybe both.”
She added that “whatever their motivations towards Jews, their exploitation of the black American experience should be opposed by good people everywhere.”
In Los Angeles, demonstrations border on violent
Elsewhere, protests in California and New York set off tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters. The demonstrations are being organized by groups such as Al-Awda, American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.
In Los Angeles, a caravan of approximately 150 cars drove around the Israeli consulate with their windows down, honking their horns and waiving Palestinian flags. Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters also stood outside the consulate with the demonstrations became nearly violent, according to The Forward. There were 10 Los Angeles Police Department officers there to keep the peace, reported the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal.
In San Diego, about 50 cars as part of a pro-Palestinian caravan escorted by police drove past various Jewish institutions, including, but not limited to, the Hillels at University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University, as well as the local office of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, reported the San Diego Jewish World.
In Portland, Ore., rioters torched “a police precinct and set a fire [to] Portland’s iconic Elk statue, which has stood since 1900,” reported The Post Millennial.
In Brooklyn, N.Y., police officers stood between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
In the vicinity of the demonstrations nationwide, SWU have been using truck ads with messages such as “Israelis Want Peace,” “Palestinian Leaders: Stop the Hate, Negotiate Peace,” “Palestinian Leaders: Stop Teaching Hate & Rewarding Violence,” “Palestinian Leaders Said No to Peace in 1937, 1947, 2000, 2008 and 2020?” and “Israel Needs a Partner for Peace.”
On July 2 in Miami, protesters blocked the SWU truck in the area.
“Day of Rage” events were scheduled for on July 4 in Toronto and Misssissauga, Ontario.
Separately, while not a “Day of Rage” event, Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, D.C., chanted “Israel we know you, you murder children, too,” referring to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It was only a matter of time before the DC protests turned anti-Semitic. pic.twitter.com/YTbwwGuOYh
— Nic Rowan (@NicXTempore) July 1, 2020