Photo Credit: Ari Sohn
More than 1,000 counter-protesters showed up to support a Teaneck, N.J., shul after word got out that anti-Israel protesters would be bused in to protest an event at the shul.

Approximately 100 pro-Hamas protesters were bused on Monday to the largest synagogue in Teaneck, N.J., to protest an event featuring firsthand accounts of the Oct. 7 atrocities that took place in southern Israel by ZAKA volunteers – Israel’s search, rescue and ritual burial organization.

A poster circulated called ZAKA’s version of events false and sought to “demand accountability for false claims that fuel Gaza genocide.”


While organizations including AMP (American Muslims for Palestine) and WOL (Without Our Lifetime) were involved in planning and executing the protest outside of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, the publicity from the perspective of the Palestinian protesters served an opposing purpose; it galvanized the local Jewish community into action. The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County (RCBC) teamed up with the Bergen County Jewish Action Committee (BCJAC) to encourage residents to show up to support and protect the community event.

From 6:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m., more than 1,000 counter protesters sang, played loud Israeli music, waved Israeli and American flags and shouted “Bring Them Home” – referring to the 134 hostages still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza since Oct. 7 – largely drowning out the voice of the protesters while the event went on as planned inside.

Palestinian sympathizers, including members of the Neturei Karta, were seen waving “Free Palestine” flags, and antisemitic slogans such as “There is only one solution, intifada revolution” were chanted.

“The Jewish community stood up and showed we are not going to be intimidated, we are going to stand up for our rights, and we’re not going to let outsiders interfere with our programming,” said Steve Fox, president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Teaneck. “We showed up in force and this shows that when we stand up for ourselves there are good results.”

“I was very happy to see that our rabbis and the local Jewish action community took a strong stance rather than letting protesters run the narrative. Next time a pro-Palestinian group wants to do something in Teaneck, they will think twice,” Fox said.

‘Wheels for Palestine’

In March, the police department in Teaneck, N.J., led multiple law-enforcement agencies in responding to a planned protest at a Sunday-afternoon Israeli real estate fair at a synagogue in Teaneck. More than 750 anti-Israel protesters waved Palestinian flags as they marched west on New Bridge Road towards Congregation Keter Torah, chanting “Free Palestine” and slogans such as “There is only one solution,” “Intifada revolution” and “Long live the intifada!”

In the last five months, Teaneck has been targeted by protesters due to its large Jewish community, which comprises approximately 40% of the town’s residents.

Virtually every Sunday for the past three months “Wheels for Palestine” has publicized car rallies formed outside of the bedroom community – primarily in Paterson, N.J. – bound for Teaneck’s AUCC (Al Ummah Community Center) as a staging point.

They drive past kosher enclaves and synagogues in the township, which has resulted in the harassment of Jews going about their business rather than serving as a meaningful protest to the war in the Middle East.

Teaneck Police Chief Andrew McGurr issued a release on Tuesday morning noting that one arrest was made. “As the demonstration was concluding, officers observed a man, later identified as Isaac Chavarria, spit in the face of an individual from the opposing side. As a result, Mr. Chavarria was placed under arrest. He was sent to be charged with bias intimidation and simple assault, a fourth-degree crime and a disorderly person offense, respectively.”

McGurr stated that 10 neighboring police forces assisted in securing the event, as well as providing mutual aid and resources, in addition to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Sheriff, the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association and the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management.

(JNS/Jewish Link)


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