Some at Anti-Israel Protests Express Antisemitism, Support for Terror
Antisemitism and support for terror among a small but vocal segment of protesters at nationwide demonstrations sparked by ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza
Last Update: 5/23/21 10:30 am ET
Video from a protest in Philadelphia shows a demonstrator declaring, “Israel controls the media.” Such a claim plays into the antisemitic trope that Jews wield undue influence in this field.
Also in Philadelphia, an activist said, “We have to be willing to do anything for Palestine… We have to be like our soldiers of the resistance. [and be like] Hamas, who are the only ones fighting for Palestinians.” Such rhetoric implies support for the actions of Hamas, which is internationally recognized as a terrorist group. The group has been responsible for numerous attacks against Israeli civilians.
Queens, New York City:
A speaker at a rally in Queens said, “Violence is always valid as long as Israeli colonialism exists.”
The same speaker continued, “As long as Israeli colonization exists, as long as the settler, apartheid, colonial, genocidal regime of Israel exists, we must oppose it, with everything we have, and everywhere we are, by any means necessary. From Gaza to Jerusalem and to right here in the streets of New York City...”
A protestor in Queens held a sign equating Zionists and Nazis. Such a comparison is offensive, trivializes the Holocaust and demonizes Zionists.
Salt Lake City, Utah:
At a rally in Salt Lake City, a protestor held a sign equating the flag of Israel with the flag of Nazi Germany, with the message: “Its[sic] as if history is repeating itself.”
Also at a rally in Salt Lake City, a protestor held a sign showing a swastika drawn inside a Jewish Star of David, with the text, “I don’t see the difference," while another held a sign reading, “Zionism is terrorism.”
San Francisco, CA:
Protestors at a rally in San Francisco chanted, "Rise up, don't back down, no Zionism in our town." This is tantamount to a call for Zionists to be excluded from the community.
Kansas City, MO:
A sign at a rally in Kansas City read, “Zionism is racism. Abolish Israel.” Such rhetoric both demonizes Zionism implies support for ending Israel’s existence as a sovereign country.
Expressions of the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” were observed at several protests May 22. This slogan raises fear among many Jews, who recall reports of Arab political and military leaders bragging that they would “push the Jews into the sea” in the years following the founding of Israel. Such a genocidal interpretation would be antisemitic. However, average protestors may not understand that implication.
A demonstrator at a rally in Princeton held a sign that read, “Zionism=Nazism.”
Chicago, IL and Sacramento, CA:
The slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” was expressed at rallies in both Chicago and Sacramento. This slogan raises fear among many Jews, who recall reports of Arab political and military leaders bragging that they would “push the Jews into the sea” in the years following the founding of Israel. Such a genocidal interpretation would be antisemitic. However, average protestors may not understand that implication.
New York, NY:
Multiple incidents of violence and harassment occurred in midtown Manhattan on the evening of May 20 near Times Square and the Diamond District. While it is unclear what provoked some of these incidents, videos from the scene showing visibly Jewish people and others being verbally and physically assaulted. Police are investigating at least one of the incidents as a potential hate crime.
In one incident, a reportedly Jewish man could be seen on video being kicked and beaten with flagpoles. Nearby, a firework was thrown onto the sidewalk. In other videos, protesters could be heard shouting “Fuck Zionism; the real Jews are with us,” “Fuck you, Zionists,” and “Any Jews in here, suck my dick.”
Pro-Palestine protesters were also recorded chanting antisemitic slogans and support for terror. These chants, in Arabic, included “strike Tel Aviv” and “Oh, Khayber, Khayber, oh you Jews, the army of Muhammad shall return” (an antisemitic reference to an Islamic story about an alleged battle between the prophet Muhammad and the Jews in the town of Khaybar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews in Arabia).
Video from a rally in Chicago shows two Hamas flags in the crowd. Such rhetorical support for an internationally recognized terrorist organization can implicitly legitimize terrorism.
A protester in Connecticut on May 18 held a sign comparing the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust, depicting a swastika next to what appeared to be an Israeli flag alongside the message, “One Holocaust does not justify another.”
Los Angeles, CA:
Videos posted on Twitter appear to show at least one Jewish individual being beaten in Los Angeles. Videos apparently taken in the same vicinity appear to show Jews being intimidated on the street by individuals in cars carrying Palestinian flags.
A clip posted on Twitter appears to show a Jewish individual in Los Angeles fleeing on foot from two cars whose passengers carry Palestinian flags.
At a rally in Washington, DC, a pro-Palestinian activist told the crowd: “As Muslims, as Arabs, we condemn ISIS because they operate under the guise of Islam…Zionists are likewise fucking terrorists because they operate under the guise of Judaism. They’re not Jewish.” The crowd responded by chanting “Zionists are terrorists.”
New York, NY:
A protester at a rally in New York City wore a t-shirt with “Hezbollah” written on it in Arabic. Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based terrorist organization whose goal is the destruction of Israel.
A rally in Houston included signs that read, “One Holocaust doesn’t justify another,” and “Zionist media lies.”
A protester at a rally in Dearborn held a sign reading, “Zionists r modern-day Nazis.”
A protester in Seattle held a sign that read, “Zionism = Nazism.”
A protester at a rally in Cleveland held a sign that read, “Zionists = Terrorists.”
A protestor at a May 16 rally in Miami held a sign reading, “Jesus was Palestinian and you killed him too!” The sign directly invokes the age-old antisemitic accusation that Jews are responsible for the killing of Jesus. Such rhetoric has been used for centuries to justify persecution against the Jewish people.
On May 16, a group of about twenty pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted "Intifada!" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" across the street from the Temple Beth Israel synagogue in Skokie, IL. Targeting a Jewish religious institution with anti-Israel activism is a form of antisemitic intimidation.
Meanwhile, a window of a synagogue in Skokie was shattered. Someone left a sign that read, “Freedom for Palestine.”
San Jose, CA:
A sign at a rally on May 16 in San Jose equated the flag of Israel with the flag of Nazi Germany.
A protestor at a rally in Dearborn on May 16 held a sign with the words, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and a photo of PFLP terrorist Leila Khaled holding a gun. Khaled is well-known for her role in the hijacking of two civilian airliners, TWA Flight 840 in 1969 and El Al flight 219 in 1970. In 1997, PFLP was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.
Los Angeles, CA:
Multiple signs in Los Angeles on May 15 drew comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, including one which equated the swastika with the Israeli flag.
New York, NY:
A protester in New York City on May 15 held a sign calling Zionists “Nazis.” Such a comparison is offensive, trivializes the Holocaust and demonizes Zionists.
Also in New York City, a protester held a sign that appeared to say, “End the Palestinian Holocaust.”
At a rally on May 15 in Brooklyn, protestors chanted of "No justice no peace, Israel out of the Middle East!" This slogan explicitly rejects the existence of the state of Israel.
Also in Brooklyn, a protestor held a sign reading “It was wrong in Auschwitz, it is wrong in Gaza,” comparing the current crisis to the Nazi death camp where one million Jews and others were murdered during the Holocaust
On May 15, anti-Israel activist Rich Siegel protested outside of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, a synagogue in Teaneck, during Shabbat services. Below is a photo he took of himself while protesting. Siegel is a leader of the antisemitic group Deir Yassin Remembered.
Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA:
At anti-Israel protests in San Francisco and Boston, participants held signs comparing the situation in Palestine to the Holocaust. That comparison attempts to diminish the impact and horror of the Nazi regime’s genocidal campaign against Europe’s Jews.
In Austin, a protester carried a sign that showed a swastika superimposed over the Star of David on the Israeli flag, suggesting a parallel between Israeli actions and those of the Nazi regime.
At a rally in Turlock, one of the organizers legitimized the terrorist group Hamas, which has launched numerous suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. “Hamas is a political party that has as its priority the self-defense of Palestinians,” he said.
A sign was spotted in the crowd that read, “It wasn’t okay in Nazi Germany - Why is it okay in Palestine,” drawing a false and offensive comparison between the Nazis’ treatment of European Jews and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
A protester wore a t-shirt with “Hezbollah” written on it in Arabic. The Lebanon-based terrorist organization’s goal is the destruction of Israel. The protester was also wearing a confederate flag belt buckle.
In Washington, an organizer led an Arabic-language chant which she translated as, “We are returning to Jerusalem, martyrs in the millions.” The use of the term “martyrs” could be seen as incitement to further conflict, as it is often used by Palestinian leaders in reference to suicide bombers or people who have fallen in battle.
Also in Washington, marchers chanted in Arabic, “Oh, Khaiber, Khaiber, oh you Jews, the army of Muhammad shall return.” The antisemitic slogan references an Islamic story about an alleged battle between the prophet Muhammad and the Jews in the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews in Arabia (modern day Saudi Arabia).
Protesters chanted, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free.” This phrase, heard in chants and seen on signs at many of the rallies, including in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, CA, raises fear among many Jews, who recall reports of Arab political and military leaders bragging that they would “push the Jews into the sea,” in the years following the founding of Israel. It goes without saying that such a genocidal interpretation would be an antisemitic call for wholesale genocide. However, average protestors may not understand that implication.
In Atlanta, an anti-Israel protester carried a sign reading, “Zionist!! = Hitler.” This rhetoric, which attempts to draw a direct line between Israel and Nazi Germany, was common at the weekend protests.
New York, NY:
At a rally in New York City, signs were spotted that read, “Zionism is Terrorism.”
A sign at a rally in Toledo read, “Israeli Zionists act like Nazis.” This gross attempt to draw comparisons between Nazi Germany with Israel was echoed at protests across the country.
Another sign in Toledo read, “Isrel[sic] makes Aushwits[sic] in Gaza,” invoking a direct comparison between current events and the Nazi death camp at which one million Jews and others were murdered during the Holocaust.
Also in Toledo, a protester wore a scarf with Arabic text that translates to “Congratulations Izz Al-Deen,” referencing the name of Hamas’ fighting forces, the Izz Al-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades, and apparently applauding the group’s violence against Israel.
A Jewish couple counter-protesting a pro-Palestine rally and carrying Israeli flags reported that they were assaulted by protesters and the man’s yarmulke was burned. A police investigation into the alleged incident is ongoing.
On May 13, anti-Israel activists in Brooklyn projected onto a building the messages “Zionism is terrorism,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and, in Arabic “Palestine from the sea to the river.”
A sign at a May 12 rally in Chicago featured a swastika drawn inside of a Jewish Star of David, with an accompanying message referencing “Nazi Zionist Jews.” The conflation of Jewish symbols and rhetoric about Jews with Nazism is an offensive trope that diminishes the significance of the Holocaust.
An individual was photographed at a May 11 rally in Washington, D.C. holding a sign that draws comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, an offensive trope that diminishes the significance of the Holocaust.
New York City
Video from a rally in New York City May 11, 2021, shows an individual carrying a Hamas flag. Such rhetorical support for an internationally recognized terrorist organization can implicitly legitimize terrorism.
Also in New York City, a protester on held a sign that seemed to compare global reaction to Israel’s killing of Palestinians in Gaza to the response to the Holocaust.
A May 11 rally in Los Angeles featured a doctored photo of a bloodied Palestinian child over whose body Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu menaces, with a Jewish Star of David drawn on his forehead and blood dripping out of his open mouth. Text on the poster reads “Can’t Get Enough Save Palestinian Kids.” The poster propagates the age-old antisemitic blood libel that alleges Jews use the blood of non-Jews for ritual purposes.
Another banner at the rally featured the same doctored photo, but with the additions of two swastikas on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s forehead and a mustache mean to represent that of Adolf Hitler.
New York City
At a May 10 counter-protest in New York City, an individual was seen holding a shirt featuring the logo of Kach. Kach was an Israeli political party that was banned by the country decades ago for racism. It is recognized by the international community, including the United States, as a terrorist organization.