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Column: Anti-Israel Cowards of the Campuses

‘Drop all charges’

–The new anti-Israel cry

    PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – On occasions when I attended the annual Celebrate Israel parade along New York’s Fifth Avenue, I would take notice of the sparse gang of anti-Israel protesters who gathered around 58th Street in a space designated by police.

    They were dwarfed by tens of thousands of marchers and crowds lined along the sidewalks to mark another year of Israel’s existence and prosperity. It was an amazing experience to find oneself among so many fellow Jews who proudly hailed our homeland.

    This past Sunday, as New York Jewish Week reports, there was nary a hint of turmoil at an event where these pro-Arab groups had an ideal chance to expose Israel’s role as a so-called occupier, colonialist, oppressor and spawner of genocide. Their commitment to the aspirations of the poor Palestinians could not be more inspiring. Whereas thousands clogged college campuses and blocked bridges and highways in the past, where were they on Sunday?

    Surely they would never abandon their dedication to the Palestinian cause because of a dominant police operation. They certainly have the courage to challenge a massive appearance of Jews and a resolute police force, even when their numbers are small and their fate that day could be jail sentences and injuries if violence erupts.

    Considering their crusade for intersectionality, they must share the resolve of African-Americans who 60 years ago risked their lives so they can benefit from the same rights as all Americans. They did not complain about prison or any kind of law enforcement as these pro-Arab activists tend to do.

    In fact, Palestinian activists are now demanding through placards that police “drop all charges” while colleges end disciplinary actions.

    They are cowards, of course. Law enforcement has been lax in enforcing the laws that these hoodlums have violated for years, long before Hamas’ murder of 1,200 Jews and kidnapping of 250 others in southern Israel on Oct. 7. That is why they commit these offenses. They fully expect to get away with it. That was not the case in the run-up to this past Sunday.

    “The police is (are) going to respond accordingly and rapidly to anyone who thinks that they’re going to disrupt the parade,” Mayor Eric Adams declared at a briefing two days before the parade.

    Jewish Week went on to describe: “Security measures will include police along the parade route, increased NYPD presence in the general area, fortified fencing, checkpoints at points of entry, bike teams and specialized units such as the counterterrorism intelligence bureau. Drones along the parade route and its outer perimeter will look for groups coming to disrupt the event.”

    The event was marked by a heavy police presence, with helicopters and drones overhead, and ahead of the march, Jewish Week reports.

    Bravo! NYPD. The city pulled it off. No anti-Israel protesters rattled parade-goers. They did not even show up. The city deterred the troublemakers.

    The authorities can achieve such deterrence when they put their minds to it. Whether they be police chiefs, mayors or college presidents. Activists terrorized college campuses, clogged the streets and obstructed bridge and highway traffic because they could. Those entrusted to enforce the law or school rules neglected to impose their authority when the protesters made it necessary by doing nothing, delaying responses or minimizing penalties.

    The reaction of authorities appears to be a matter of priorities. They might tolerate illegal encampments for days on end, but they would safeguard the peace of such a massive gathering as the parade.

    Likewise, police along the 90-mile stretch from Seaside Heights to Wildwood, N.J., are propelling action to prevent the kinds of disturbances that snarled shore resorts just as the summer season was beginning.

    “Everybody who loves Ocean City can rest assured this summer will be a great one,” said Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian as quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re not blaming anybody. We are the safest town. That’s why people come here.”

    As Gillian’s comment suggests, Jersey shore officials downplayed the incidents encompassing a teenager’s stabbing in Ocean City, a full shutdown of Wildwood’s boardwalk for early Monday after a mass gathering of teens there, large crowds elsewhere and multiple fights.

    The Inquirer reports that Ocean City is mulling changes to its ordinances to address their concerns, including substance abuse, and prevent such conduct from escalating. On the state level, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, an Ocean City Republican, said he is continuing to work with the Police Benevolent Association to conceive policies to deal with these problems.

    No question that Jersey shore mayors and business owners worry that youth disruptions will scare away tourists, and they commenced with their response swiftly. They understand that is the only way to deter these upheavals. These teens have no legal power to fight it. Most are too young to vote and do not even live in towns like Wildwood and Seaside Heights.

    Activists against Israel do have power. They threaten to withhold their votes from President Biden on Nov. 5, which will strengthen Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, even though he will not receive their votes either. Local media report that Biden lost 9 percent of the Democratic vote in Tuesday’s primary…in New Jersey.

    The chaos on the college campuses has thankfully ended now that most protesters have exited their schools and returned home. My feeling is that most demonstrators were sincerely motivated to oppose the deaths of civilians in Gaza. The Hamas-controlled health ministry claims that 36,000 people died there in the last nine months without distinguishing between terrorists and civilians.

    While I am still trying to make sense of Israel’s response, the basic motives of demonstrators are understandable but probably misguided. Probably they have bought into the message of true believers who tie Israel’s attacks to 76 years of oppressing the Palestinians, which is a distortion. Much of the majority were misguided in their attitudes because of arguments voiced by a smaller core group that seeks to destroy Israel. Those who were misguided, more cynically known as useful idiots, are no longer available for mass protests on campus.

    Note that the core minority has neglected to return to the campuses since they fear the public will ignore them. They have nothing to say that makes sense, and they cannot make an effective commotion without the presence of useful idiots.

    Yale student Lex Schultz attended commencement exercises while holding up a banner reading, “Drop all charges,” the new demand of anti-Israel activists that all police charges and college disciplinary actions be relinquished. Wednesday’s New York Times reports that many students were charged with trespassing and other criminal misdemeanors while others face discipline from their schools that can run the gamut from a warning on their records to suspensions and expulsions.

    Last Saturday, the part-Palestinian Youssef Hasweh received an email from the associate dean of students notifying him that his school, the University of Chicago, is withholding his degree until it decides whether and how to penalize him for violating its code of conduct for declining to vacate an encampment, according to the Times. Police cleared the encampment on May 7.

    University officials who were slow to act before are responding in different ways. Brown University in Providence, R.I., refused requests for leniency, including that they call upon police to drop criminal charges against 41 students arrested during a sit-in last December, the Times reports.

    Brown President Christina Paxon wrote to students, “The practice of civil disobedience means accepting the consequences of decisions on matters of conscience.”  

    Hasweh and other students exposed their ignorance of our legal system and the peacenik’s concept of civil disobedience. More than 60 years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that in workshops he declared, “One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.”

    The American way eludes these modern-day activists. Hasweh was asked to identify a suitable penalty for his civil disobedience, according to the Times. “Nothing,” he said. “I think it’s hypocritical for them to say we’re being disruptive when they’re actively investing in a genocide that is very disruptive to my family.”

    To put it another way: Let’s violate the law to protest what we think is a legitimate concern that we do not need to violate the law to protest in the first place, and we should be allowed to get away with it because sacrificing our own people to harm Israel is a legitimate concern.

    What would happen if teen visitors gathered on Wildwood’s boardwalk holding placards reading “Drop all charges”?

    About Bruce Ticker

    Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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    One comment

    1. clayton miller

      "Intersectionality" is a bogus new linkage that blames the Jewish state for basically everything.

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