Column: Let These Friends of Palestinians Go – to Jail

’20,000 Palestinians and growing is not the same as 1,400 people being murdered in one instance, on one day.’

— Wrist-slapped friend of the Palestinians Natalia Scollo

Did these guys get it wrong.

Alexander “Shabbos” Kestenbaum seeks to hold “Harvard to account” if they do not fire faculty who engage in or permit anti-Jewish acts and expel or suspend student offenders. Adam Coleman urges “harsh and consistent ramifications” for anyone who blockades roads and bridges. And an unidentified motorist demanded of Scollo’s friends blocking traffic on the Manhattan Bridge that they “let my SUV go” (in so many words).

Kestenbaum, Coleman and anonymous must lack ambition. They should be screaming for arrests of anyone who commit criminal offenses when they block bridges, highways and airports; besiege Jewish students in a university facility; shout antisemitic remarks;, disrupt school speakers and vandalize Jewish facilities. If convicted, they must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Many of them commit crimes that could lead to prison.

These actions are crimes, some of them serious. Those who blocked the Brooklyn Bridge would have prevented ambulances getting through to the hospital on an already congested highway. A motorist waiting there could have a heart attack. In Pennsylvania, a suspect could be charged with reckless endangerment.

“We are trying show how it feels to be trapped in a city you can’t leave,” said Mon Mohapatra, 30, who participated in the blockage of the Brooklyn Bridge last week, on Jan. 8, as quoted in The New York Times.

Let’s trap her in a Brooklyn prison cell for a few months and see if she will trap motorists on the Brooklyn Bridge again. Prison is an awful experience, but pro-Palestinian activists have been getting away with these kinds of offenses for several years. They ramped up a barrage of disruptive activities after Hamas terrorists swarmed across the Gaza border and wiped out the lives of 1,200 Jews and others in southern Israel. They then dragged 240 Israelis back across the border to hold them as hostages.

Mohapatra and Scollo have been protesting Israel’s response that has killed a reported 23,000 Palestinians while the rest are “trapped” in Gaza as if they were trapped in traffic in New York City or Los Angeles.

The Palestinians certainly have legitimate issues. They remain vulnerable to further deaths and injuries. However, Americans who claim to be their friends present their concerns in crude and disgusting ways. They have been doing things of this nature long before Oct. 7, and now the general public has been exposed to it. From coast to coast.

Tensions erupted during the multi-highway blockade on Jan. 8 when the anonymous motorist griped that blockage of the Manhattan Bridge prevented him from picking up his daughter from her school in Brooklyn. Perhaps Mon Mohapatra would respond that Palestinian children have no schools to be picked up from.

“You’re disrupting traffic, you idiots! You can’t do that, that’s against the law!” the anonymous motorist shouted, as The New York Post described it.

As a bystander filmed the incident with his phone, the bystander yelled, “Hit ‘em all! Run ‘em over!”

Anonymous, who apparently drove from New Jersey, exited his car and said, “I’m about to start throwing fists…I’m not going to run them over.” He then pushed three demonstrators, shouting, “Get away from my car! I have a daughter in Brooklyn!! … Get out of the way! I have to get home!”

New York Post columnist Adam Coleman and I agree on most everything, but he falls somewhat short when he writes, “There needs to be harsh and consistent ramifications for this type of behavior as it puts the safety of others in jeopardy, especially people in dire need of emergency services.

“If New York prosecutors give people slaps on the wrist, we’re only teaching them that we are willing to endure their petulance whenever they see fit with minimal consequences.”

Alexander Kestenbaum, one of six Jewish Harvard students who sued the university for discrimination, said that protesters once confronted him by calling to “globally expand the intifada,” according to the Post. He added that he ceased studying at the main library because demonstrators overran it. He noted that other Jewish students were physically accosted at the university.

“We tried countless times getting the administration…to help us, but to no avail,” he explained.

The lawsuit charges that “Harvard selectively enforces its policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment” and “permits students and faculty to advocate, without consequence, the murder of Jews,” according to the Post.

Kestenbaum, Coleman and the motorist have the right idea, but they do not go far enough. Our system was created to keep order, protect its citizens from criminal offenses and seek to punish lawbreakers. These, um, friends of the Palestinians are creating disorder, harming Jews and others and in the process breaking laws. Our laws were enacted  for society to respond to people like that.

Coleman could have expounded on his reference to slapping these thugs on the wrist. Slapping on the wrist as opposed to what?

What these hoodlums deserve are harsh sentences commensurate with their crimes. Blocking the Manhattan Bridge put lives in danger. The motorist who freaked out on demonstrators was being prevented from picking up his daughter. That alone should land them in jail. They were holding him against his will and violating his civil rights. Worse, ambulances and other first-responders could have been stuck in this traffic.

Coleman voiced his fear that pro-Arab lawbreakers will be slapped on the wrist in the Jan. 9 Post, and later that same day Jay Waxse, 34, and Natalia Scollo, 29, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for an incident to call attention to Palestinian suffering.

They were arrested on Nov. 23 for sitting in the middle of the street on the parade route of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and refusing to get out of the way of the parade’s southbound floats and balloons, according to The New York Daily News.

The judge told them that their convictions would be dismissed if they avoided trouble for the next six months, the News reported. Dismissing their convictions? How creative of the judge.

Waxse and Scollo’s one-sided attitudes for the Palestinians were not changed. That’s their right. But what of their tactics? If they resume committing unlawful offenses, that’s not their right.

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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