Anti-Israel Activists in NYC Marked July 4 by Burning, Spitting on American, Israeli Flags

Demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during a protest against Israel's attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, in Bekasi on May 25, 2021. (Photo by Rezas / AFP) (Photo by REZAS/AFP via Getty Images)
REZAS/AFP via Getty Images

In a clip that has garnered tens of thousands of views over the last few days, a group of anti-Israel protesters are seen gathering in Brooklyn to mark American Independence Day by chanting anti-American and anti-Israel slogans and setting both American and Israeli flags aflame as the crowd cheers on the shocking display.

In the minute-long clip, demonstrators can be seen singing various chants to drums as the Israeli flag burns in the center.

After one activist is seen spitting on the burning flag, an American flag is added to the flames — leading demonstrators to cheer and dance.

At one point, a liquid is poured on the flags to seemingly aid in increasing the flames.

In the video, the crowd can be heard chanting, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” 

In addition, other plays on the chant can be heard, including, “From the river to the sea, Mexico will be free,” and “from the river to the sea, Puerto Rico will be free.”

The event was promoted by “Within Our Lifetime” (WOL), a New York-based Palestinian pro-terror group responsible for previous anti-Israel demonstrations.

Only two days earlier, Nerdeen Kiswani, the group’s founder, appeared at another anti-Zionist rally where she declared that American politicians “serve Zionism” and that New York City is a “Zionist” city.

In a message posted to its Facebook page, WOL called to “resist U.S. imperialism and defend the right of all colonized people to resist from Palestine to Mexico to Puerto Rico to the Black liberation struggle!”

Freedom Means Dignity: Join us on July 4th 5 PM at 44 st/6th Ave Sunset Park in Brooklyn as we mobilize as a Palestine…

Posted by Within our Lifetime • United for Palestine on Monday, June 28, 2021

According to the post, the July 4 rally was intentionally set to take place in “the historically Mexican neighborhood” of Sunset Park, calling for chants such as, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!”

“From Palestine to the Philippines stop the U.S war machine!” the post concludes.

Many took to social media to express outrage, with many highlighting the symbolism of burning the flags of two leading democracies.

“A mob is burning U.S. and Israeli flags, and calling for the annihilation of Israel. Not Iran or Gaza. In Brooklyn, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world,” wrote Len Khodorkovsky, a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

“It won’t be long before these anti-American anti-Semites are on the @HouseForeign Affairs Committee,” he added.

“Pretty scary stuff that is going on in America but sadly it’s happening,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Notice how they burn the American flag after the Israeli one,” wrote Yair Netanyahu, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“What did the @nytimes say recently about American flags ‘increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person’s political affiliation?’” wrote former U.S diplomat and vice president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Alberto Miguel Fernandez.

“Does that apply to burning them?” he asked.

“This isn’t Gaza or Tehran but NYC on July 4th 2021!” tweeted StopAnitisemitism.org.

“Make no mistake – burning the flag of the only democracy in the Middle East, along with the flag of one of the greatest democracies of the world – together – is quite deliberate,” wrote author Faith Quintero.

“People who hate Israel often scorn the United States,” she added.

“The same city that waved American flags everywhere after being attacked on 9/11 has brought in the ‘Death to America’ crowd. Less than 20 years later too,” wrote media correspondent Logan Ratick.

Another self-generated obstacle for the anti-Zionists: Many of them seem to not really like America very much, whereas Americans tend to like America actually, wrote journalist Armin Rosen.

“Israel is just an excuse and a stepping stone for the luni left to get their way here in America,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another user turned to the protestors, mockingly asking them if they would be able to “Burn Palestinian Flags In Ramallah Against Palestinian Authority Human Rights Abuses?”

“This Is A Naked Exhibition Of Hate & Antisemitism!” the user added.

Anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations have become ever more extreme in recent weeks.

Last month, footage from an anti-Israel demonstration in New York City showed over a thousand demonstrators rallying behind calls for Israel’s demise while advocating a violent uprising and revolution against the Jewish state.

While some are seen carrying signs attacking “U.S. imperialism” and calling for boycotts and a halt to U.S. aid to Israel, other signs called for full-blown violence. 

One sign read, “There is only one solution: Intifada, revolution.” 

In some chants, demonstrators clarified they had no interest in coexistence with a Jewish state, but sought only a Palestinian one in its place.

“We don’t want two states; we want all of it!” went one chant, negating Israel’s right to exist.

The U.S. has faced a recent outbreak of antisemitic attacks targeting Jews in New York City and other cities across the nation, largely attributed to pro-Palestinian incitement.

In May, pro-Palestinian demonstrators were filmed attacking Jews in Manhattan — allegedly harassing and beating pro-Israel counter-demonstrators; shooting fireworks at a crowd of onlookers; and spitting on diners eating in a local restaurant.

Also, a small explosive was thrown from a pickup truck in the Diamond District — a predominantly Jewish area — sending worried bystanders running for safety. The pickup truck was part of a convoy of vehicles waving Palestinian flags, sources said.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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