Convention-goers beware: Pro-Palestinian groups want an ugly scene at Chicago's DNC

Did we just witness a dress rehearsal by pro-Palestinian groups for disrupting the Democratic National Convention in Chicago later this summer?

Last week, pro-Palestinian activists organized a “Citywide Day of Rage for Gaza” in New York City.  By the time it was over, even left-wing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called the protest “atrocious antisemitism — plain and simple.”

Hundreds of demonstrators descended on an exhibit in lower Manhattan commemorating the Oct. 7 attack on the Nova music festival, in which Hamas terrorists had murdered hundreds of Israelis.

The demonstrators in New York waved Hamas and Hezbollah flags and screamed that Zionists “are not human, they are the evil of the world” and “long live the intifada.” They unfurled a banner in Union Square, “Long Live October 7.” Demonstrators burst into a subway car where their leader, wearing sunglasses and a keffiyeh, told passengers to “raise your hands if you are a Zionist.” It was all very similar to how a German officer once tried to separate out the Jews from a group of 1,000 American POWs in World War II. He was prevented by Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds who said, even after a gun was held to his head, “We are all Jews here.”

Masked persons vandalized the home of the Jewish director of the Brooklyn Museum. They hung a banner at her entranceway, “White Supremacist Zionist,” and painted an inverted red triangle on her house, the symbol used by Hamas to designate Israeli military targets.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators like to draw parallels to anti-Vietnam war protests in the 1960s, for example, when Gaza War protesters forcibly occupied Hamilton Hall at Columbia University in April, they drew a parallel to the violent student takeover of the same building in April 1968. 

The “Citywide Day of Rage for Gaza” appears to be modeled specifically on the violent “Days of Rage” declared in 1969 by domestic terrorists calling themselves the “Weathermen,” a breakaway group from the radical Students for a Democratic Society. Weathermen went on a rampage in Chicago to protest the Vietnam War by smashing parked cars and breaking store windows. They later escalated to bombing government buildings. None of this ended the Vietnam War, although the Weathermen did manage to score an own goal when several of their bomb makers blew themselves up in a Greenwich Village townhouse.

Pro-Palestinian groups expect to turn out tens of thousands of protesters at this year’s Democratic convention.  They have sued for the right to demonstrate close to the convention sites, the United Center and McCormick Place, but they have declared that they will demonstrate there even without a permit if necessary. 

Democrats justifiably fear that the demonstrators want a replay of the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, which descended into chaos when the Chicago police attacked Vietnam War protesters. The resulting televised mayhem badly damaged the campaign of the Democratic nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who lost in November to Richard Nixon (R).  

The pro-Palestinian groups are not the Weathermen just yet, but the ingredients are there for violence, including virulent antisemitism, rage over the Biden administration’s Gaza War policy, and celebration of Hamas’s barbarity.  A few violent pro-Palestinian protesters could easily provoke arrests at the Democratic convention, leading to violence and more arrests, igniting uncontrolled political fission until it’s 1968 all over again.

The Chicago Police Department claims to be ready, but if the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville or the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot is any guide, government security officials chronically underestimate the potential for violence at such politically combustible events.

The antisemitic rampage in New York City should be a wakeup call to DNC security officials to be sure they are ready for ugly, if not violent, pro-Palestinian protests in Chicago.

Gregory J. Wallance was a federal prosecutor in the Carter and Reagan administrations and a member of the ABSCAM prosecution team, which convicted a U.S. senator and six representatives of bribery. He is the author of Into Siberia: George Kennan’s Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top