It is normally no fun to be San Francisco commuter, but Thursday was particularly slow and frustrating due to an hours long protest by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who blocked traffic in the west-bound lanes of the Bay Bridge. Ultimately 50 arrests were made and several vehicles needed to be towed before lanes were re-opened at about noon.
The protesters started their demonstration about 8 am when they linked their arms together inside tubes as they sat across the span. The tubes made it more difficult for authorities to remove them. Some parked their cars to block lanes and then threw their keys into the San Francisco Bay below. Some laid down and covered themselves in white sheets pretending to be dead.
Using bull horns and placards the protesters called for a cease fire in the nearly 6-week-old Israel-Hamas war. Other signs read, “Stop Genocide” and “No U.S. Aid for Israel”. In an Instagram post, responsibility for the traffic snarl was claimed by pro-Palestinian protesters, offering a message calling on President Bident to demand a cease fire by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
In an interview with KTVU subsequent to the demonstration, one protester said:
“We are demanding a cease-fire, and I think we got that message across.”
“We are so sorry to inconvenience folks, but we cannot let Biden and Harris be in town with it being business as usual and not and not being clear that 80% of the people that voted for Biden and Harris believe in a cease-fire.”
Those dubious poll numbers she referenced notwithstanding, I’m sure that the thousands of commuters inconvenienced or worse by this display have accepted the protesters’ apology as sincere. Yeah, right.
One must wonder what motivates these types of protests, and more importantly what are their goals.
You would think that any reasonable and effective political initiative would contain three necessary elements:
- Capture the attention of the population and the powers that be.
- Educate the public as to the elements of the cause. And perhaps most importantly,
- Gain the sympathy and ultimate support of the public at large to your cause so that your numbers can grow and the movement gathers strength.
When one looks at the Bay Bridge protest and others like them, we can all agree that it was mission accomplished as to element one above. We can withhold judgement as to accomplishment for element two because unless you have been living under a rock or underground in a tunnel for the last few weeks, it would be hard to not have an understanding of the basics of the Hamas attacks into Israel on Oct. 7 and the subsequent devastation in Gaza as the IDF pursues its mission to eradicate this terrorist organization.
As far as element three—the most important for any successful political protest—there can be no doubt of utter failure here. Can we reasonably conceive that anyone would suddenly find sympathy for the Palestinian cause and rally in support of the protesters’ desires by virtue of what occurred during that four-hour demonstration on the Bay Bridge?
Now, let’s compare and contrast an event that occurred just two days before some three thousand miles away. On Tuesday, more than a quarter MILLION citizens gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at a March For Israel to show support for the Jewish State and to decry the growing antisemitism not only in the United States, but also around the world. At a time when it is nearly impossible to find common ground between the political parties in the United States, politicians across our broad political spectrum gathered and united to address the nearly three hundred thousand attendees and voice their support for our staunchest ally in the Middle East.
For the tens of thousands in attendance, it was a meaningful and emotional gathering and I suspect that all three elements for an effective political initiative were accomplished. Why?
Nearly three hundred thousand attendees and no one was attacked, physically or verbally. There was no deliberate motive to inconvenience an entire city in an attempt to score political points. There were no arrests of those that got out of hand, because no one did. How is that possible?
Do a simple internet search for Israel-Hamas protests and you will find that while there is no doubt some reasonable and peaceful demonstrations in support of Gaza Palestinians that have taken place, those that have resulted in violence, the threat of violence, and clashes with authorities which have required arrests are essentially the exclusive domain of those purporting to support Palestinians. Reading between the not so subtle lines, these protests are quite clearly supporting the terrorist organization Hamas whose charter explicitly calls for the eradication of the Jewish State.
Just this week that ugliness and violence continued.
200 protesters blocked entrance and egress at the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where prominent elected officials were meeting. These Cease Fire Now activists clashed with police, at times violently and arrests needed to be made.
In Chicago, over 100 arrests were made as protesters stormed the Israeli consulate there demanding a cease fire by IDF forces.
Here in California, a protest in Thousand Oaks led to the shoving to the ground of a Jewish man who struck his head and later died. The Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death of Paul Kessler a homicide and a Moorpark College professor Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji was arrested Thursday for involuntary manslaughter and battery. Alnaji is a professor of computer science at the Ventura County Community College District school. He has espoused pro-Palestinian stances in the past on social media.
Of course, violent physical and verbal antisemitism perpetrated by pro-Palestinian activists continue to plague college campuses here in the Golden State and across the land.
One must ask, why the disparate approaches to demonstration and protest?
Why is it that those supporting Israel in its effort to eliminate an existential threat that is the terrorist organization Hamas, calling for the return of over 200 civilian hostages, and lamenting the rise in world-wide antisemitism can do so earnestly, respectfully, and peacefully while all too often their counterparts resort to tactics that are tragically violent, verbally abusive, or outrageously performed such as what we saw Thursday on the Bay Bridge?
The answer to the above query is no doubt rooted in multiple explanations including but not limited to culture, and extreme political ideologies. For this author, it is apparent that understanding where the moral high ground lies dictates how groups respond to any given issue. Those that lack any morality or humanity at all such as Hamas, and those who directly or indirectly support them, realizing deep down that there moral position is untenable, must ultimately resort to violence, the threat of violence or inexcusable Bay Bridge stunts and the like. In contrast, those that understand and recognize history, are confident in their legitimate moral standing, and who can articulate same, do so reasonably, persuasively, and indeed peacefully.
- Bay Bridge Protesters Snarl Traffic For Hours - November 18, 2023
- Judge Strikes Down California’s Ban on Semiautomatic Weapons - October 23, 2023
- Latest Mid-East War Shines The Light On Blatant Antisemitism - October 16, 2023