SAN FRANCISCO—Traffic came to a halt during the morning rush today as West-bound cars on California Street were stopped by a Jewish group protesting today’s scheduled White House visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The protest was held outside 555 California Street at the corner of Montgomery, outside the 52-story former Bank of America Center, which is the anchor of the city’s Financial District.
The protest selected the building because it is partially owned by Donald Trump, according to Ethan, one of the leaders of the rally. President Trump retained a 30% interest in the iconic building – the city’s largest in square footage and second tallest—when Vornado bought 70%. That fact has made the building a magnet for the progressive city’s activists.
Ethan told the Observer that the demonstrators were protesting “global fascism” and viewed the leaders of Israel and the United States as “part of all of that.” The police soon arrived to try to stop the demonstrators from blocking the road, but the protest continued for at least 15 minutes, clogging the morning rush.
Carrying signs that included messages like “Jewish Persistence” and “If Not Now, When,” referencing Rabbi Hillel’s famous three-point call to action, demonstrators chanted, “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go.”
Many drivers seemed annoyed when they had to turn onto Montgomery instead of proceeding West on California, but there were several appreciative honks, as well, and one passenger leaned out the window to shout “We’re with you” as the police encouraged the demonstrators to get back on the sidewalk.
When a reporter remarked that one demonstrator was wearing tzitzit, the protestor said, “You have a kippah. You’re our brother. You belong in the street with us.”