Protests over the weekend in the United States and Canada, conducted in response to President Donald Trump’s recognition Wednesday of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, were marked by at least one assault of a Zionist counter-protester, calls for organized violence against Jews, and the stealing and burning of Israeli flags.
At a demonstration held outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday, a 17-year-old Israeli-Jewish student from the nearby University of British Columbia (UBC), who stood silently on the side with an Israeli flag unfurled, said he was pushed to the ground by a middle-aged protester wearing a Palestinian kaffiyeh, or headdress.
The student, who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon on condition of anonymity, said he was bending to rescue a cardboard likeness of an Israeli flag that had been set on fire by protesters, when he was shoved down and called a “piece of shit” by the unidentified demonstrator.
The cardboard flag, which bore a large red “X,” was lit with a cigarette lighter within feet of the student, who had been encircled by about 10 protesters. They left him with “no exit strategy,” he said, adding that one of the protesters also stole his own, real flag.
The defacing of the Israeli flag was “a lot more disturbing” than the personal threats or physical violence, he said.
“It is shocking that this could happen in country supposed to be all about plurality and multiculturalism,” he said. “You don’t burn another person’s aspirations for a homeland.”
The student added that he had not gone to downtown Vancouver to counter-protest, but to celebrate completing a difficult final exam. Palestinian resistance music playing on speakers drew him to the scene.
He explained that he happened to have an Israeli flag in his bag from the night before, when he had been counter-protesting Friday’s much larger rally outside the gallery with a few UBC friends.
An Israeli flag was stolen from the Zionist group on Friday, as well. It was then stomped on and ripped apart, according to footage of the event.
One of the students initially holding the flag, Jake Reznik, said young children sitting on their parents’ shoulders called him a “Nazi” and “genocider.”
Noah David Alter, Reznik’s fellow flag-bearer, said, “One woman told me if she sees me again, she’d knock my teeth out.”
Alter said Vancouver police failed to intervene when the flag was stolen and destroyed.
“There was no way they didn’t see what was going on,” he said.
Meanwhile, a similar protest was underway at New York City’s Times Square.
Activists chanted, “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammed is returning,” invoking Islamic prophet Muhammad’s 7th century war against Jewish tribes. The battle has also been cited as inspiration by terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.
Protesters in both cities called for another “intifada,” or popular uprising, a term referring to periods of Palestinian suicide bombings and stabbings in Israel that took place from 1987 to 1993, and again in the early 2000s.
The Vancouver protests were organized in part by Tarek Ramadan, according to News 1130, a local imam who in July gave a sermon urging his congregants to send “money, weapons, expertise” to Palestinians fighting the Zionist “gang.”
“[I]t is our duty, an individual duty, that we all share their Jihad and their struggle against the Zionists, by all means necessary—by all legal means and any Islamic means. We are not going to be shy or wishy-washy about it,” Ramadan said, according to a transcript of the speech translated by Middle East and Arabic language media watchdog, MEMRI.
The Manhattan rally was organized by a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups, with leaders of the local anti-Israel movement encouraging the crowd to be “active” in the dismantlement of Israel.
Nerdeen Kiswani, head of the New York City chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine—the country’s largest network of anti-Israel campus groups—warned, that Israel’s “time is limited, and their time is up.”
“It’s up to all of us here, including everyone in the crowd, to keep this momentum going if we want to see Israel fall within our lifetime. And inshallah, it will fall within our lifetime,” said Kiswani, who earlier this year celebrated a deadly truck ramming attack in Jerusalem as a “Fuck you” to “settlers.”