Militia-like pro-Palestinian gangs attack Jews across US, West - analysis

The militia-style of ISIS, now under the Hamas banner, appears to have come to more western countries under the guise of pro-Palestinian activism.

'Long live the Intifada': Palestinians and pro-Palestinian supporters protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza amid days of conflict between the two sides, in Brooklyn, New York, US, May 15, 2021.  (photo credit: RASHID UMAR ABBASI / REUTERS)
'Long live the Intifada': Palestinians and pro-Palestinian supporters protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza amid days of conflict between the two sides, in Brooklyn, New York, US, May 15, 2021.
Attacks on Jews from London to California now appear to revolve around a series of systematic assaults by groups of pro-Palestinian men organized in militia-like groups. They have included convoys of cars calling on people to rape Jewish women and targeted attacks on Jews eating dinner or working in areas known to have high numbers of Jews.
This is not spontaneous or random. Jews have been targeted for two weeks under the guise of the war in Gaza.  
Here is what we know about some of the groups involved in militia-like attacks on Jews across western countries.
In Canada men went to Cote-Saint-Luc, where there is a sizable Jewish community, and yelled antisemitic comments. Two were arrested. The violence against Jews in Montreal appears not to have been covered well, but attackers were armed and sought out Jewish neighborhoods.
In Edmonton, reports say that men went to a Jewish area near Beth Israel Synagogue shouting “free Palestine” and seeking out Jews. They asked people “do any Jews live here?” People went to the west end of Edmonton also “seeking Jews,” according to reports.
In New York City, the militias targeted the Diamond District where there are many Jewish-owned businesses. “One person was burned when two fireworks were thrown from a car.”
Some American Jews feel the need to remove their kippahs or Star of David necklaces or even mezuzahs.
Though in most of the world there were zero violent antisemitic incidents, attacks on Jews which are common in the US, particularly New York, rose sharply to 193 in one week.
The types of incidents point to a similar trend of young men riding around in cars seeking out and attacking Jews, unlike recent attacks on synagogues before the Gaza conflict.
In another convoy of vehicles, “pro-Palestinian men in a caravan chased an Orthodox Jewish man,” the JTA reported. The militias hunted down Joseph Borgen, who was wearing a kippah, and beat him in Manhattan. The article noted that “Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arrested in connection with the beating and charged with a hate crime, gang assault and other charges.”
In New York the attackers wrap their faces in keffiyehs, like Hamas militiamen in Gaza. They sometimes wear military-style outfits too.
In Los Angeles, an attack by a convoy of pro-Palestinian militia-types on Jewish people at a sushi restaurant is being investigated as a hate crime.
Video from Times Square showed numerous angry men, some with Palestinian flags, trying to attack a pro-Israel event. Many covered their faces in black cloths, balaclavas or scarves. Another video shows gangs of men swinging fists at people they think are Jews.
These gangs of men, almost no women present, set out to find Jews and assault them. There is no pretense that this is a protest. They dress as militants, not protesters. The car convoy, with megaphones and men hanging out of the windows, is a relatively new phenomenon and appears to be uniformly orchestrated across several cities in western countries.
Another pro-Palestinian gang sought to target Teaneck, New Jersey, where many Jews live.
Alex Zeldin whose handle is @Jewishwonk wrote, “I wore my kippah on my way to get the last of my groceries on the Upper West Side ahead of Shabbos. Just had a pair of teens follow me for a block yelling antisemitic slurs and making threats.”
In Germany, “most violent incidents were in the southern Berlin district of Neukölln, where demonstrators who gathered in solidarity with Palestinians burned Israeli flags, chanted anti-Israel slogans and waved Hamas banners,” a report in The Guardian noted.
The German anti-Israel attacks may have been fueled from Ankara where the pro-Hamas ruling party has used its diaspora for years to increase extremism.
In Mannheim arrests were made for hate speech. “In Cologne, a pro-Palestine protest drew 800 participants, twice the number (as in Mannheim) before police broke it up. There were also large gatherings in Hamburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Hanover, where calls were made for the dissolution of Israel,” The Guardian said.
At a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Gelsenkirchen one fascist yelled out “s**t Jews.” At the same demonstration, that targeted a synagogue, Turkish flags were flown. Israeli flags were burned. In Munich a man was called a “Jewish pig” and attacked, although it was not clear if it was linked to anti-Israel incidents.
In the UK, pro-Palestinian militias organized a convoy of cars from Bradford sporting Palestinian flags, “touring Jewish areas of north-west London,” according to The Jewish Chronicle. At least one person shouted “F**k the Jews, rape their daughters.” Police said four men were arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offenses.
The Jewish Chronicle reported a deluge of reports along the convoy’s Finchley Road route from St John’s Wood, Hendon, Hampstead, Golders Green, and Swiss Cottage.
By Friday, there was a coordinated campaign among some on the left who had attacked Israel during the conflict to condemn what US Senator Bernie Sanders called “disturbing antisemitic attacks.”
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar wrote that the attacks were “horrific and unacceptable. Nobody should face threats and harassment based on their religion or ethnicity.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote over the weekend that “we will never, ever tolerate antisemitism here in NY or anywhere in the world. The recent surge in attacks is horrifying. We stand with our Jewish communities in condemning this violence.”
If Not Now wrote, “We condemn in the strongest terms the antisemitic acts in recent days. These isolated incidents don’t represent the Palestinian rights movement, which is grounded in values of freedom and justice, not hate and bigotry.”
Since the Gaza conflict began on May 10, many anti-Israel progressive Jewish activists in the US have written on social media about the need to distance themselves from Israel. They argue that “we’re creating, flourishing, safe, Jewish lives in the US and that to defeat Israel the diaspora needs to create inclusive communities.”
It does not appear that any of these groups protested physically against the antisemitic militia attacks. There is a difference between ostensibly progressive anti-Israel voices or pro-Palestinian demonstrators and the militant militia-like pro-Palestinian convoys of men who adopt the tone, aggression and comments of far-right militias.
These types of militant groups, their dress, manner and actions, are common in Iraq, in Gaza and other places. They are properly called far-right style groups, either Islamists or Palestinian nationalists.
No investigation has begun to analyze why this conflict triggered, within days, similar systematic attacks on Jewish communities from Germany to the UK, Canada and the US.
In previous conflicts there have been large anti-Israel rallies. However, the use of car convoys, megaphones and groups of men seeking out Jews and beating them appears to support a pattern of coordinated methods as well as targeted hate violence.
It also appears that the coordinated attackers knew the location of large Jewish communities, systematically seeking them out in Montreal, Edmonton, New York, Los Angeles, London and places in Germany. The methodology appeared to be to “find the Jews, get the Jews in your local community.”
Who organized this and disseminated it across different communities thousands of kilometers apart is unclear. That it appears to be militia-style hate crime sectarian violence is clear.
These attacks were not about Israel. They were about ethnically cleansing the streets of England, Canada, the US and other countries of Jews and anyone who wears a kippah or works in a Jewish area or goes to synagogue.
Convoys of men waving flags calling out: “rape their daughters,” is what ISIS did in Iraq. The militia-style of ISIS, now under the Hamas banner, appears to have come to more western countries under the guise of pro-Palestinian activism.
There were no rallies like this in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, India, Japan or many other non-western countries. This is something that happened mostly in English-speaking countries which claim to be tolerant, democratic and against hate, but harbored ISIS supporters. There have been no large protests against the attacks.