". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Pro-Terrorist Mob Darkens Christmas Tree Lighting

December 3, 2023

For a brief moment Wednesday night, a scene out of a gritty political serial interposed itself onto a Hallmark Christmas moment. Pro-Palestinian activists descended on downtown Manhattan, intending to “flood” the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, in honor of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, Hamas’s code name for their brutal October 7 terror attack on innocent Israeli civilians that killed 1,200 Israelis and wounded more than 5,000. The war on Christmas looks a little different this year.

While a merry crowd assembled from as far away as Missouri and Europe for the famous Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, more than 1,000 people gathered in solidarity with terrorists. Police had closed down streets and beefed up their presence — pretty standard for any event that would draw a large crowd — but they weren’t quite prepared for what happened next. 

“The barricades and cops could not contain the crowd. People broke through and began marching through the streets while officers continued to make one arrest after another,” according to a CBS News reporter on the scene — in downtown Manhattan, the mainstream press are the local media. “Demonstrators were able to break through their barricades and at some points even surround and physically fight with police.” One police officer caught in the fray vented, “They should have shut it down. They lost control of the street. I was shoved, punched, kicked.”

All told, police arrested and charged seven people: two for blocking a roadway then resisting arrest and assaulting officers, two for interfering with cops making other arrests, one with a felony charge for knocking someone’s cell phone to the ground (apparently it was expensive and was damaged), one for graffitiing a bank, and one (a minor) for undisclosed reasons.

If that doesn’t seem like enough arrests to you, given the information stated above, you aren’t the only one. I don’t have a way to explain the discrepancy unless it has to do with the utter lack of consequences for criminal behavior in the Big Apple.

Of course, if I wrote an article every time a pro-Palestinian crowd cheered Hamas, chanted for the destruction of Israel, and had a few people get arrested for stupid activity, my editors would never finish reading them all. In fact, recent NYC protests made Wednesday’s scuffle look tame by comparison. Pro-Palestinian protestors disrupted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, vandalized the main branch of the New York Public Library on Thanksgiving Day (with clean-up costs estimated at $75,000), harassed Black Friday shoppers with shouts of “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” (which was not even true, as a ceasefire had already begun), and shut down the Manhattan Bridge in both directions on Sunday as holiday travelers sought to return home.

Instead, Wednesday’s protest was distinguished by protestors flying the flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP). The U.S. government has designated the PLFP as a foreign terrorist organization. The group “combines Arab nationalism with Marxist-Leninist ideology, viewing the destruction of Israel as integral to the struggle to remove Western capitalism from the Middle East.” It is based in the Gaza Strip and has recently collaborated with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It may have been the first time since September 11, 2001 that the flag an Arabic terrorist organization was openly flown in New York City, with no consequences whatsoever.

Amid the countless pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have been staged since October 7, some demonstrators try to claim that they are siding with the Palestinian people, not with Hamas (others openly avow their support for Hamas). But that façade is difficult to maintain when protestors choose to bring to the rally, not the official flag of Palestine, but the flag of a terrorist group operating within Palestine. The ruse is also made more difficult by the demonstration’s rhetorical nods to the October 7 terror attack itself.

But perhaps the pro-terrorist crowd has gotten tired of pretending that they are on the side of the weak and helpless victims (like those Israeli babies they beheaded or stuffed in the oven). Perhaps the pretense was only necessary until they were able to shake loose the Biden administration’s support for Israel.

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressured Israel to abandon its plans to completely “dismantle Hamas, even if it takes months,” reportedly saying, “I don’t think you have the credit for that.” (Credit with whom? In what bank?)

“If Israel fights its war with the speed the White House wants, it would be a quick campaign but not a clean one,” described National Review’s Noah Rothman. “If Israel fights the war as it has — exposing its own soldiers to unnecessary danger to preserve Palestinian life, which is also what the White House would like to see — it would be a cleaner campaign but not a quick one. And Jerusalem doesn’t have ‘credit’ for that. Either way, Israel loses.”

Israel is still fighting an enemy dedicated to its destruction. Fighting renewed Friday after Hamas violated the ceasefire in its seventh day by firing rockets into Israel. Hamas also claimed responsibility for a Thursday terror attack in Jerusalem. And we are still less than two months removed from the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Now, because of pressure from a fringe element in his own party, President Biden has reversed course and is demanding that Israel stop fighting back.

No one, obviously, is demanding that Hamas and its terrorist allies stop fighting, or that they abandon their goal of the total destruction of the Jews. Now their sympathizers are openly waving symbols of these terrorist organizations on the streets of America’s largest city. 

Fortunately, protestors never reached the Christmas tree, and their attempts to disrupt its lighting were unsuccessful. America can shut down terrorists and terrorist sympathizers — if we really want to.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.