Pro-Palestinian activists have a long history of disrupting Israel-connected events. They shout down speakers, block entrances and exits, and even physically attack speakers and participants. Up until now, these tactics have often been successful because law enforcement authorities have handled these pro-Palestinian activists, for the most part, with kid gloves. Yet, this policy may be inviting more disruptions and more violent attacks of an ever more dangerous kind.
It should be clear that most of these pro-Palestinian activists are not generic supporters of human rights. They often have long histories of support for terrorism and violence. Some even have criminal records. And their behavior seems to show a pattern of slowly escalating violence. This trend is worrisome and, unfortunately, the relevant authorities do not appear to be taking it seriously enough. It only takes a handful of deranged and dangerous individuals — or only one — to commit a truly devastating act of violence. And thus far, law enforcement agencies have failed to identify and interdict those who may have a propensity to attack Israelis and Jews at pro-Israel events. We have been lucky so far. But we may not be lucky forever.
This grave concern is illustrated by a recent incident. In October 2017, pro-Palestinian activists infiltrated an event for my organization Reservists on Duty (ROD), held at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York. At ROD, we bring reserve IDF soldiers to foreign countries to advocate for Israel. Once inside the synagogue, the anti-Israel activists began heckling the participants. Then they became more aggressive. One activist rushed one of the speakers and had to be restrained. The NYPD removed the attackers from the main sanctuary of the synagogue, but they were quickly released. No charges were filed and no criminal investigation took place.