Radical pro-Palestinian demonstrations appear to have developed a new tactic: they are targeting Christmas tree lightings across the country, and other Christian symbols, in addition to symbols of Israel and Jewish institutions.
Prior to that, pro-Palestinian activists disrupted the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center in New York City, clashing with police. Governor Gavin Newsom was forced to move California’s Christmas tree lighting indoors due to the threat of protests. And in Michigan, pro-Palestinian protesters tried to drown out a children’s choir at a Christmas tree lighting in Ypsilanti last month.
The question is why pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists have targeted Christmas, and Christian symbols, in addition to their pattern of targeting Jewish institutions (which has been condemned as antisemitic). There are Palestinian Christians, and some radicals insist that Jesus, too, was Palestinian (though he was a Jew who lived in Israel before the word “Palestine” was invented).
One answer is that pro-Palestinian protests have become increasingly Islamic. At Friday’s protest in Los Angeles, for example, Muslim participants held prayers during the demonstration outside the Biden fundraiser. Christians have faced persecution from Muslims in areas run by the Palestinian Authority, such as Bethlehem, and may have been marginalized within the movement.
Many evangelical Christians are seen as pro-Israel, so that may also make churches targets of hatred, alongside synagogues.
But such protests tend to backfire. Indeed, if pro-Palestinian activists wanted to gain the sympathy of the majority of Americans for their cause, there is hardly a worse way to do it than targeting popular events such as Christmas tree lightings.
The answer may be that Christmas, and churches generally, are seen as symbols of what activists feel is a dominant culture. Pro-Palestinian radical Rashid Khalidi described the Israeli communities targeted by Hamas terrorists October 7 as “suburban,” which was not true, but hints at the idea that they are somehow legitimate targets when case as symbols of capitalism, and complacency. Recall, too, that the Black Lives Matter movement targeted a church across the street from the White House in May 2020.
Christmas trees, and churches, symbolize a dominant culture that radicals hate, and that they wish to overthrow, not to persuade.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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