Israeli Flag Burned Outside DNC — Anti-Semitism And Incitement To Violence In The Democratic Party?

The Israeli flag was burned in a small bonfire at 10 p.m. Tuesday night by pro-Bernie Sanders protesters outside the security fence surrounding the Democratic National Convention (DNC) venue. A woman whose face was covered with a black bandana held the flag over the fire before dropping it in. Some of those in the crowd chanted “Intifada” repeatedly. Toward the end of the video in the following tweet, you can even hear someone shouting “Death to the USA” and someone else asking for an American flag.

The term intifada has become associated with terrorist acts committed by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis. Can the cries for intifada heard clearly on the video, therefore, be considered hate speech and incitement to violence? If so, will the video be used to find the perpetrators and detain them?

According to TheInquisitr, Bernie Sanders’ supporters were furious when the WikiLeaks #DNCLeaks dump exposed the behind-the-scenes manipulation that secured Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic Party candidate in the presidential race. In spite of Sanders’ attempt to promote party unity at the DNC, his supporters staged a walk-out, and protesters outside the convention venue vented their anger. It culminated in the Israeli flag burning amid shouts supporting intifada.

The Miami Herald reported the timeline of the protest. Outside the DNC site, there were demonstrations and counter-demonstrations for various causes from early afternoon. At about 4 p.m., pro-Sanders protesters began to gather and by 7 p.m. their numbers had swollen. After 8 p.m., police began detaining those who were trying to scale the security fence. The demonstration reached a peak between 9:30 and 10 p.m. when demonstrators started a bonfire in which they burned pro-Sanders fliers and, finally, the Israeli flag.

The Israeli flag burning outside the DNC site elicited responses that were mostly matter-of-fact reporting of the incident. Some tweets expressed dismay. One tweet noted that the burning of the Israeli flag will likely not receive much media attention.

Flag burning is a way of expressing protest against a country’s policies or behaviors. Simultaneously burning the Israeli and American flags has become a familiar sight at pro-Palestinian protests, whether these protests take place in the Middle East or Europe. TheInquisitr reported in 2014 that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does not burn the American flag. That has not changed.

While there are many anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the United States, this is the first time that such an incident has been associated with an official party event.

Until recently, it has been taken for granted that support for Israel is bipartisan given the many areas in which the United States and Israel cooperate. Is that about to change? Is the Israeli flag burning at the DNC a sign of serious deterioration in support for Israel in the Democratic Party?

The Israeli flag burning at the DNC is perhaps only the ultimate expression of deteriorating support for Israel on the part of the Democrats. Observer reports that a Pew Survey showed a decline in support for Israel among Democratic Party general membership; the opinion among representatives is also shifting toward a more openly critical relationship with the Jewish state.

Some Democrats have used strong language to express their distaste for Israel. For example, at an event in support of boycotting Israel, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson referred to Jewish residents in communities in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as “termites.” While he later apologized, there was no official condemnation of his speech by the Democratic Party. It is not clear whether or not the party objected to the very fact that he addressed a BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel) conference.

The Israeli flag burning may even be a reflection of the composition of the DNC Platform Committee, according to Observer.

The committee, made up of the 15 people who will craft the platform of the Democratic party, is a mix of the overtly anti-Israel and the Israel-tolerant. Only former-Rep. Howard Berman is a stalwart supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but he’ll have to contend with an unprecedented anti-Israel cohort of Dr. Cornel West, Dr. James Zogby, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Keith Ellison.

[Photo by John Minchillo/AP Images]

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