“Globalize the Intifada” and “death to Israel, death to America.” These slogans are the type heard at New York rallies organized by the radical left-wing Palestinian activist group, Within Our Lifetime (WOL). Far from your run-of-the-mill political demonstrations, these events are merely platforms to incite antisemitic violence against the local Jewish community. Just last week, WOL members were heard chanting “Zionism must fall.” And yet, the city’s politicians and law-enforcement agencies have effectively turned a blind to the group’s behavior, including physical assaults committed by its members on unsuspecting bystanders.
Contrast this lax non-response with how the entire city mobilized to prevent a recent neo-Nazi campaign, and two wildly different approaches to hate groups can clearly be seen.
Over the last several years, WOL has partnered with the Samidoun Prisoner Solidarity Network, an alleged proxy of the U.S.-designated terror organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to organize so-called “Days of Rage” in protest of Israeli policies vis-à-vis Palestinians. It’s at these events and others that WOL spreads its vitriolic antisemitism and calls for bloodshed.
Given the nature of these events, it’s unsurprising that WOL members themselves have physically assaulted Jewish New Yorkers.
As recently as March 3 and nearly two years after he began a string of antisemitic assaults, Saadah Masoud, a WOL co-founder, was sentenced at the Federal District Court in Manhattan to 18 months in prison.
Mahsoud’s actions include punching a man and dragging him across the pavement, accosting a Jew outside his home with colorful slogans like “We know where you live, we’ll get you,” and asking a Star of David-clad individual “Are you a f**king Jew?” before striking him in the face.
Another member of WOL, Waseem Awadeh, was charged with a hate crime for attacking a yarmulke-wearing Jewish man on his way to a pro-Israel rally. Despite declaring that “If I could do it again, I would do it again,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg granted him a laughably short plea deal for six months imprisonment. This is the same DA who reportedly opted not to pursue charges against Masoud, thereby forcing the U.S. Department of Justice to step in and handle the case itself.
Clearly, the city does not address WOL, its members or their “Days of Rage” effectively. Conversely, when word recently got out about a neo-Nazi “Day of Hate” set to befall the city in late February, the New York Police Department and local politicians immediately kicked into high gear.
Thankfully, the campaign fizzled out without incident, largely due to preventative measures implemented by the city, including a heightened police presence, various warnings issued by the NYPD and other efforts from the Jewish community. Even Gov. Kathy Hochul stepped in and directed the New York State Division of Homeland Security to remain on high alert.
This collective mobilization by virtually all levels of New York City’s civil and political establishment stands in stark contrast to WOL’s “Days of Rage.”
Why the disparate response?
After all, the NYPD acknowledged that it hadn’t even identified a credible threat against the Jewish community. Yet when an inciteful protest is organized by WOL, whose members have repeatedly engaged in violence, little preparation is made.
Does antisemitism only warrant special attention from the police and politicians when it comes from neo-Nazis, but not extreme elements on the left?
Such selective prevention has, in large part, led to the Big Apple becoming the antisemitism capital of America, with 416 documented incidents in 2021 alone. According to a study from Americans Against Antisemitism published in July 2022, only one antisemitic incident in the city since 2018 actually resulted in the assailant seeing a prison cell.
The local government and NYPD should be commended for efficiently handling the “Day of Hate.” But in doing so, they tipped their hand and demonstrated that they do have the capacity to prevent antisemitic incidents in New York City. All that’s missing is their motivation to do so.
Within Our Lifetime will undoubtedly launch more “Days of Rage” and other menacing events in the months to come, where its members can threaten or even attack Jewish New Yorkers. When these events are organized, they must be confronted with as much vigor by New York’s police and politicians as was the neo-Nazi “Day of Hate.” Antisemitism must be fought tooth and nail, regardless of where it comes from on the political spectrum.
Eitan Fischberger is an international relations and Middle East analyst based in Israel. His work has been published in NBC News THINK, “National Review” and more. Tweet him @EFischberger.
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