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San Francisco leaders, thousands of others, rally in support of Israel

“Jewish parents should not have to tell their children to take off their Star of David,” said former Meta leader Sheryl Sandberg.

Young children hold an Israeli flag. Inna Reznik/Shutterstock.
Young children hold an Israeli flag. Inna Reznik/Shutterstock.

Rain poured down as speakers addressed an estimated 10,000 people who had marched to counter antisemitism at San Francisco’s city hall in an event called “Unity March: Standing Together Against Anti-Semitism.” 

On Sunday, the city’s mayor, London Breed, declared in her speech that “there is no place for hate in San Francisco.” She noted a rise in local hate crimes, saying 30% of incidents in 2023 had targeted Jews—“a 260% increase since 2022.”

Sheryl Sandberg, the former COO at (Facebook) Meta and founder of the women’s leadership group Lean In, said just as parents should not have to warn their gay children not to hold hands in public and their black children not to avoid certain neighborhoods, “Jewish parents should not have to tell their children to take off their Star of David.”

California’s Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said the way to overcome “those who seek to divide us” was through “being together and standing together today and always.”

On Saturday, a march also took place in San Francisco—from Market Street to Embarcadero Plaza—with protesters advocating against Israel’s efforts to defeat the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. 

“We have gathered in the thousands here today in San Francisco and all over the world to demand an end to the United States’ complicity in the genocide of the Palestinian people,” said Rami Abdelkarim of the Palestinian Youth Movement. “We fund Israel every single year. We are anticipating a bill of $17 billion going straight to Israel. Why are we sending arms and our tax dollars straight to Israel to commit a genocide against the Palestinian people?”

At one point, the anti-Israel protest grew violent with police forced to use pepper spray in response to calls of assaults and vandalism. A statement from the police said that “a few of the officers at the scene suffered non-life-threatening injuries” and that “this remains an open and active investigation.”

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