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ZOA calls for counter-protest to Philadelphia-sponsored event denouncing Israel’s existence

The City of Philadelphia is again hosting a Palestinian solidarity day event, promoted using the flag of a U.S.-designated terror organization.

Supporters of the BDS movement against Israel. Photo by Alex Christy/Flickr.
Supporters of the BDS movement against Israel. Photo by Alex Christy/Flickr.

The Zionist Organization of America has called on Israel supporters to gather in Philadelphia on Tuesday to protest a city-sponsored event critical of the Jewish state’s founding.

The city scheduled an “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” at its Municipal Services Building, hosting the affair for the second straight year. According to a promotional poster, the event is sponsored by the office of the City Representative and Mayor Jim Kenney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. At last year’s event, Kenney and at least three members of the Philadelphia City Council spoke, along with state lawmakers.

“Too many Jews have been murdered and maimed by Palestinian-Arab violence. There have already been too many lies and too much propaganda attacking Israel’s right to exist and seeking to delegitimize Jewish heritage and Jewish rights to self-determination,” the Greater Philadelphia ZOA said in a statement. “Endorsing more violence and more lies and propaganda is beneath the obligation of officials who are supposed to represent all Philadelphians. Please do not further trample on the already-under-attack Jewish community.”

The poster for Tuesday’s Philadelphia event prominently features the flag of the PLO, a U.S.-designated terror organization responsible for the murder and maiming of thousands of Israeli civilians, along with dozens of American and European citizens, dating back to its 1964 founding.

Since 1977, Palestine Solidarity Day has been observed through a United Nations General Assembly resolution. The Nov. 29 date coincides with the anniversary of the passing of a UNGA resolution partitioning the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, which Palestinian Arabs have still failed to accept. Palestinians refer to the subsequent Jewish state as a Nakba, or catastrophe.

The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America is placing calls for counter-demonstrators to attend a public vigil on the perimeter of the Municipal Services Building, located at 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, at noon today.

“The purpose of the city’s event and the violent and bellicose imagery in the poster promoting the city event is a threat to every Jewish person and every supporter of Israel,” reads a statement from the Greater Philadelphia ZOA. “It is especially troubling during this period of rampant attacks and Jewish people and institutions, along with intense incitement of hatred of Jewish people and the Jewish homeland, that Philadelphia officials would send such a message.”

In 1987, the U.S. Congress declared the PLO a “terrorist organization” and prohibited it from opening any of its office in the United States.

Since the signing of the 1993 Oslo interim peace agreement between Israel and the PLO, every U.S. president signed a congressionally-provided waiver until 2018, when President Donald Trump shuttered the PLO office in Washington, D.C., and ordered its American bank accounts closed in order to pressure the Palestinians to stop working with the International Criminal Court against Israel. 

The ZOA encourages supporters to bring Israeli and American flags to the Tuesday vigil.

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