Rockets rained down upon Israeli cities, and fierce rioting took place in urban areas with a high Arab-Israeli population this week, leading to multiple burned or vandalized synagogues among other destruction.
Meanwhile, across the U.S., a broad cross section of domestic radicals came out to support the Palestinian cause.
In Washington, D.C., a protest and march under the title “Save Sheikh Jarrah” was organized outside the U.S. State Department by the Palestinian Youth Movement, with support from American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and the Council on American Islamic Relations, both well-known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood affiliates with ties to Hamas.
The Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) is a radical international organization which routinely promotes and supports the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.
The group has held public events on U.S. college campuses advocating for a new intifada, often with cooperation of local campus Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters, which are organized and supported by AMP. Former Antifa member Gabriel Nadales cites SJP as a potential feeder group for recruitment into more radical organizing, such as participation in Antifa direct actions.
“It is only after joining the SJP and becoming ‘part of the community’ that one begins the political work. Again, this is another form of mass line organizing,” Nadales writes. “Knowing this, the more radical activists tap into these networks and recruit them to engage in more serious activism demonstrations that fall under the banner of Antifa.”
The emphasis on Sheikh Jarrah as the purported origin of what is in reality a far larger conflict seems tailored-made to appeal Western radicals like those who have played a leading role in police abolition protests and related unrest in the United States. The D.C. branch of the Youth Liberation Front (YLF), a significant Antifa group based in the Pacific North West, boosted a PYM release which read:
D.C.: ALL OUT THIS TUESDAY IN DEFENSE OF SHEIKH JARRAH!
The families in #SheikhJarrah have been harassed and terrorized by Israeli settlers and military and are currently facing imminent forced displacement from their homes…
Post-Millennial editor-at-large Andy Ngo noted that the YLF’s Midwest chapter issued an overt threat, responding to an Israeli Defense Force twitter post with a call to throw Molotov cocktails at Israeli consulates.
PYM has been cultivating relationships on the American radical left for some time, issuing a “Arabs4BlackPower” statement endorsing the overtly anti-Semitic platform of the Movement 4 Black Lives BLM organization. The group also backed the months-long Standing Rock pipeline protest, which was a major draw for radical organizations across the United States. PYM routinely adopts the language of oppressed “indigenous” people and uses a narrative as Israel as a “settler colonial” enterprise which is intended to resonate with hard left and anarchist groups.
The Washington D.C. protest received high profile attention with Congress members Reps. Andre Carson and Rashida Tlaib as featured speakers. Both Congress members are known for their long-standing relationships with U.S. Islamist groups. Following speeches by Carson and Tlaib and leaders from AMP and CAIR, the crowd launched into genocidal chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” before conducting what appeared to be an unpermitted march to the White House.
Similar scenes of radical solidarity took place across the country this week. One Minneapolis based Antifa-aligned account called “Twin Cities Encampment Responders” published a call for “direct action” to target “corporate and cultural entities upholding Zionism” beneath a poster quoting the late PFLP leader Ghassan Kanafani. Kanafani regularly serves as a popular source of inspiration for PYM. Another Minneapolis Antifa account Minnesota Uprising retweeted an article from PYM founder Loubna Qutami on the role of feminism in the Palestinian cause.
While the Palestinian issue has long been a cause célèbre on the radical left, the growing coalescence around this pro-PFLP and Antifa friendly narrative which deliberately merges the ideological claims of western anarcho-Marxists with the Palestinian cause should be of concern to counterterrorism officials.
Historically, the PFLP was a major driver of increased radicalization and violence among European communist urban guerilla movements of the 1970s such as the German Revolutionary Cells, Red Army Faction and the 2 June Movement. A serious investigation into links between the Palestinian Youth Movement and Palestinian terror groups is likely warranted as well.
Local law enforcement with strong Antifa networks in their areas of operation should be prepared to raise security around perceived Israeli or Jewish facilities or around companies known to do business with the state of Israel as a result of these ongoing developments.
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