Greenfield: Authorities Treat Pro-Hamas and Anti-Drag Protests in Very Different Ways

After years of riots, including the latest outburst of pro-Hamas attacks targeting synagogues, churches, and Jewish restaurants, it turns out that there is a way to stop them after all.New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella recently filed civil rights charges against a Neo-Nazi group which had been protesting outside a drag event at a cafe.In December, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell filed civil rights charges against the same group for harassing drag events and migrant housing facilities. Campbell claimed that the Nationalist Social Club had “engaged in a concerted attempt to target and terrorize people across Massachusetts and interfere with their rights.”

The National Socialists didn’t actually do anything more (and arguably less) than BLM and Hamas supporters have spent the last three years doing to people around the country.In New Hampshire, they were accused of banging on the windows and making intimidating gestures. In Massachusetts, they were charged with trespassing, intimidating hotel staff and disrupting the operations of hotels. They’ve also been accused of minor vandalism.Name a leftist aligned protest movement that doesn’t routinely do all of these things.

The problem isn’t that Neo-Nazis are being charged when their behavior is illegal, it’s that the same kinds of behavior are treated as sacrosanct when practiced by eco-terrorists, BLM and now Hamas supporters who intimidate, threaten, interfere with operations and vandalize targets.The two states claim that civil rights charges are legitimate because the Neo-Nazis targeted “minority groups”. But that’s exactly what Hamas supporters have been doing.Massachusetts is the home of the ‘Mapping Project’ targeting Jewish institutions for protests which listed Jewish schools, synagogues and community groups.This came after antisemitic incidents were at all time high in Manhattan.In 2020, as part of a ‘Day of Rage’, terrorist supporters had marched to theoffices of Jewish organizations while chanting calls for Intifada and the destruction of Israel. With a mob of 300, the Day of Rage had a much larger turnout than the paltry Neo-Nazi rallies.No civil rights charges were filed.Earlier in 2023, the National Socialists had been charged with a civil rights violation in New Hampshire for hanging up a “Keep New England white” banner. But at the University of New Hampshire campus, students had gathered to chant the “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” call for the destruction of Israel which was described as “protected speech”. Both are calls for getting rid of minority groups, but only one resulted in criminal charges.Given the right political incentive, minor protest charges like trespassing, vandalism or disrupting a business that lead to nothing more than a desk appearance ticket (and usually not even that) for leftists are hooked up to civil rights laws that suddenly put real teeth into them.Massachusetts and New Hampshire showed that the abusive behaviors we have been forced to take for granted from leftist protest movements have a legal recourse. Massachusetts had previously explored adding Neo-Nazis to gang member databases as an “unincorporated group”. Is there any reason that BLM rioters and Hamas supporters shouldn’t also be there?During the BLM and pro-Hamas riots, the authorities insisted on describing any behavior short of blowing things up as “first amendment activities”. But they’re actually not. Blocking roads, streets and buildings is not a “first amendment activity”. And if you doubt that, try doing it while advocating for the Fourth Reich, Kim Jong-Un or some other socially unapproved cause.The extended difference granted to leftist protesters is not a matter of law, but of privilege.The same authorities that claimed that they are unable to do anything about even the most abusive protests enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act under which even the most non-violent forms of civil disobedience in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic are a federal crime that can lead to serious prison time. In the last few years, the FBI has raided the homes of abortion clinic protesters who did the same things that leftist protesters routinely do.Last year, Eva Zastrow, who sat in front of the door at an abortion clinic to block people from going inside, was charged with multiple FACE violations. Some of her fellow protesters were charged with engaging in a conspiracy against civil rights and face 11 years in prison.How is that possible? The Clinton administration decided that access to abortion clinics was a federal protected civil right and protesting against them was therefore a civil rights violation.Pro-abortion protesters who broke into the Supreme Court and disrupted hearings on abortion were sentenced to nothing more than unsupervised probation while anti-abortion protesters face 11 years in prison for doing less than that. Faced with a protest or a riot that they oppose, like Jan 6, the authorities find legal tools for throwing everyone involved in prison for a long time.Break into Congress to oppose Biden and you will spend years in prison, but break into Congress to oppose Republicans or support Hamas, and you get off with nothing or less than nothing. That’s because the tools are there left over from the civil rights era, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, the war on drugs or other events that gave federal and local law enforcement extensive and arguably unconstitutional powers for dealing with the crisis of the moment.Both the use of those tools and the failure to use them are themselves forms of discrimination.In recent years, the Biden administration, under Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg began charging passengers with federal crimes for getting into tussles with flight attendants, yet Hamas supporters have been able to invade and besiege airports, and even fly a balloon to ground planes near JFK without a single word from Buttigieg or any threat of intervention. Have too many drinks and you’re a federal offender, attack an airport for terrorists, and you’re fine.In every case there are selective reasons for applying the law and for choosing not to do so.What is not true is that there are no legal remedies. Instead the authorities file the same problems and the same behaviors under different categories for political reasons. A BLM or pro-Hamas riot targeting churches and synagogues is filed as a first amendment protected activity because it is categorized as a civil rights protest, while Neo-Nazis doing the same thing outside a drag event get locked up because they are categorized as violating civil rights.These are not differences in behavior or even intent, but in the politics of the perpetrators.We don’t have to live in a country in which race rioters and terrorists can block roads and airports, harass churches and synagogues, and endorse violence and domestic terror.All we have to do is start categorizing their behavior as a violation of our civil rights.People have a right to leave their homes. They have a right to visit their chosen houses of worship. And they have a right to attend their university of choice without harassment.The First Amendment does not extend to intimidating, terrorizing, threatening and preventing people from living their lives. Once people are being blocked, harassed or threatened, it is no longer a legal protest, but a civil rights violation. And it should be treated as such. The failure to do so has normalized radicals fighting police, blocking people and roads, and filming themselves stalking and harassing passerby before posting the videos on TikTok.The authorities have shown us that the tools exist to end this nightmare. They just need to be used. And if elected officials and prosecutors refuse, then those ready to act will replace them.

Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield is a blogger and columnist born in Israel and living in New York City. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a contributing editor at Family Security Matters. Daniel's original biweekly column appears at Front Page Magazine and his blog articles regularly appear at Family Security Matters, the Jewish Press, Times of Israel, Act for America and Right Side News, as well as daily at the Canada Free Press and a number of other outlets. He has a column titled Western Front at Israel National News and his op eds have also appeared in the New York Sun, the Jewish Press and at FOX Nation. Daniel was named one of the Jewish Press' Most Worthwhile Blogs from 2006-2011 and his writing has been cited by Rush Limbaugh, Melanie Philips, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Judith Klinghoffer, John Podhoretz, Jeff Jacoby and Michelle Malkin, among others. Daniel's blog, http://sultanknish.blogspot.com, is a daily must-read.

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