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November 17, 2023

Left-Wing Anti-Semitic Crowd Targets DNC, Provokes Capitol Police Response

They hoped to pressure Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza — a move that would undercut Israel and benefit Hamas.

By Joshua Arnold

U.S. Capitol Police responded Wednesday night as “approximately 150 people” were “illegally and violently protesting” at the headquarters for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The group of left-wing demonstrators disrupted a Democratic campaign event by chanting pro-Hamas slogans such as “ceasefire now” outside the building, then refused police instructions to relocate away from the building. The incident continues a trend of left-wing, anti-Semitic protests expressing anger at Democratic support for Israel and crossing the line between protected speech and violence.

Police initially responded with alarm, placing nearby congressional office buildings on lockdown. They wrestled the demonstrators away from the DNC and evacuated top Democratic leaders and “scores” of Democratic representatives and candidates from a campaign event there. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) were all present at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) candidate week leadership reception. Capitol Police initially said, “officers are making arrests,” but later said only one arrest had been made.

The left-wing protestors told a local PBS affiliate that they picked the location and time because they believed high-ranking Democrats were inside. They hoped, by pressuring congressional Democrats, to indirectly pressure President Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza — a move that would undercut Israel and benefit Hamas.

The protest was organized by a coalition of extremist left-wing groups including If Not Now (INN), the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the same coalition that organized an October 18 pro-Hamas protest which illegally entered a House office building and resulted in at least 300 arrests. On November 5, pro-Hamas groups mobilized a massive protest around the White House, at which an angry mob rattled the gates, defaced public property, and chanted “Allahu Akbar” with next to no consequences.

The tone of pro-Hamas protests has contrasted sharply with that on display at the bipartisan Stand for Israel rally which took place on Tuesday, drawing hundreds of thousands of people from all across the nation. Despite having “every reason to be absolutely outraged,” the attendees exuded “this sense of hope and this sense of unity,” said Washington Stand reporter Sarah Holliday on “Washington Watch.” “In a sense, us being unified, I believe, brought joy, even though there’s so much to be sorrowful over right now.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins noted on Tuesday “the contrast between what took place today and two weeks ago, when … we saw the violence at the White House … and hateful chants. That wasn’t there today.”

On Wednesday, pro-Hamas protestors at the DNC complained that police overreacted to what was intended to be a peaceful protest. They claimed to be holding a “candlelight vigil,” with one candle for each of the 11,000 people who have died, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health authority, in the aftermath of Hamas’s terror attack on Israel (the statistic does not distinguish combatants from civilians).

“BREAKING: Police are being extremely violent outside @TheDemocrats headquarters,” tweeted INN. “We are linking arms, threatening no one, and begging our politicians to support an end to the killing and the suffering in Gaza. Begging, peacefully, for a ceasefire. And this is the response.”

But other accounts of the evening told a far different story. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) said protestors were “blocking all entries” to the building. “We were rescued by armed officers who did not know the protestors’ intent; they knew only that Members of Congress were inside, could not leave[,] and that protestors would not let police through.” Casten pointed out that the building was “protected by Capitol Police officers who have lived through January 6,” and that “forcing police to guess intent is irresponsible and dangerous.” Recall, too, that the protestors brought with them 11,000 candles.

To summarize the first moments of the confrontation, police officers responding to the scene saw a crowd of 150 protestors with open flames surrounding a building filled with prominent members of Congress. The protestors linked arms to block the entrances, not allowing the members of Congress to leave and not allowing the police through to protect them. Such intimidation tactics would only be considered “peaceful” if graded on the curve that considers actual arson to be “mostly peaceful.”

When the protestors refused to relocate, Capitol Police engaged in the exhausting, thankless task of prying them apart one by one, as video footage of the evening portrays. This inevitably turned into a mass wrestling match, and at some point police were forced to pepper spray some protestors.

Such “peaceful” incidents are intensely trying for police officers. Not only must they look out for their own safety and the protestors’ safety while doing their duty, but they never know whether anyone in the unruly crowd will try something foolish. Police officers must keep their heads while dozens of adversarial demonstrators shout and curse at them, while at the same time remaining on guard against anyone reaching for a weapon in their tactical belt or punching them.

“Tonight 6 officers were treated for injuries — ranging from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched,” reported Capitol Police. They arrested one person for assaulting a police officer.

Left-wing protestors may someday form the most violent group of pacifists ever assembled.

Capitol Police eventually pushed the protestors away from the DNC and established a protective perimeter. Protestors continued to shove into police officers and tried to grab hold of metal barricades erected by police. Protestors remained until sometime after 10 p.m., long after lawmakers had been evacuated.

For police, who have a legitimate monopoly on the use of force (hence the term “law en-force-ment officer”), laying hands on someone is relatively low on the scale of force escalation. For protestors, they crossed the line into unlawful behavior when they blockaded the entrances, then compounded that by disobeying police instructions and resisting their use of force — not to mention attacking an officer. Capitol Police could have arrested many of the participants had they wanted to.

“It is shameful the way that nonviolent protesters and members of our community were met with violence tonight,” said one demonstrator who traveled three hours from Philadelphia. The demonstrator added that police were “pulling on folks that are disabled or have chronic illnesses, pulling people to the ground.” (Besides the obvious victimhood points, is there any reason to mention people with chronic illnesses — most of which are non-obvious at a glance?)

No, it’s shameful how the demonstrators sided with a terrorist organization and implicitly endorsed genocide against the nation of Israel. It’s shameful that they planned to blockade and intimidate lawmakers. It’s shameful how the Left continues to employ these quasi-fascist street tactics and get away with it.

“Normal, rational people don’t … celebrate the atrocities carried out by Hamas terrorists,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued on “Washington Watch.” He sourced left-wing anti-Semitism to what he termed “cultural Marxism” — also called critical theory or wokeness — which “divides the world into oppressors and victims.”

When it comes to the war in Gaza, said Cruz, “to the extreme Left, they have defined Jews as the oppressors, and they have defined Palestinians as the victims. And, accordingly, the cultural Marxist supports the violent revolution of the so-called victims to overthrow the so-called oppressors. … To the cultural Marxist, everything is justified in the so-called victim overthrowing the so-called oppressor.”

“That is a worldview that is, quite frankly, totally incompatible with what has built America and what sustains this republic. The two just don’t work,” responded Perkins. Cruz agreed, “It is an assault on America’s free enterprise system. It is an assault on our Constitution. It is an assault on our Bill of Rights.”

Yet Cruz warned that “the radical Left has seized the institutions of our nation … from universities to K-12 education, to journalism, to government, to Big Business, to Big Tech, to entertainment, to science.” Marxism “has led to anarchy because it [has] torn down the very institutions that uphold civilized society,” said Perkins, “which leads then to more power in the hands of a few, which ultimately leads to tyranny. That’s the path that we’re on if we allow them to go unchecked.”

Fortunately, “the ideas of the radical Left are wildly unpopular,” said Cruz, but that “means they thrive on, number one, power and coercion and, number two, indoctrination.” The first was on display in the tactics employed on Wednesday, and the second was on display in the people implementing those tactics. “This is how the Left works. It wants disruption. It wants this anarchy, so that it can gain more power,” explained Perkins.

Countering Marxists’ aggressive campaign requires action. “This is unequivocally an assault on our nation that takes patriots,” said Cruz. “It takes Christians. It takes people who are not insane to rise up and stand against it, because the objective is to tear down our entire nation.”

“We cannot stand on the sidelines or be spectators in the stands,” insisted Perkins.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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