By Rachel Avraham
Op-Ed: Will Antifa-inspired Copycats Ever Undermine the Jewish State?
It was recently reported that a police officer was injured during anti-lockdown protests in Jerusalem. This came after anti-lockdown protesters in Bnei Brak almost lynched a bus driver and set his bus ablaze. They also attempted to storm the barricade blocking off the Prime Minister’s home. That came after another bus was pelted with stones, an act that forced the driver to flee and demonstrators set dumpsters ablaze in the city.
All this makes one ponder: will Antifa-inspired anarchist copycats ever attempt to take over the Jewish state, just like Antifa has risen to prominence in streets across the United States of America in its quest to destroy the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?
Apparently, after the Antifa storming of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, this scenario is not as farfetched as it used to be. Israel Hayom reported that the State of Israel recently held a threat assessment, where they examined the possibility of rioters attempting to storm the Knesset. Following what happened on Capitol Hill, they decided to beef up security ahead of the Israeli elections on March 23 and to change the protocol, so that the Knesset Guard can bring in additional security forces if needed.
Before the storming of Capitol Hill, the Israel Police did not have the jurisdiction to operate inside the Knesset, which is protected by the Knesset Guard. However, it was agreed that the Knesset Guard alone could not protect Israel’s Parliament from the type of Democrat-inspired mobs that the US Capitol building faced and would require outside assistance. So changes were made accordingly.
In an exclusive interview, Douglas Altabef, Chairman on the board of Im Tirtzu, noted that what happened with Antifa did not only affect the United States but the entire world. He noted that many of the anti-lockdown protesters in Israel are inspired by Antifa: “There is no question that some of the embedded protesters were either anarchists or far left agitators. We saw signs that said ‘Israel get out of the territories,’ ‘Israel is an apartheid state,’ etc. This has nothing to do with the corona[virus] and the Prime Minister.”
“They are using the protests to promote their own agenda,” he added. “We organized White Flag people to document this. (The protesters call themselves Black Flag). There is no doubt that Antifa played a role in inspiring these demonstrations. They are people inspired by Antifa and have a similar agenda. They are people without good intentions. They are anti-Israel. I would call them Antifa inspired anarchists. Antifa did not create these guys. They have been around for a while and they got no following among the public. We confront the same anarchists in Judea and Samaria. The IDs of the people are well known to us. These are the same people repeatedly.”
However, while the same radical leftist Antifa-inspired anarchists who create disturbances in Judea and Samaria may have infiltrated the Black Flag Movement and are the ones largely responsible for much violence, this does not mean that everyone attending anti-lockdown protests is an Antifa-inspired anarchist. For example, at the Black Flag protest at Habima Square recently, 2,000 Israelis attended and created plaques marking all of Israel’s corona fatalities. Different politicians including Telem leader Moshe Ya’alon attended that protest.
Can we truly consider Moshe Ya’alon an Antifa-inspired anarchist? Furthermore, can one argue that the Haredim who implemented violent attacks during the protests in B’nei Brak are inspired by Antifa, a group which has communist origins and is very anti-religious? Thus, one must conclude that only a certain segment of these protesters is inspired by Antifa. Yet they certainly do take advantage of the other demonstrators there and piggy-back off their efforts.
Interestingly, Antifa also piggy-backed off legitimate protests voicing their outrage over the killing of George Floyd. However, there is a reason why the protests were contained in Israel yet were not in the United States of America. Andy Ngo recently exposed in his book Unmasked: Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy that the police in Portland, Oregon was barred from using tear gas to disperse violent demonstrators that surrounded Portland’s courthouse. He also documented how Antifa created an autonomous zone in an entire neighborhood in Seattle, where the police were unable to protect property and deter violent crimes. Despite having been assaulted and repeatedly harassed by Antifa, he found the Democrat-intimidated American police unresponsive in helping him.
And then, to add insult to injury, there is now the whole leftist movement to defund the police in the United States. Ngo noted that in numerous areas where the police were defunded, crime skyrocketed. Furthermore, the movement to defund the police caused police officers to treat Antifa with kid gloves, fearing repercussions if they ever dared to do anything against them. This is how Antifa turned into the monster that it is today in the United States of America, with anticipation that it will only get worse with Biden in the White House, because too many Democrats are in denial about the threats posed by Antifa and some are even complicit with it.
“America is worth protecting and preserving for future generations,” Ngo wrote. “Tragically, I see that it is becoming taboo to be patriotic and grateful to one’s country. As the George Floyd inspired rioting broke out in Portland, I saw a mob of so-called racial justice activists beat a man peacefully carrying an American flag downtown. They punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him repeatedly in the head. He did not let go of that flag.
“Antifa seeks to destroy American philosophy and the literal state itself. They are finding some success. For those who are drawn to their (insecure) siren calls of anti-racism, anti-fascism, and equity, look at where their ideas have been put into practice. No one inherits a utopia or a civilization. They inherit ash, blood, and feces-stained rubble.“
Fortunately, what happened in the United States so far has not happened in Israel. Altabef explains why: “In the United States, the response to Antifa is a non-response. In Israel, it is an in-your-face response. As Israelis, we are less willing to tolerate the de-legitimization of our society. There would be zero tolerance for what happened in Portland happening here. I cannot imagine that happening here.”
Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, a former Likud Candidate for the Knesset and a former chief of staff of former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara. Since 2012, she has been working as an Israel-based journalist and writer, covering Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other developments in the greater Islamic world.
Her articles have appeared in the Washington Times, the Hill, Front Page Magazine, the Daily Wire, the Christian Post, the Baltimore Jewish Times, the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, Ahval and many other publications across the globe. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She got her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.