Opinion: This is America not the Middle East
Pro-Palestinian protests in the United States calling for an Israel-Hamas ceasefire have turned increasingly volatile.
Over Veterans Day weekend 2023, thousands of pro- Palestine protesters marched in the streets of New York protesting Israel's ongoing military campaign in Gaza, and, the United States support for Israel.
A widely shared video on social media depicts protesters kicking doors at Grand Central Station.
Another video shows the American flag being taken down and replaced with the flag of Palestine. The video shows a protester climbing up a street post and tearing down several flags, including the American flag and the United Nations flag. The crowd cheers as the protester tears down the flags.
Pro-Palestine protestors also rallied at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home on Saturday. Biden initially voiced full support for an Israel counter-offensive, but in recent weeks also expressed need for a pause.
Israel has agreed to daily four-hour pauses of military operations in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid and to let civilians flee. Netanyahu has said there will be no cese fire until all hostages being held by Hamas are released.
Freedom of expression, association and assembly accross the Middle East:
Authorities across the Middle East arbitrarily arrest, detain, prosecute and harass people for expressing critical views, participating in peaceful protests, and engaging in human rights work or political activism. The United Arab Emirates criminalizes “anyone who mocks, insults, or damages the reputation, prestige or standing of the state” or “its founding leaders”- (Source-Amnesty International)
Opinion: These instances over the weekend have sparked outrage among some Americans who view these acts as disrespectful to the United States.
This is America not the Middle East. Activists and immigrants have a right to protest the war in Israel and express their solidarity with either side. However this should be done within full bounds of the law and with respect for this country.