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Biden calls protest against occupied land sale ‘anti-Semitic’

A protest by pro-Palestine activists turned violent after it was attacked by Israel supporters. The demonstration took place at the Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles, USA, because it was holding an event where activists believed stolen and occupied Palestinian land was being auctioned-off. Joe Biden called the protest at the synagogue 'anti-Semitic' and against 'American values'.

June 25, 2024 at 2:48 pm

US President Joe Biden has been criticised for calling a protest against a synagogue event selling Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank “anti-Semitic”. The controversy erupted after pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered outside the Adas Torah Synagogue in Los Angeles.

The protest, which began peacefully, soon escalated as counter-protestors arrived to show support for Israel. Local media reports and social media footage depicted heated verbal exchanges developing rapidly into physical altercations, including shoving, kicking and punching. The Los Angeles Police Department, with some officers in riot gear, eventually intervened to restore order.

Biden, along with local officials, took to social media to condemn the protest. “I’m appalled by the scenes outside of Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles,” he wrote on X. “Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic [sic], and un-American. Americans have a right to peaceful protest. But blocking access to a house of worship – and engaging in violence – is never acceptable.”

However, many observers have challenged this description of the protest, accusing Biden of misrepresenting the situation and overlooking the illegal nature of the land sale being promoted inside the synagogue. Critics pointed out that the event was organised by “My Home in Israel”, a company facilitating sales in West Bank settlements deemed illegal under international law, as well as in Israeli-occupied and illegally-annexed East Jerusalem.

READ: Protesters boycott meeting to sell Palestinian land to Jews in the US

Social media users were quick to correct Biden’s statement. They highlighted the crucial context he had omitted and many pointed out that the real issue at hand was the sale of real estate on stolen Palestinian land, which was occurring within the synagogue at the time of the protest. Not only should such stolen land not be sold at all, it was said, but also using a place of worship as a venue for these transactions was particularly outrageous.

Numerous commentators sought to set the record straight, raising questions about the ethical implications of such property transactions, as well as the appropriateness of Biden’s response to the protest.

“They were selling ethnically cleansed land you [f*****g] ghoul. This is your America: one built on hatred and racism and division because all the US knows how to do is murder and exploit people,” wrote one enraged X user.

Another user criticised Biden’s apparent tacit support for the land sale: “Thank you for your ‘AIPAC approved’ post, and your implicit support for auctioning stolen land, while providing tacit support for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

Further complicating the situation, footage emerged of counter-protestors brandishing flags of the Jewish Defence League (JDL), a group classified as a “right-wing terrorist group” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 2001 and designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

The incident has sparked a heated debate about the crackdown on free-speech in the US and Biden’s complicity in the Gaza genocide and apparent willingness to provide cover for illegal Palestinian land purchases by American Zionists. Biden’s statement not only mischaracterised the protestors’ intentions but also served to obscure the issue of illegal land sales in occupied territories.

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