By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

In New Haven, a pro-Palestinian protester targets a symbol of Judaism

The New Haven Independent reports that during a large demonstration on Saturday, a pro-Palestinian protester climbed a giant menorah on New Haven Green and inserted a Palestinian flag between the candle-holders — an act of pure, unadulterated antisemitism. Fortunately, reporter Jake Dressler writes, other protesters “pleaded with him to take down the flag” and that “the flag was taken down immediately by other protesters.”

Paul Bass, executive director of the Online Journalism Project (which makes him essentially the publisher of the nonprofit Independent), wrote on Threads: “If this incident blows up, I think one question will be how this relates to the discussion of when/ whether/ how to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism.” Indeed, the protester took the notion that criticism of Israel isn’t antisemitism and turned it on its head.

The Independent is one of the projects that Ellen Clegg and I write about in our forthcoming book, “What Works in Community News.”

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  1. Not only that, but from the footage I saw, one the protesters who tried to take down the flag said something to the effect that, “This will us look bad.”

  2. Steve Schnapp

    Interesting to me how this news is framed. The Independent’s headline said “Hundreds Rally Downtown For Palestine; Menorah Climbing Denounced As Antisemitic”. They could have said “Hundreds Rally Downtown For Palestine; Protesters Remove Palestinian Flag from Menorah.” Both heads are accurate but tell very different stories.

    • That second headline would beg the question “what was a Palestinian flag doing on a menorah?” which is the real story here.

      • Steve Schnapp

        Neither head tells the full story. That’s in the body. The first head makes the actions of one protester a frame for the story. The second head makes the responses by many protesters a frame for the story. The editors made a choice.

  3. Judy Kaplan

    Great comments, Steve Schnapp. I don’t think that placing a Palestinian flag on a menorah is inherently antisemitic. I’m Jewish, and I don’t see it that way. In the current situation, it was a political statement–and may even have been meant as an affirmation of our shared humanity.

  4. Adam Smith

    It is interesting that the part about protesters getting hit by some person throwing eggs at them was at the end of the story. I nearly missed that when I first read the story. Why was that not important to mention further up in the story? Also, I wish there was some attempt to interview the person with the flag. Who was this person and what was his or her part in the actual protest, if any? I am growing uneasy that people are assuming who is behind these types of acts, and others like graffiti or planes toting banners. (

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