What’s in a flag (burning)?

CoQI3w9WcAA_5pG-640x480By now, most of us have seen the pictures of the Palestinian flags prominently being waved and cheered at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, as well as the burning of the Israeli flag by demonstrators outside. It is a sign of the waning support for Israel in the Democratic Party in general, and the anemic reaction of Jewish Democrats in particular. There has been a surprising lack of response from the organized Jewish community, and Jewish Democrats have been either dismissive or ignore these phenomena altogether.

Some claim that the large Palestinian flags are simply support for an oppressed people and that this is a human rights issue that the Democratic Party would naturally support. Let’s take a closer look at that outlook. Currently there are thousands of people in jails in Turkey who are being held in terrible conditions for merely being suspected of being involved in the recent failed coup. Simple common sense tells us that if the attempted coup was kept secret until its execution, it is not logical that tens of thousands of people were involved in its planning and execution, and that it was orchestrated by a relatively few number of people. In short, these are political prisoners being stripped of their basic human rights. There didn’t seem to be any concern or identification with these oppressed people, nor with Tibetans, Christians in the Middle East, Kurds, Yazidis, North Koreans or anyone other than Palestinians.

So, the only foreign flag seen in the large crowd was a Palestinian flag. That would mean that the Democrats really identify with the Palestinian values and vice versa, right? And the flag that was burned, albeit outside by protesters, but these are protesters who are trying to move the Democratic party towards their belief system, was an Israeli flag. Let’s see how close the Palestinians and the Democratic Party are on some of the major issues and ideology to see if this enthusiastic flag unfurling and waving is logical.

The Democrats believe in, well…democracy. How about the Palestinians? Gaza has been taken over by the Hamas after they won an election there in 2006 and then took over completely by force in 2007. Abbas won an election in 2005 and has controlled the PA areas in Judea and Samaria (The West Bank, The PA), and no elections have taken place in any sovereign Palestinian areas for over ten years. In short, this flag does not represent Democracy, in the sense that it is an entity that does not hold elections. This has nothing to do with Israel or any control that Israel has in these areas. It is an internal Palestinian issue and there is not enough will from the people to make a change in this area.

The Democrats are for minority rights in general and gay rights in particular. How do the Palestinians fare here? Unfortunately, the situation is abysmal. Gays are ostracized at best, and jailed, tortured or even killed, at worst. Thousands of Gays from the Palestinian controlled areas flee to Israel (yes, you are reading this correctly) for safety and some apply for and receive asylum. Obviously, Israel needs to be careful about who it gives citizenship to, as this can be used as a ruse to infiltrate the country. The Democrats and the ultra liberals among them, seem to become very upset when a pizzeria refuses to cater to hypothetical Gay weddings, but torture, killing and abuse by Palestinians is a non issue altogether.

Christians are also a minority in the Palestinian controlled territories. They also face abuse and threats, and many are quietly emigrating as they see no future under a totalitarian rule. So, what is Israel’s grade on minority rights? There are laws passed by the Knesset that protect gay rights. More specifically, it is illegal to discriminate at work based on sexual preference. Gays that marry outside of Israel are recognized and can be registered by the Interior Ministry. The Christian community is free and growing (the only one growing in the entire Middle East). There are many laws on the books to protect all sorts of minorities in Israel. Like any country, there are individual and even groups of bigots, but the law protects minorities, and society in general is open to ‘the other’ and people who are different.

There is also the issue of terror. The Palestinian Authority, represented by this flag, supports and encourages terror. There is incitement against Jews and Israelis on the Palestinian state sponsored television. Furthermore, people who have committed heinous terrorist acts are honored and they and their families are supported financially by the PA for their terrorist acts.

So, why are these people waving a flag that seemingly is antithetical to the core beliefs of the Democratic Party? Why are they being cheered on by the attendees? I would venture to argue that this is an exercise in trying to move the Democratic Party away from its support of Israel. The flag is more of a protest against Israel than any real support for the Palestinian people. If these people supported the people they claim to support, they would be fighting for free elections for them, which is a clear democratic principle. They would be just as, if not more, upset and motivated when Palestinians are butchered by Assad in Syria, or exiled by Kuwait, than when Israel announces building homes in disputed territories.

These flag wavers are against support for the only vibrant democracy in the Middle East, where Muslims, Jews, Christians, Druze and Baha’i are all protected by the law. They are also against a ‘two state solution’, which has been offered to the Palestinians on numerous occasions only to be rejected by these same Palestinians. In short, they are for a Palestinian state instead of Israel, and not living side by side with Israel. Apparently stickers for peace and a two state solution were not so popular at the DNC, indicating that the real goal of this group is the end of Israel as a country.

In short, the one foreign flag that was waved and cheered at the DNC convention represents intolerance, a form of Apartheid (no Jews allowed in a future Palestinian state), anti minority rights, anti Gay rights and the encouragement and support of terror.  They support an entity that incites against Jews, Israelis and other minorities. On the flip side, some of these supporters openly denounce the country that protects and accepts minorities, has an open and rather large gay scene, and denounces terror and incitement.

This begs the questions:

Why are they doing this and what is their motivation?

Where is the pro-Israel voice and what are US Jews doing to combat this phenomenon?

What is the DNC leadership doing in regard to this undemocratic development?

And finally, where are all of the Democrats who vehemently oppose Trump, and more specifically, the racist and hateful Trump supporters, when this hate-fest is occurring in their court? Where is the outrage?

About the Author
David Zeldin holds a BA in Jewish History from the Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as an MBA from Tel Aviv University. He works in exporting Israeli Hi-Tech and has held various sales and marketing positions over the past 30 years. He also has experience in informal Jewish education.
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