August 24, 2014 “Free Palestine” in Williamsburg
his picture, of a plaque on Hewes Street in Williamsburg that not only protests the state of Israel but reads “Free Palestine,” made its rounds on the Hasidic Whatsapp. The reason this was newsworthy even to Hasidim is that while anti-zionist Israel may be the attitude amongst many sects, the general sympathies among Hasidim are still not pro-Palestine, especially because many Hasidim live in Israel or American Hasidim have relatives in Israel. The loyalty among many Hasidim I know is to a diaspora type of Israel, but not subservient to Palestine or sympathies to Palestinians.
A few individuals are the exception, and in being the exception, they are marginal figures. They not only protest the State of Israel but also loudly support Palestine, and try to even make connections with Palestinians (ie Neturei Karta’s open relationship with Yassir Arafat). They make so much noise that they skew the public perception and make the impression that all anti-zionist Hasidim are pro-Palestine. In reality, these men who make up this pro-Palestine Hasidic faction are a select few, and their voice is not encouraged by the community, as can be seen from the second picture below, taken a few days later, when this pro-Palestine plague was already removed and a small Star of David with a cross over it was inside the window instead.
The people who put up this sign don’t advertise an official affiliation with Hasidism or any sect. On their website, www.dropisrael.org there are many biblical quotes, pictures of the few individuals at protests, and even keychains with pictures of a little Hasidic boy with a Palestinian child that can be bought for $0.00 but while it can be bought, it is also marked “coming soon.”