Anti-Israel rally creates scary environment

Several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli consulate in San Francisco on July 7, waving flags and chanting anti-Israel rhetoric in response to developments in the Middle East.

Demonstrators across the street from Israeli consulate in San Francisco photo/abra cohen

The protesters occupied sidewalks on both sides of Montgomery Street; across from the consulate, a small group of Israel supporters stood in a barricaded area flanked by pro-Palestinian demonstrators on either side, including one side with no buffer zone.

There were more than 350 pro-Palestinian demonstrators compared to 30 in the pro-Israel section, according to police on the scene.

“It was a very threatening and a very scary environment,” said Sam Levine, executive director of the Western region of the Zionist Organization of America. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it, where the other side was shouting expletives in our faces.”

Many pro-Palestinian demonstrators showed up well before the rally was due to begin at 5 p.m., according to police. Only after they began spilling across the street, where the pro-Israel people were located, were barricades put up, Levine said.

About 30 officers were on the scene. No arrests were made and no one was injured.

Using a microphone and a large speaker, the pro-Palestinian side chanted slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” “Who did you kill today, Israel?” and “Long live the intifada.”

“We were very outnumbered,” said Faith Meltzer, who helped organize the counter-protest for StandWithUs/S.F. Voice for Israel. “The people on the other side were coming over and trying to provoke us, taunting us and even made attempts at physical violence.”

Abra Cohen