Approximately a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters held up flags and used drums, megaphones and other loud instruments to protest against the state of Israel outside a celebration of Jerusalem Day in Sacramento’s Raley Field. A similar celebration in Los Angeles proceeded peacefully and without disruption.
“We think that there is no reason to celebrate Israel right now,” anti-Israel protester and Sacramento Regional Commission for Palestinian Rights Maggie Coulter told local Fox News affiliate in the region Fox 40. “We are also upset that what you’ve got going on right now is a conflation of a religion with a governmental entity,” she said.
Pro-Palestinian activists insist that their disdain for the State of Israel is not steeped in antisemitism.
The Jewish Federation of Sacramento (JFS) organized and put on the event, which about 1,000 people attended. The “Star-Spangled Banner” was sung before a rendition of “Hatikva” (Israel’s national anthem) was played. JFS President Barry Broad told Fox 40 that he and other Jews just ignore the protesters, suggesting that the Jewish people are used to the hatred and vitriol thrown at them. “In every generation there are people that hate us and, you know, that’s just the way it goes,” Broad said.
Attendee Laura Chain was unaffected. “I really enjoy being Jewish and I think it’s really awesome to be experiencing this,” she said.
A Jerusalem Day march and festival also took place in Los Angeles on Sunday. Naty Saidoff was behind the decision to move the event to Rancho Park four years ago, where it has taken place ever since. Nearly 1,000 people attended an uninterrupted walk the park, before the gates opened to a slew of festivities inside. The park was decorated to mimic an Israeli market–featuring everything from fruit and vegetable stands to semi-precious jewelry and clothing stands. Watermelons, cactus fruit (opuntia), falafels and hummus were also served, along with live entertainment for the slew of families celebrating the day.
Several information booths also provided information for curious minds about the Israeli Defense Forces and various youth leadership programs in Israel and the United States.
When asked to comment on the anti-Israel protests that have taken place elsewhere throughout the Golden State, he said “It’s interesting. They have not shown up yet.” He said that he believes as the festival becomes more popular, pro-Palestinian protesters will show up. “So maybe it’s an insult to us that they haven’t shown up yet,” he joked.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz