- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2023

North Andover officials in Massachusetts just to allow the red, black, white and green flag of the Palestinian people to be flown on Town Common property, in large part due to pressures from residents who pointed to the Israeli flag that’s hung on the pole since Oct. 7 and said fair’s fair — what’s good for the Jewish state is good for the Palestinian state.

Only thing is: America doesn’t recognize Palestine as a state. So why allow the flying of a flag that represents, of late, especially, hatred for the Jewish people?

The request for the flying of the flag of the Palestinian Liberation Organization came by way of a college student, Selma Khayal. Khayal’s sister, Jenna, in the New York Post that “this is a time of grief and solidarity with the Palestinian people, and it’s taking back the narrative because this flag represents its people, it represents a culture. It is not a terrorist flag and we will not let it be misconstrued that way.”

Too late.

Ignorant college students at key campuses around the nation have already been busily the Palestinian flag in recent weeks, all while “from the river to the sea” and chasing Jewish students into school libraries and away from kosher dining halls and such. If the flag is not a symbol of hate, it’s at the least cornering the market of symbols of antisemitism.

Just check out the videos of those at Tufts, those at Harvard, those at Cornell, those at Columbia, those at Brandeis — and more — in their “justice for Palestine” protests and take note of which flag is flying. It ain’t Israel’s. It’s not even America’s.

The vote to fly the Palestinian flag came just a few hours before the town was due to update its flagpole policy to remove its use as a public forum and instead limit it to fly flags of “statements of governmental speech only.” And Khayal cleverly filed her petition before the updates were passed.

But still.

Equating the flying of the Palestinian flag with the flying of the Israeli flag is akin to claiming Hamas terrorists have as much right to receive sympathy from the public as the innocent Jews who were slaughtered, wounded, tortured and abducted on Israel’s own Sept. 11 horror. It’s akin to saying the Palestinian people in Gaza — some of whom voted for Hamas in 2006, some of whom support other groups with missions to eradicate the Jewish state and people — are as peaceful and peace-seeking as the Israeli people. It’s akin to saying that Israel has had its revenge on the poor Palestinians in Gaza, and that it’s time to cease fire and lay down arms and forgive and forget the Hamas day of terror. It’s akin to drawing moral equivalencies between antisemitics and the victims of antisemitism.

And what’s utterly nonsensical is that America doesn’t even recognize Palestine as a state. Whereas the Israeli flag stands for a people and a nation, the Palestinian flag — to America, to the United States government — does not.

“The United States released its 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” TBS News in March, “cover[ing] 198 countries and territories, providing factual, objective information based on credible reports of the events that occurred throughout 2022. But it doesn’t include Palestine as the US doesn’t recognize it as a state. Instead, the report has a section on ‘Israel, West Bank and Gaza.’”

That’s because America is allied with Israel and has a more nuanced approach to the Palestinian people, which includes a reluctance to embrace the often antisemitic views of many of the groups the Palestinians support and elect. 

“The US … has been reluctant to recognize a Palestinian state until there is a unified Palestinian government,” TBS News . “There are ongoing disputes within the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian Territories are currently divided between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank.”

Moreover, only 138 of the 193 members of the United Nations Palestine as a state. That’s due to the ongoing battle of what and where is Palestine. The PLO declared Palestine in 1988 and claimed its lands as Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But declaring it don’t make it so. Much of the Palestinian desire — Muslim desire — to eradicate Jews comes from their insistence that Israel is an occupier and therefore, the Jewish people have stolen land.

History — truthful history — shows otherwise.

But those screaming “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” aren’t so much enamored with truth as with hate and antisemitism.

And now North Andover will be the flag that represents these antisemitic sentiments until Dec. 7.

It seems the town officials could have fought a little harder to resist the flying of this Palestinian flag, at the least by arguing the differences in this nation’s classification of the state of Israel versus “Palestine.” 

What would they have said if residents wanted to fly a Donald Trump 2024 banner before the flag policy was changed?

Likely, the town would have opened itself up to a lawsuit for refusing to fly the Palestinian flag. But so what. Some things are worth fighting. Symbols of antisemitism and the eradication of the Jewish people should seem to fall under that category.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter and podcast by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Lockdown: The Socialist Plan To Take Away Your Freedom,” is available by ǰǰ

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