NICOLE RUSSELL: Why can't law enforcement stop anti-Israel protests from getting out of hand?

The right to protest is an unusual one, but in the U.S. it is indelible. Restrictions and boundaries apply to this right but it stems directly from the First Amendment, and the “right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” That said, some protests go too far, and the Anti-Israel protests — the ones that have occurred recently on busy New York streets and surrounding the White House — are an example of this. Local governments must crack down and receive backup support from the Biden Administration to do so.

At the White House Saturday night, anti-Israel protesters surrounded the area and tried to climb the heavily-guarded security fence. The demonstrators chanted “Ceasefire Now” and “Free, Free Palestine,” while waving Palestinian flags. They also shouted, “Yemen, Yemen make us proud / Turn another ship around.” The mob also shouted “**** Joe Biden.”

They weren’t just loud. The protesters shook a portion of the fence so hard that part of it became loose. Members of the Secret Service had to intervene to keep the protesters from invading White House property. News reports say some protestors “hurled water bottles and the sticks broken off their Palestinian flags at the officers, while others tried to climb the fence.”

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela A. Smith did blast the behavior in a press release. “The right to peacefully protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and the Metropolitan Police Department has long supported those who visit our city to demonstrate safely,” Smith's statement read. “However, violence, destructive behavior, and criminal activities are not tolerated.".

Despite this unruly demonstration, so far no arrests have been made. There has been no outcry among leaders of the Democrat party. No condemnation from President Biden himself. This is despicable and shows that lawlessness a stone’s throw from the White House in the name of a political demonstration will be allowed.

Protests are common in that area and should be allowed — to an extent. A mob of angry protesters, whatever their ethnicity or reason, should not be allowed to nearly tear down the security mechanisms that keep the Office of the President safe. Failing to arrest members of the mob or provide other consequences could encourage like-minded protesters to continue to carry out similar demonstrations, at some point with real property damage, violence, or even loss of life.

Anti-Israel protesters did the same thing on the streets of New York City about a week ago, blocking traffic and sealing off entrances to key areas, such as the Holland Tunnel, and the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges. However, in this case, many of the protesters, holding banners that read “ceasefire now,” were arrested. The New York Police Department said about 300 people were arrested for blocking vital roadways.

So what’s the purpose behind failing to clamp down on demonstrations becoming violent near the White House? What if it were a different group of people protesting something else? Some theorize that these types of mobs are the very people who would be voting for Democrats and thus why they’re allowed to wreak havoc. It’s the price of their vote. But that seems like a hefty price to pay and a huge risk. There’s simply no logical reason to allow this to occur without consequences.

This isn’t entirely to blame on the Biden Administration of course. Much of what the protestors are doing continues because local law enforcement doesn’t quell the tide of uprisers. Do the Metropolitan Police feel that they wouldn’t receive support from their administration? State, local and federal officials — including the Biden Administration — should signal their unwavering support for members of local law enforcement who crack down on protestors who are systematically blocking traffic, ruining property, or becoming violent near secure locations like the White House.
 

Image: Title: nyc met police
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