The initial rallies we saw after the Hamas terror attacks on Israel were generally peaceful events where people showed support for our ally. That changed quickly, however, and we saw increasing numbers of large, hate-filled rallies demanding a ceasefire or, more recently, the total destruction of Israel. So it was probably inevitable that there were going to be dueling rallies colliding with each other and that’s what happened in Skokie, Illinois this weekend, just north of Chicago. The event in support of Israel was held inside a public community center, but a gathering of Hamas supporters arrived outside looking to confront them. Things went downhill quickly from there. (CBS News Chicago)
There were dueling rallies in Skokie Sunday, with one showing solidarity with Israel and another protesting the country’s actions in Gaza.
The event in support of Israel, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, took place inside Ateres Ayala while a pro-Palestinian rally took place outside. Lincolnwood Police say about 200 people showed up to the outdoor event.
They say the ultimate goal of the pro-Israel event is to encourage a peaceful coexistence when it comes to multiple faith-based groups.
“As people of faith, we all preach a message, and hopefully we preach a message of peace, and we need to encourage peaceful coexistence regardless of what our religious background is,” said Justin Kron with Hope In The Holy Lands.
You could tell the direction the confrontation would be taking by the speeches that were given and the comments offered to reporters. One of the organizers of the rally supporting Israel, Justin Kron, delivered a message of peace and the hope for coexistence without violence, though he did not appear to be demanding a ceasefire. He spoke of America as a land with a plurality of religions that should be “united together.”
The Hamas supporters were having none of it. Harem Abudayyeh, national chair of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, spoke to reporters saying they had come there specifically “in response to the rally in there.” (Meaning the pro-Israel rally inside the community center.) He called the people inside “Zionists” an said, “If you’re doing a rally in support of Israel, essentially you’re doing a rally in support of war crimes, in support of genocide, in support of the killing of Palestinian people.”
Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured, but multiple people from the Hamas rally “confronted” someone coming out of the community center to the point where they pulled out a firearm and discharged it into the air to disperse them. The shooter was arrested, but not the pro-Palestinian protesters. In another incident, a police officer and two demonstrators were injured and hit with pepper spray by the other group.
It’s fortunate that the police arrived quickly and these crowds weren’t as large as some of the ones we’re seeing in bigger cities. But you can see where this is heading. I’m praying I’m wrong, but sooner or later somebody is going to get killed in one of these confrontations. And that would be tragically ironic since both sides claim to be demonstrating in an effort to “end the killing” in Israel and Palestine. But if we’re evaluating the parties in dispute fairly, we should immediately ask one obvious question. One of these groups is supporting the people who were brutally attacked, murdered, raped, and kidnapped on October 7. The other groups is supporting the murderers. Who do you really believe is protesting on the side of peace?