Salvo 11.03.2023 5 minutes

From the Bay to the Sea

Pro-Palestinian Protest In San Francisco

Will San Franciscans ever protest the disaster that is its civic life?

San Francisco recently outdid itself. Ten thousand people marched down Market Street, the once busy commercial artery, carrying Palestinian flags, chanting “Free Palestine, stop the genocide.” Their banners read “When people are colonized resistance is justified,” and “Zionism is fascism.” Activists spray-painted “death 2 Israel” on the side of a building.

These 10,000 souls gathered in San Francisco after the Palestinian terror organization Hamas raided the the Jewish state, slaughtering 1,300 people and taking hundreds of hostages. Thirty of the murdered and 13 of the captives were Americans. The rally was part of the “day of rage” held by Hamas to oppose the ensuing campaign to eradicate the terrorist organization.

The signage carried by the protesters was confusing. “Free Palestine” is a dubious slogan because Gaza has been self-ruled after Israeli disengagement in 2005. As for the “genocide,” Arabs west of River Jordan have been enjoying healthy population growth since the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in 1948. Moreover, Zionism is the age-old yearning of the Jewish homeland in the Holy Land. To call it “fascism” is to use the ugly slur against the very people who suffered most under Nazi rule.

Saying things like “When people are colonized resistance is justified” amounts to approving of any terrorist action, so the event was effectively pro-Hamas. In this case, “resistance” means paragliding into a music party and murdering 250 attending pacifists. And, as a bonus, taking hostage an elderly pro-Palestinian activist. To describe the rally as “pro-Palestine” is to obscure its savage nature.

I make no secret of being a Zionist, so naturally I was unnerved by the pro-terror march. But regardless of where they stand on the conflicts in the Middle East, my Bay Area neighbors should be deeply concerned by what this demonstration revealed about all of us. It’s not that Zionism is out of vogue here; civilization itself is considered irrelevant.

San Francisco is deeply dysfunctional. For a decade now, Golden Gate City has been notorious for its open-air opiate markets. Drug users from around the country flock here because the local political establishment made it easy for addicts to maintain their lifestyle. At the same time, the illegal immigrant drug dealers find comfort in the sanctuary state of California. Many users live on the streets, crowding out the “normies.” Bay Area Rapid Transit, the main public transportation company, is now filled with individuals displaying various degrees of intoxication and derangement. Because of lax attitudes toward property crime, criminals “bip” into parked cars and casually strip stores clean of merchandise.

Who protests the ills of San Francisco? A group called Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths, led by women whose kids fell prey to the local fentanyl culture, holds yearly rallies on Fentanyl Awareness Day. Those are typically attended by tens—nay, dozens—of activists.

It’s not merely a matter of who turns up for a street protest. There is no silent majority of voters whose primary focus is on the issues of the city and the region. Turnout is sky high during presidential elections—in November 2016, 80.7 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. In 2020, the number grew to the unbelievable 86.3 percent. Yet Joe Biden won California by a massive margin, as everyone knew he would.

Compare it to the recall election of the former District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Boudin was one of the key figures responsible for the disruption of orderly life in the city. As a DA, he was responsible for decarceration, including the release of repeat offenders, refused to prosecute hate crimes, and spoke of drug dealers as “children.” Only 46.4 percent of registered voters turned out in the recall contest—a high number for a special election, to be sure, but considering the deplorable condition of the once lovely town, it highlights a general lack of interest in what happens in our own backyards.

“Think globally, act locally” is a Boomer cliché by which the Bay Area lives and dies. People around here like to dwell on universal themes—global warming, trans rights, decolonization. If a junkie dies on their doorstep, on the other hand, it’s a bummer.

To be fair, they have plans for the junkies, too. The war on drugs is evil and racist, just like the fictive genocide Israel is perpetrating against Palestinians, so under the social justice regime fantasy, all drugs would be obtainable on demand. The drugs would be lab-manufactured and of consistent quality, so no one would accidentally take too much and die. Overdose prevention experts could be on hand in the well-maintained social housing buildings that all residents would be entitled to by right. All of this will be easy to achieve, if only the rich are made to “pay their fair share.”

It’s not that we shouldn’t think about global problems, but a better universalist approach begins at the front door, with things that we can observe and understand. Think not of utopian outcomes framed in cliches, but tangible issues here and now and how to fix them. If the homeless are dying of drug addiction, perhaps the right solution to the problem does not lie in some drug legalization framework that, we are being promised, worked in Portugal or some other exotic location, but in cutting off the supply of drugs. Similarly, if a baby and a Holocaust survivor are abducted and held hostage by a terrorist group, common sense dictates that the root cause of the crime is not “occupation,” but barbarism.

In both cases, our duty is to defend civilization from savagery and fanaticism. To ensure a normal flow of life and flourishing of culture. It’s a shame that far more people turn up in San Francisco in defense of Hamas than to demand a just life for their own families.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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