.Pro-Israeli Demonstrators Rally On West Cliff

The march called for the release of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas

Around 50 pro-Israel demonstrators marched on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz this past Friday in a call to free hostages held by Hamas and show support for Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza. The protest was held the same day that Israel and Hamas agreed to a hostage and prisoner swap that returned 24 hostages to Israel for 39 Palestinian prisoners. 

According to the BBC, among the returned hostages were the Israelis Margalit Mozes, 78, who was abducted from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz and Doron Katz Asher, 34, who was abducted along with her two daughters Raz, 4, and Aviv, 2. Ten Thai nationals were also released.

Demonstrators gathered on the lawn at 2pm at Lighthouse Point as they waved Israeli and U.S. flags. Some carried posters with the names and photos of hostages taken by Hamas militants during the attack on Israeli settlements near the Gaza border on Oct. 7.

An estimated 1,400 people were killed by Hamas that day, according to the Israeli government, in what it called the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. In response, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) unleashed an unprecedented bombing campaign against the Gaza strip that has killed more than 14,000 people, according to Gazan officials, as reported by the New York Times. Ten thousand of the deaths have been women and children.

Now, almost two months into the conflict, a four-day ceasefire has been agreed to by Hamas and Israel in order to swap prisoners and hostages and for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. Demonstrators on Friday were there to demand all hostages held by Hamas be returned immediately.

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In the wake of pro-Palestinian protests erupting across the nation and internationally, pro-Israeli groups are concerned with what they characterize as antisemitic chants, such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, the chant is an antisemitic slogan calling for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews.

Earlier this month, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib was censured in Congress for using the slogan. Tlaib is Palestinian-American and has shown support for the people of Gaza.

On this sunny day after Thanksgiving, West Cliff teemed with tourists as craft market booths dotted the parking lots. Demonstrators departed the lawn area and proceeded towards the surfer statue in a peaceful march that looped back around towards Natural Bridges. A few passing cars honked in solidarity.

When asked what his thoughts were on the march, an onlooker did not have a strong opinion either way.

“It’s a free country,” he said.

An earlier version of this article contained quotes from pro-Israel demonstrators that community members on both sides of the issue, including one of the individuals who was quoted, have asked to be removed.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This article is extremely islamophobic and riddled with factual inaccuracies. I am a person of Jewish decent and I find the opinions expressed in this article to be absolutely reprehensible.

    I never thought goodtimes would publish something this disgusting and biased. 20,000 innocent Palestinians in Gaza have been murdered since October 7th.

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  2. Why is the Good Times publishing hate speech? How is it ok to publish someone saying “Islam believes in killing”?

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    • The Koran clearly teaches that Jews are cursed by Allah and Islamic groups from Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood and Al Queda to Hamas draw upon teachings in the Koran and associated commentaries to justify terrorist murder. Read the Hamas Covenant to understand the underpinnings of jihad.

      The following are two examples of holy texts that draw upon the teachings of Mohammed and are direct, unedited quotes from the Islam Q&A Encyclopedia:

      Al-Bukhari (3593) and Muslim (2921) narrated from the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “The Jews will fight you and you will prevail over them, then a rock will say: ‘O Muslim, here is a Jew behind me; kill him.’”

      In Saheeh Muslim (2922), it is narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them, until a Jew hides behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: O Muslim, O slave of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

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  3. For God’s sake, create an independent homeland for the Palestinians already! And one for our Native Americans, the Kurds, the Uyghurs, and every other people who crave their own land. Seriously, will we ever have a just world for oppressed minorities?

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