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The Rise of the Protester-Terrorist

Anti-Israel protesters demonstrate in front of Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, New Jersey, US, on March 10, 2024. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

JNS.orgFor Jews the world over, the past eight months have been little more than a series of catastrophes. Contrary to their expectations, American Jews have proved to be no exception. They have discovered that no Jewish community is ever immune to history.

American Jews are reeling from this terrible realization. To an extent, so are all Americans, and with good reason. After all, what has emerged since the Oct. 7 massacre has been rather remarkable: A self-declared “antiracist” movement that embraces antisemitism. An unholy alliance between a totalitarian theocratic movement and ostensibly secular progressives. Imperious institutions of higher education that happily tolerate the most brazen violations of their own codes of conduct. Politicians who preach morality while calling for genocide.

Above all, the first antisemitic mass movement in American history has arisen. There have been antisemitic movements in America before, of course. But never have they been this large, politically influential, violent and explicitly opposed to the fundamental principles of their own society.

Certainly, many of those participating in this movement are simply ignorant conformists riding a wave of protest and outrage. They likely have little idea of what all the fuss is about, but they enjoy the opportunity to vent their inchoate anger. Moreover, thanks to a collaborationist media, there is a terrible glamour to self-righteous mayhem. It is trendy to hate Israel and the Jews, and, sadly, America is a society of trends.

The movement is being led, however, by a remarkable character: the protester-terrorist.

The protester-terrorist is not an entirely new phenomenon. Contrary to the claims of most historians, American protest movements have always had a violent side. The riot, large or small, has been a constant throughout American history. In a nation founded in a violent revolution, it could hardly be otherwise.

The protester-terrorist is quite different from other protesters. Unlike the passive resistor or even the rioter, the protester-terrorist does not take to the streets in order to confront oppressive authority or engage in random acts of violence. Instead, under the guise of activism, the protester-terrorist pursues the work of terrorism in another register. He does not set off bombs in buses or slaughter women and children. But his strategy is the same: to use the public display of horrific acts to intimidate others into silence and surrender.

This tactic of the “propaganda of the deed” is not new either. But today’s iteration is unlike its predecessors in two ways: its nihilism and its institutionalization.

Regarding the former, rarely have we seen an ostensible protest movement so brazenly hurl all morality to the winds. Today’s protester-terrorists are not simply immoral; they are anti-moral. Their ethos is a total inversion of ethics. To them—and we know this because they say so—murdering, raping, kidnapping and torturing innocent people is a good thing. So is racism. So is genocide. So, for all we know, is the destruction of the world. The protester-terrorist is not just morally bankrupt. He is satanic. He is morality’s adversary.

As for institutionalization, it is clear that we are seeing the endgame of one of the most successful conspiracies in American history. Half a century ago, having failed to seize power through riot and terrorism, the radicals of the 1960s turned to the infiltration of powerful institutions to transform them into weapons for radical political action. This “long march through the institutions” was wildly successful. The American university system and the elite it manufactures are now ruled by a dictatorship of the professoriate that employs intellectual and at times physical terrorism to impose its ideology on a nation that does not want it.

Never before, however, has the professoriate so publicly revealed the dark heart of its ideology. Like the neo-Nazis and Klansmen it ostensibly despises, the regime has sent out its protester-terrorists on a campaign of racist hate crimes that specifically target Jewish students and faculty regardless of their views on Israel, the Palestinians and indeed anything else. In doing so, the regime revealed that protester-terrorism is not just a weapon but the essence of the regime.

Given all this, we must wonder what comes next. The possibilities are not encouraging. The protester-terrorists may make American Jewish life unlivable. American Jews may find themselves in the same position as their Western European brethren, with occasional pogroms storming through their neighborhoods, their synagogues and schools under constant military guard and a general sense of helplessness and oppression pervading their lives. Stripped of the political, professional, cultural and academic success they have enjoyed for decades, they will be forced to ask the previously unthinkable: Is it time to leave?

For Americans in general, the moment may be even more portentous. The ultimate target of any terrorist—protester or not—is the society in which he lives. Indeed, there is no doubt that the protester-terrorists’ next target will be the American political system. The protester-terrorists have made it quite clear that they are perfectly willing to destroy one of America’s major political parties. Plans are already underway for a full-scale assault on the Democratic National Convention.

This ethos of the suicide bomber will not end with the Democrats. When any terrorist movement is permitted to grow until it reaches critical mass, no society, regardless of party, can survive what follows.

None of this, however, has to happen. The protester-terrorist has only become so dangerous because he has been allowed to. Supported by powerful forces in American society, he has been granted near-total impunity for decades. If those powerful forces are brought to heel, if they are forced to obey the ethics and laws that everyone else must obey, if their indulgences are ended, the protester-terrorist cannot survive.

The imperative, then, for American Jews and non-Jews alike, is to demand that the long march through the institutions at last be halted and turned back. Perhaps more importantly, they must insist that the responsible authorities recognize a simple fact: A terrorist is always protesting something, but this cannot and must not grant him immunity for crimes that threaten not just a beleaguered minority but the republic itself.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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Putin Jails US Reporter Gershkovich in Sham Trial

A Russian secret court found U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich guilty of espionage on Friday and sentenced him to 16 years in a maximum security penal colony in what his employer, the Wall Street Journal, accurately called “a disgraceful sham conviction.”

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old Jewish American who denied any wrongdoing, went on trial in the city of Yekaterinburg last month after being accused of trying to gather sensitive information about a tank factory.

He was the first U.S. journalist accused of spying in Russia since the Cold War, and his arrest in March 2023 prompted many U.S. and other Western correspondents to leave Moscow.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Gershkovich did not commit any crime and has been wrongfully detained.

“We are pushing hard for Evan’s release and will continue to do so,” Biden said in a statement. “Journalism is not a crime.”

Video of Friday’s hearing released by the court showed Gershkovich, dressed in a T-shirt and black trousers, standing in a glass courtroom cage as he listened to the verdict being read in rapid-fire legalese for nearly four minutes.

Asked by the judge if he had any questions, he replied “Nyet.”

The judge, Andrei Mineyev, said the nearly 16 months Gershkovich had already served since his arrest would count towards the 16-year sentence.

Mineyev ordered the destruction of the reporter’s mobile phone and paper notebook. The defense has 15 days to appeal.

“This disgraceful, sham conviction comes after Evan has spent 478 days in prison, wrongfully detained, away from his family and friends, prevented from reporting, all for doing his job as a journalist,” the Journal said in a statement.

“We will continue to do everything possible to press for Evan’s release and to support his family. Journalism is not a crime, and we will not rest until he’s released. This must end now.”

Gershkovich’s friend, reporter Pjotr Sauer of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, posted on X: “Russia has just sentenced an innocent man to 16 years in a high security prison. I have no words to describe this farce. Let’s get Evan out of there.”

Friday’s hearing was only the third in the trial. The proceedings, apart from the sentencing, were closed to the media on the grounds of state secrecy.

Espionage cases often take months to handle and the unusual speed at which the trial was held behind closed doors has stoked speculation that a long-discussed U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange deal may be in the offing, involving Gershkovich and potentially other Americans detained in Russia.

The Kremlin, when asked by Reuters earlier on Friday about the possibility of such an exchange, declined to comment: “I’ll leave your question unanswered,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Among those Russia would like to free is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany for murdering an exiled Chechen-Georgian dissident in a Berlin park in 2019.

Officers of the FSB security service arrested Gershkovich on March 29, 2023, at a steakhouse in Yekaterinburg, 900 miles (1,400 km) east of Moscow. He has since been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.

Russian prosecutors had accused Gershkovich of gathering secret information on the orders of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency about a company that manufactures tanks for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The Uralvagonzavod factory, which he is accused of spying on, has been sanctioned by the West. Based in the city of Nizhny Tagil near Yekaterinburg, it has publicly spoken of producing T-90M battle tanks and modernizing T-72B3M tanks.

Earlier on Friday, the court unexpectedly said it would pronounce its verdict within hours after state prosecutors demanded Gershkovich be jailed for 18 years for spying. The maximum sentence for the crime he was accused of is 20 years.

Russia usually concludes legal proceedings against foreigners before making any deals on exchanging them.


Gershkovich, his newspaper and the U.S. government all rejected the allegations against him and said he was merely doing his job as a reporter accredited by the Foreign Ministry to work in Russia.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is open to a prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich, and that contacts with the United States have taken place but must remain secret.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Washington was working every day to bring home Gershkovich, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan and other Americans.

He declined to go into details when asked why Putin would reach a deal on Gershkovich’s release ahead of the U.S. election.

“Any effort to bring any American home is going to be part of a process of back and forth, of discussion, potentially of negotiation,” Blinken said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“Depending on what the other side is looking for, they’ll reach their own conclusions about whether it meets whatever their needs are, and we can bring someone home – and I don’t think that’s dependent on an election in the United States or anywhere else,” he said.

Mark Warner, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, called Gershkovich’s sentence “outrageous,” and said he thinks “it’s clear that the Russians view Evan almost as a bargaining chip at this point.”

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Warner declined to discuss whether efforts are underway to arrange an exchange for Gershkovich’s release, but said “all options have to stay on the table” with regards to how the Biden administration responds.

Friends who have exchanged letters with Gershkovich say he has remained resilient and cheerful throughout his imprisonment, occupying himself by reading classics of Russian literature.

At court appearances over the past 16 months – most recently with his head shaven – he has frequently smiled and nodded at reporters he used to work with before he himself became the story.

Since Russian troops entered Ukraine in 2022, Moscow and Washington have conducted just one high profile prisoner swap: Russia released basketball star Brittney Griner, held for smuggling cannabis, in return for arms dealer Viktor Bout, jailed for terrorism-related offenses in the United States.

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VP Harris Hits Fundraising Trail Amid Ongoing Calls for Biden to Quit Race

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will headline a fundraiser in Massachusetts on Saturday as President Joe Biden faces continued pressure from fellow Democrats and big money donors to end his floundering campaign.

Biden and top aides on Friday vowed to continue with the campaign, even as major donors signaled they were unwilling to open their checkbooks unless the 81-year-old president stepped aside.

The crisis-in-confidence in Biden’s ability to win has placed a huge spotlight on Harris, widely believed to be the most likely replacement if he steps down.

Her fundraising events, including the one on Saturday in Provincetown, Massachusetts are getting added interest from donors who want to signal they are willing to coalesce around her potential bid for the White House, according to three Democratic fundraisers.

More than one in 10 congressional Democrats have now publicly called on Biden, who is isolating at his Delaware home with a case of COVID-19, to drop out following a disastrous debate last month against Republican former President Donald Trump that raised questions about the incumbent’s ability to win the Nov. 5 election or carry out his duties for another four years.

Biden’s campaign hoped to raise some $50 million in big-dollar donations in July for the Biden Victory Fund but was on track for less than half that figure as of Friday, according to two sources familiar with the fundraising efforts.

The campaign called reports of a July fundraising slump overstated, noting that it anticipated a drop-off in large donations due to vacations. It said the campaign still has 10 fundraisers on the schedule this month.

Harris assured major Democratic donors on Friday that the party would prevail in the presidential election as more lawmakers called for her running mate, Biden, to stand down.

“We are going to win this election,” she said on a call arranged on short notice to calm donors, according to a person on the call. “We know which candidate in this election puts the American people first: Our president, Joe Biden.”

Harris attended the call “at the direct request of senior advisers to the president,” one of the people said, an account confirmed by another person familiar with the matter.

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