Gaza War

Israel backers drown out NJ ‘intifada revolution’


Approximately 100 pro-Hamas protesters were bused on Monday to the largest synagogue in Teaneck to protest an 8 pm event featuring firsthand accounts of the Oct. 7 atrocities that took place in southern Israel by ZAKA volunteers — Israel’s search, rescue and ritual burial organization.

An anti-Israel poster called ZAKA’s version of events false and said they were serving to “fuel Gaza genocide.”

Publicity for the Palestinian protest did more than draw Israel-haters — it galvanized the local Jewish community into action. The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County teamed up with the Bergen County Jewish Action Committee to encourage residents to show up to support and protect the community event at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun.

American Muslims for Palestine and Without Our Lifetime

From 6:30 pm until 10:30 pm, more than 1,000 counterprotesters sang, played loud Israeli music, waved Israeli and American flags and shouted “Bring Them Home” — referring to the 134 hostages still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza since Oct. 7 — largely drowning out the voice of the protesters while the event went on as planned inside.

Chana Shields of the Jewish Action Committee said “these attacks on our synagogues have to end. Full stop.”

They “are nothing more than an attack on Jews and our religious freedoms,” she said. “ZAKA is a humanitarian organization that collects body parts and human remains after terror attacks and disasters, composed of Jewish and Muslim volunteers who make sure burial is handled according to religious practices. What kind of person opposes that?”

“ZAKA’s work is the epitome of compassion, a true testament to the goodness in humanity,” said Jewish Action Committee trustee Aviva Angel. “When our synagogue, a place that champions such kindness, is attacked, it’s an affront to everything we believe in, including our cherished right to religious freedom. Teaneck is a community built on support, unity and respect for all. An act against these core values is unacceptable.”

Palestinian sympathizers, including members of the Neturei Karta, were seen waving “Free Palestine” flags, and antisemitic slogans such as “There is only one solution, intifada revolution” were chanted. Organizers of the protest included American Muslims for Palestine and Without Our Lifetime.

“The Jewish community stood up and showed we are not going to be intimidated, we are going to stand up for our rights, and we’re not going to let outsiders interfere with our programming,” said Steve Fox, president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Teaneck. “We showed up in force, and this shows that when we stand up for ourselves there are good results.”

“I was very happy to see that our rabbis and the local Jewish action community took a strong stance rather than letting protesters run the narrative. Next time a pro-Palestinian group wants to do something in Teaneck, they will think twice,” he said.

In March, the police department in Teaneck led multiple law-enforcement agencies in responding to a planned protest at a Sunday-afternoon Israeli real-estate fair at a synagogue there. More than 750 anti-Israel protesters waved Palestinian flags as they marched west on New Bridge Road towards Congregation Keter Torah, chanting “Free Palestine” and slogans such as “There is only one solution,” “Intifada revolution” and “Long live the intifada!”

In the last five months, Teaneck has been targeted by protesters due to its large Jewish community, which comprises approximately 40% of the town’s residents. Virtually every Sunday for the past three months “Wheels for Palestine” has publicized car rallies formed outside of the bedroom community — primarily in Paterson — bound for Teaneck’s Al Ummah Community Center as a staging point. 

They drive past kosher enclaves and synagogues in the township, which has resulted in the harassment of Jews going about their business.

As the ZAKA event ended on Monday evening, police officers moved the protesters out of the area, while the crowd sang “Hatikvah” to cap a tense night.

“Who would have thought that the Jews of this town could be targeted for six months after the worst pogrom since the [Holocaust],” said Rabbi Daniel Fridman of the Jewish Center of Teaneck. “We’re here tonight to say that this harassment stops here and it stops tonight. The Jewish community of Teaneck will not stand idly when the memory of our 1,200 brothers and sisters are desecrated; we will not stand idly when our shuls and houses of worship are targeted again and again. And most of all, we are here tonight to say: They will not run us out of this town!”