Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ has received disturbing news that the Town of West Orange will hold a Palestinian flag raising next Friday, January 5.
This comes after the Israeli flag, which was raised in West Orange on Yom Ha’Atzmaut last May, was finally lowered at the end of Hanukkah earlier this month. According to new town policy, the Palestinian flag will remain in front of the town hall for only three days, far fewer days than the Israeli flag has flown, but long enough in our view, to make a serious statement.
We expressed our deep concerns to town officials that their actions, however unintentional, support Palestinian calls for an Israeli ceasefire, undermine Israel’s right to self-defense which requires the elimination of the terrorist threat on its border and questions the Biden Administration’s stated policy which sees Hamas as an existential danger to Israel and western civilization.
Further, the Palestinian flag does not yet represent a country, but a people, whose elected government in Gaza was responsible for the massacre of 1,200 Israelis and the abduction of over 250 others. To raise their flag in the middle of an ongoing war sends a deeply disturbing message to the Jewish residents of West Orange and all its constituents, that while it stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel, West Orange also stands with those who unleashed this barbaric violence.
While we acknowledge the constitutionally protected right to free speech and appreciate the town of West Orange’s commitment to diversity of opinion, we are deeply troubled by this action. To those who wish to protest, we urge you to show up with banners and pictures of the hostages who remain in captivity in Gaza. We encourage you to protest peaceably, and focus on the message of bringing our hostages home. Our security team will monitor events and our JCRC will continue to make our concerns known to town officials.