Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and members of the Fresno City Council held a flag raising ceremony to honor Israel in the wake of the attacks from Hamas that started last Saturday.
While the Israel flag was raised at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno, pro-Palestinian protestors disrupted the event throughout, calling for a free Palestine and levying personal attacks against Dyer.
Driving the news: Thursday’s flag raising was an act of solidarity by the city, having rabbis and the local Jewish community attend.
- Dyer spoke of the attacks by Hamas over the weekend, with the Israeli death toll rising over 1,300 by Thursday with 22 confirmed American deaths.
- Dyer said the city is not taking sides in what is occurring in the Middle East because that has been occurring since Biblical days.
- Pro-Palestinian protestors brought flags and signs of their own, shouting throughout Dyer’s remarks and after when Councilman Garry Bredefeld, two local rabbis and Pastor Jim Franklin spoke.
- While much of their shouting was against the state of Israel, they repeatedly shouted at Dyer throughout his speech, calling him a rapist and a murderer.
What they’re saying: Amid the protests, Dyer said the city did not hold the Israel flag raising to alienate any part of the Fresno community.
- “However, if people in this community or anywhere else support the terrorist activity that occurred on Saturday in Israel, then I would question their allegiance to the United States of America,” Dyer said.
- Dyer continued, “The hatred is deep, and you can sense some of that hatred right here today with people who are standing here supporting what occurred on Saturday and the killing of innocent Israelis and the beheading of Isreali babies. If that is what you stand for, then you do not stand for the United States of America.”