July 4: Celebrating Freedom, Fighting Terror

July 4: Celebrate American Values and Reject Terror, Antisemitism


We celebrate July 4 to honor the core American values of freedom, democracy and equality that have built and shaped our nation. The Jewish community has been an integral part of the American fabric since before the Revolutionary War, etching these foundational values into the bedrock of American society. These cherished principles, however, are under threat from hostile activists on the far-left and far-right, including by some who proudly support terrorist organizations and the nations that sponsor them. Those terror groups and countries that openly threaten and attack America, also wage war on one of its closest allies, Israel.

While these values have been the underpinnings of American society since it became a nation, the rise of intolerance, divisiveness and antisemitism are constantly waging war against these values. These are a few of many recent examples:

A Week Before July 4, Terrorist Flags Flown in NYC: ‘Any means necessary’

Anti-Israel activists marched down NYC streets proudly waving flags from terrorist organizations – the American flag was nowhere to be seen. There were at least four Hamas and three Hezbollah flags, as well as several Palestinian flags. Flags of other terrorist groups and Cuba also were flown. Many protestors covered their faces. This is in stark contrast to supporters of Israel who proudly display Israeli and American flags. The anti-Israel protestors called for a “global intifada by any means necessary,” repeating their usual call for violence against Jews and justifying terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades terrorist flag at a June 28 NYC protest. (Screenshot: Within Our Lifetime video/X)

Activists Disrupt Gay Pride Parades: ‘Long live the Intifada’

Many American Jews felt unsafe participating in June’s gay Pride parades. Calls were made to exclude “Zionists” – often used as a code word to ban Jews. Jewish Pride activists were marginalized by litmus tests to prove their loyalty to anti-Israel causes now woven into the LGBTQ+ doctrine. Many Pride marchers conveniently ignore that gay Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been killed for simply being gay.

Jewish lesbians hosted their own Pride party after feeling excluded from this year’s NYC Dyke March. The march organizers apologized for a social media post that condemned the 10/7 Hamas attack, calling it “a mistake” and stated that “any of our language that is not clearly opposed to Zionism is harmful to all.” The march’s theme was Dykes Against Genocide, one of the many false labels they applied to the Jewish state.

Notable anti-Israel protests were held in NYC, San Francisco and Seattle. American Israeli Maia, 25, is a 10/7 survivor who worked to build bridges between Palestinians and Israelis. She attended the Seattle Pride event where Queers for a Free Palestine chanted, “Intifada, Intifada, long live the Intifada,” while wearing masks and holding Palestinian flags. Maia walked in front of them holding a sign, “Donate your head to Hamas.” A Palestinian friend of hers was murdered for being gay. Jews in London – “We do not feel safe” – and in Toronto also faced the same discrimination.

An American Israeli member of the Pride community attends the Seattle Pride event pointing out the hypocrisy of the protestors. (Maia Poet, X)

Hostile Governments Fuel Hate on Campus: ‘Trillion dollar war chest’

The soft war against America and Israel is being waged in many forums, including university campuses. Governments that are hostile to America – including Qatar and China – have attempted to exert their influence on American minds. The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy reported that the Qatari government is using its “war chest of between $500 billion and $1 trillion of assets to exert soft power in the West – including America’s prestigious universities.” Many of these universities were recently the site of abhorrent protests. The Qatari government also uses its TV network Al Jazeera and financial support to community organizations in its soft power campaign against America and Israel.

Black Groups Support Mask Ban: ‘The KKK also covered their faces’

Jewish and Black advocacy groups recently announced joint support for banning face masks in NY used by anti-Israel activists to intimidate American Jews. They launched a campaign called Unmask Hate NY, Enough is Enough. The NY governor and mayor both support a ban. Many anti-Israel agitators cover their faces while intimidating and harassing Jews at university protests, street marches and even in subway cars. Recently, Illinois Rep. Bob Morgan condemned “masked cowards” for “terrorizing the homes and neighborhoods of our Jewish congressman and Jewish governor.”

Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference: “Black communities know all too well that individuals who hide their identities with intent to terrorize, intimidate or harass are a threat to all of our safety. The Ku Klux Klan menaced Black Americans, faces covered, without accountability. We can’t let history repeat itself.”

American 10/7 Victims Sue Iran, Syria and North Korea for Supporting Hamas

The ADL and the Crowell & Moring law firm are representing 10/7 American victims in a lawsuit against Iran, Syria and North Korea – all sworn enemies of America. The complaint was filed on behalf of more than 100 plaintiffs in U.S. federal court to pursue justice and damages against the countries that provided material support for the devastating Hamas attack against U.S. citizens in Israel. Congress created the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund with money from sanction penalties to allow American victims of terrorism meaningful relief.

Plaintiff Nahar Neta: “My mom, Adrienne was a peace and justice seeker who was active in many civilian efforts to bridge the gap between Jews and Arabs in Israel. It’s important for us to be able to tell our stories so the world can hear how Hamas has terrorized Israel, the Jewish people and many American citizens.” The retired nurse, 66, who treated all patients equally regardless of ethnicity and religion, was brutally murdered after a Palestinian terrorist stormed into her house.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a sworn enemy of America and Israel. Iran provided training, intelligence and hundreds of millions of dollars annually to Hamas. Iranian leaders boasted: “Iran has given Hamas all the support and weapons they need.” North Korea helped Hamas build its vast tunnel network stretching hundreds of miles underground and Israel found Hamas weapons with unique North Korea markings. The Syrian government openly supports Hamas and has facilitated arms shipments to Gaza. A Hamas leader stated that Hamas long-range rockets “came from abroad, from Iran, Syria and others.” All three countries are U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism. An Associated Press article confirmed that Iranian and North Korean weapons are part of the Hamas arsenal.

American Jews at the 2024 San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30. (Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, Facebook page)

1. Attacks against American Jews are an assault on American values

America was founded on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, regardless of religion, ethnicity or background. When American Jews are targeted, many feel forced to hide their identity. What begins with the Jews, usually does not end with the Jews. Acts of hatred defile the American spirit, which celebrates diversity and the contributions of all communities. American Jews have given their lives defending America in all wars, contributed to scientific and medical breakthroughs that have saved millions of lives, and championed civil rights for all minorities. Protecting American Jews from hate and violence is not only a moral imperative, but core to the historic American way of life.

2. Anti-Jewish attacks have become acceptable in America

Alarmingly, assaults against Jews have become increasingly normalized in certain segments of American society. A majority of younger Americans, Democrats and independents do not view prejudice against Jews as a very serious problem, and 60% of Jews are reluctant to share their identity because they fear harassment. This troubling trend threatens the safety and security of Jewish communities and erodes the foundation of our multicultural nation. As these hateful actions become more common, they embolden perpetrators and create a climate of fear. This acceptance of antisemitism contradicts the inclusive values America stands for and must be challenged. Bigotry and discrimination have no place in our country.

3. Subversive foreign funding undermines American independence

Murky foreign funding of American university programs and institutions and activist movements from hostile governments undermines the very essence of our nation’s independence. Countries like Qatar – an Iranian ally – try to influence students and faculty – a direct threat to supporting American values. The individuals and groups they fund engage in information manipulation. This intrusion comes with ulterior motives that do not align with American interests. Successive generations have fought to ensure America’s independence, crucial for maintaining the principles of freedom and self-determination that define the United States.

4. Attacking American Jews does not help the Palestinian cause

American Palestinian activist Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib consistently speaks out against the anti-Israel protestors hurting the Palestinian cause. He recently stated that most pro-Palestine boycotts are “based on disinformation” and condemned the groups flying terrorist flags for “harming and undermining” Palestinians. Attacking American Jews and supporters of the Jewish state does nothing to help Palestinians and detracts from legitimate efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. Pro-Palestinian leaders and vocal activists are spreading hatred and deepening divides. Constructive dialogue and peaceful advocacy are essential to a lasting solution to the conflict.

5. Iran’s destructive actions negatively impact the finances of American families

Iran-supported terrorist groups pose a direct threat to the American economy and national security. The Houthis in Yemen continue to attack commercial shipping, driving up shipping costs and therefore the price of goods in America. Attacks by Iran’s other proxies – Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza – destabilize the Middle East, making war more likely. This can cause oil prices to rise sharply, also hitting American families in the wallet. Iran’s determined pursuit of nuclear weapons increases security risks and economic uncertainty. Radical Iranian leaders have a history of attacking Americans and their threats cannot be taken lightly.

A.  Support legislation protecting American Jewish communities

Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to support legislation and policies to combat anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate and to increase security and protection for Jewish communities. The Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023 was passed by the House, but did not advance. The Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2024 was introduced in the Senate in April, but has not been voted on yet.

Also, contact your state representative, senator and other elected or appointed officials to support adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Consider similar actions at the county and city levels.

B.  Advocate for transparency in foreign funding of universities

Contact your national, state and local officials to push for greater transparency in foreign funding to American universities and anti-Israel activist groups. Call on lawmakers to enforce strict disclosure requirements. American education must remain free from undue foreign influence and aligned with American values. Hold universities accountable for accepting funding from hostile governments and urge administrators to reconsider their current policies.

C.  Promote constructive dialogue and education

Support initiatives that promote constructive dialogue and education about Jewish history and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Programs that foster understanding and cooperation can counteract hate and misinformation, leading to more informed and empathetic perspectives.

Stories Impacting American Jews

After 80 years in Nazi grave, Jewish American WWII hero reburied under Star of David

1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind was killed in action during the Battle of Cherbourg on June 23, 1944, and his body deemed “unrecoverable” for decades. Unbeknownst to his family, Baskind’s remains were interred in a mass grave at a German war cemetery, with the very soldiers he fought against. Now, Baskind rests under a Star of David at Normandy American Cemetery in France. Born in 1916 in Pittsburgh, Baskind served in the US Army’s 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion, commanding a platoon of four M-10 tank destroyers.

First Lt. Nathan Baskind, who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, was later killed and interred in a Nazi mass grave. His great-niece Samantha Baskind, right, has been working to ensure he gets a hero’s burial. (Courtesy Samantha Baskind/Operation Benjamin)

Stories Impacting the U.S. and Israel

Palestinian Snakes and Ladders Game Board Features Rockets and Tunnels

The Israeli Defense Forces found a children’s game that promotes violence against Israelis. Anti-Israel social media activists were quick to reject the authenticity of the board game. However, Al Jazeera reported on the game seven years ago. “Reaching Jerusalem” was created by a Gaza media producer who worked at the Hamas Interior Ministry. He stated that one of his aims is to “emphasize jihad and reach Jerusalem.” A media analyst of online misinformation explained how he verified the report.


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This content is developed by The Focus Project in partnership with Mercaz USA. The Focus Project distributes weekly news and talking points on timely issues concerning Israel and the Jewish people, including antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of Israel. It represents a consensus view across a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations. Mercaz USA recognizes and respects the diversity of views on these issues among its readers and the community at large.

The Focus Project develops and distributes news, background, history and weekly talking points on timely issues to inform individuals and organizations about issues affecting the American Jewish community and Israel, and help readers speak with more consistency and clarity. The editions also provide potential responses for addressing incidents of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. With input from a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations, we focus on that which unites us, rising above political and individual agendas.
Recognizing that hatred of Jews comes in many forms and directions, we strive to address all sources as they arise, and educate our growing audience on topics ranging from inter-religious relations to relevant international developments. From week to week, we may focus on issues arising from the political left, university campuses, from the political right and from institutions, government, and corporations. We don’t try to address all issues in each edition. We hope you will find this information useful in your writing and/or speaking. We are always open to your feedback: info@focus-project.org.