Chief forced to say he’s sorry after he liked a Facebook post supporting Israel; local Arab organizer posts “Stop condemning anti-Semitism.”
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
The chief of police in Dearborn, Michigan issued a public apology and called for a “free Palestine” after members of the local Arab American community criticized him for liking a Facebook post supporting Israel, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.
A few weeks ago, during the conflict with the Hamas terror group in Gaza, Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad liked a May 11 Facebook post by a fellow police officer from another department who said “I Stand With Israel” and showed an Israeli flag in a heart symbol.
During the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls, the large American Arab community that makes up almost half of the almost 100,000 population of Dearborn held a large anti-Israel rally as President Joe Biden visited the city on May 18.
“Haddad’s apology illustrated how the conflict in the Middle East has played out in metro Detroit,” the paper noted.
“A couple days ago, I liked a profile photo of a colleague and professional friend that I have now learned also contained a message that upset many people,” Haddad posted on Facebook after the criticism, adding, “I’m sorry for any hurt or confusion that mistake caused.”
In his Facebook post Haddad said that he himself is from a Lebanese Maronite Christian family and supports “the Palestinian struggle,” adding a photo the Palestinian flag at the police department.
“This Palestinian flag has been in my office for years,” Haddad wrote. “My Lebanese parents raised me on the Palestinian struggle for rights. So let me be clear. I am a proud Arab American, and I loudly say: #FreePalestine.”
“You have our support Chief. We are behind you 1000%. God bless you,” tweeted Ned Fawaz, a business leader in Dearborn’s Arab American community.
Haddad also apparently attended a rally two weeks ago and posted a picture of himself holding a Palestinian flag, but that photo was then posted to Twitter with a comment saying: “When Dearborn Michigan Police Chief is standing for the Palestinians you know how far America has gone …”
Rabbi Asher Lopatin of the Etz Chayim synagogue in nearby Oak Park noted the hatred that pushed the Chief to apologize for supporting Israel.
“I feel kind of sorry for him because he had that Palestinian flag in his office and here he gets all this trouble for just liking someone’s profile,” Lopatin told the Free Press. “Can we be a little kinder to each other? We’re going to disagree, we have different narratives,” adding that he was concerned about people trying “to tell other people what they can say, who they can meet with.”
Local pro-Palestinian protest organizer Amer Zahr also came under fire after tweeting that people should “stop condemning anti-Semitism.”
“Stop it. We have been doing it for generations. So stop it. You’re not helping. If they didn’t believe us by now, that’s not our problem. Stay focused. #FreePalestine,” Zahr said.
“Yes, I stand by this,” Zahr said. “We Palestinians condemn all forms of racism and discrimination. But Zionists now want to change the conversations from annihilating entire families in Gaza to condemning anti-Semitism. It’s a political distraction tactic. That’s what I said.”
In Detroit, the Coalition of Black and Jewish Unity issued a statement criticizing the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups in Gaza.
“The Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity reiterates its position that Israel has the right and duty to defend itself whenever attacked by any entity that seeks its total destruction and annihilation,” the statement said.