‘Palestine Freedom Fund’ raises funds for legal defense of violent anti-Israel activists in New York City

Hardline BDS organizations in New York raising legal funds for protestors charged in pro-Palestinian demonstrations that descended into anti-Jewish violence.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

A New York-based coalition of Palestinian organizations that advocates the elimination of Israel as an independent Jewish state has raised nearly $20,000 to fund legal expenses for Palestinian protestors who participated in anti-Semitic demonstrations in midtown Manhattan last week that descended into violence against Jews.

On Monday, the “Palestine Freedom Fund” — which describes itself as supporting the “movement for justice, return and liberation” — had raised almost all of its $20,000 goal through an online crowdfunding campaign.

“The Palestine Freedom Fund is a project of the NY4Palestine Coalition,” a statement on the organization’s website explained.

It went to to claim that in the United States, “[E]very day, Palestinian youth and activists for Palestine are targeted for criminalization, surveillance, protest arrests and police brutality.”

It said that the “Palestine Freedom Fund works to support bail and legal expenses for Palestinian organizers, activists for Palestine and community members targeted for persecution.”

The group then announced that “[A]s a first initiative, we are fundraising for bail/legal support funds for Palestinian youth arrested at New York City demonstrations for Palestine on Thursday, May 20, 2021.”

More than 20 people were arrested after demonstrators waving Palestinian flags and clad in keffiyeh scarves attacked a pro-Israel counter-protest in Times Square last week. Among the distressing scenes captured on amateur video was a female bystander who was burned when the demonstrators threw what police described as “commercial  grade fireworks,” as well as the savage beating of a Jewish man by pro-Palestinian thugs.

Charges against the defendants include hate crime assault, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD said.

One of the assailants involved in the attack on the Jewish man — 23-year-old Wasseem Awawdeh — reportedly told prosecutors, “If I could do it again, I would do it again. I have no problem doing it again.” During the attack, Awawdeh allegedly told 29-year-old victim Joseph Borgen, “F*** Israel, Hamas is going to kill all of you,” and called him a “dirty Jew.”

The Algemeiner emailed requests for comment on Monday to three of the organizations backing the Palestine Freedom Fund, to clarify whether the $20,000 raised online would be used to support Awawdeh or any of the other defendants specifically charged with hate crimes on May 20. No response had been received by press time.

However, all three supporting organizations contacted — Al Awdah: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and “Within Our Lifetime,” which describes itself as a “Palestinian community organization” — reject Israel’s right to exist and depict Zionism as a racist ideology that threatens world peace. All of them are enthusiastic backers of the international campaign to subject the Jewish state alone to a regime of  “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” (BDS).

A statement on the “Within Our Lifetime” website explicitly rules out dialogue with organizations representing the mainstream of American Jews.

The group said it “rejects all collaboration and dialogue with Zionist organizations through a strict policy of anti-normalization.”

“The liberation of Palestine requires the abolition of Zionism,” it declared.