Three protesters at Friends of IDF gala arrested after entering S.F. hotel

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Police arrested and booked three people who protested outside of a Friends of the IDF fundraiser held Oct. 20 at the InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco.

Fewer than 10 protesters were at the event, according to officials. Julia Pereira, 19, of San Francisco and Powell DeGange, 28, of Berkeley were arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest when they entered the hotel after being told to leave, said Albie Esparza, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department.

A few minutes later, Nancy Mansour Leigh of New York was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and disturbing the peace, police said, after she attacked a hotel guest with a bullhorn. She and a few other protesters had entered the hotel shouting anti-Israel slogans and “engaging in verbal altercation with hotel patrons that became a physical assault,” Esparza said. All three have been released but will later face charges in court.

Inside the hotel, the annual dinner and gala for the San Francisco chapter of Friends of the IDF went off without a hitch, said Jonathan Bernstein, executive director of the chapter. Bernstein said more than 300 people attended and more than $900,000 was raised for FIDF, which provides support for active duty soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

“People have been saying [San Francisco] is a tough community to operate in for FIDF,” Bernstein said. “Sunday night we proved that wrong and showed there are a lot of people here who do love Israel and understand the sacrifices the soldiers make for all of us.”

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.