Protesters block access to the office building that houses Israel's San Francisco consulate, April 18, 2023. (Photo/Twitter @anarchozionist)
Protesters block access to the office building that houses Israel's San Francisco consulate, April 18, 2023. (Photo/Twitter @anarchozionist)

Protesters block access to Israel’s San Francisco consulate on Yom HaShoah

More than a dozen demonstrators blocked access to the Israeli Consulate in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon to protest U.S. military aid to Israel.

In total the protest brought about 50 people to the Israeli consulate building, according to press reports. Some activists used a chain and pipes to link themselves together in front of the building’s main entrance for roughly two hours beginning at 5 p.m. They wore shirts that read, “75 years of Israeli war crimes,” referencing the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding, and chanted: “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea.”

Yom HaAtzmaut, or Israel Independence Day, starts the evening of April 25 this year.

Police were present but no arrests were made, according to Savanna Schwartz, director of press and communications for the consulate.

The consulate’s regular business was not interrupted, Schwartz said. She expressed disappointment that protesters chose Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust, to target the office.

“Our general feeling is the fact that this small group of people chose Yom HaShoah over any other day to express opposition to the Jewish state is very disrespectful to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as to the Holocaust survivors who are still among us,” Schwartz said.

The protest was organized by a group of Bay-Area organizations called the Palestinian Action Network, which includes Berkeley-based Jewish Voice for Peace.

Jewish Voice for Peace expressed support for the protesters. According to a statement sent to J., the protesters chose Tuesday — U.S. Tax Day — to bring attention to the “ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians,” which they said is funded by U.S. tax dollars. The demonstration was also in reaction to Israel’s recent actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the group said.

“As American Jews, we will not allow our Jewish identity or our tax dollars to be used to perpetuate crimes against humanity in Palestine,” the statement read. “We stand in solidarity with Palestinians resisting ongoing settler violence in Palestine and in the diaspora.”

The S.F.-based Israeli Consulate of the Pacific Northwest, led by Consul General Marco Sermoneta, serves Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Lillian Ilsley-Greene
Lillian Ilsley-Greene

Lillian Ilsley-Greene is a J. Staff Writer. Originally from Vermont, she has a BA in political science and an MA in journalism from Boston University. Follow her on Twitter at @lilsleygreene.