Counter-Protests. Good idea?

Before you join a counter-protest, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater encourages you to ask yourself:

  • Is a counter-protest effective in supporting Israel?
  • Does staging or attending a counter-protest serve the community’s support of Israel?
  • Does counter-protesting put you or others in danger?

Here are some additional things to consider:

  • Counter-protests create a moral equivalence between acts of Hamas and the Israeli government.
  • Protests are highly emotional and are not the space for true, meaningful dialogue. They can also become heated and threaten the safety of participants.
  • Counter-protests, more often than not, include or lead to antisemitic rhetoric, which leads to heated exchanges that many times results in physical contact between the individuals. This action is dangerous and can lead to people being arrested from both groups.
  • Counter-protests can place an unnecessary strain on community resources, including law enforcement. It is law enforcement’s job to maintain order. Adding a counterprotest makes this task infinitely more complex.
  • Many times, it’s a scuffle with a counter-protest that makes the news, not the protest itself.
  • Any attempt to shut down a protest or fight against it will only make the counter-protesters look petty and small and will give more amplification to the protester’s voices.

United Jewish Federation of Tidewater works with Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America on issues such as this. Tidewater’s Regional SCN Security Advisor, Mike Goldsmith, is constantly in touch with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, as they’re all working to make sure that nothing turns hate-filled or violent, while recognizing that people have the right to gather and express their views.

Remember, the job is not to prove our enemies wrong, but to win support for Israel.

We will continue to work to support Israel and to make sure our voices are heard.

Looking for real, tangible ways to support Israel? Visit: or contact Nofar Trem, UJFT’s Israel Engagement manager at

To report a protest or incident, go to or contact Mike Goldsmith at

Robin Mancoll is senior director, Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Mike Goldsmith is Tidewater’s regional security advisor for Secure Community Network.