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ADL: Chants of death to America telegraphs troubling protests ahead of DNC


(The Center Square) – Escalated protests and rhetoric in Chicago around the Hamas and Israel war is getting the attention of Illinois legislators and the Anti-Defamation League.

On Monday, pro-Palastinan protesters blocked roads across the country, including the highways around Chicago O’Hare Airport. State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, announced his intention to file legislation to criminalize such activity, saying first responders should not have to face such barriers when responding to emergency calls.

“It’s time to criminalize this activity and bring greater charges to those committing these acts, especially when putting others in harm’s way,” Ugaste said in a news release. “Our first responders cannot be delayed in this manner.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he respects people’s right to protest.

“I do not think that they should be disruptive of the traffic of people trying to get from one place or to another, I think they can have their voices heard and let people move along their day,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event Monday.

Ugaste said he’s disappointed in the governor’s response.

“We do not have to be respectful of protestors who break the law,” he said. “The Governor should act swiftly and justly, sending the State Police to physically remove these individuals.”

Around 40 people were arrested in Chicago in the aftermath of Monday’s protest.

Pritzker talked about other demonstrations and what that could mean for the DNC.

“I respect people’s right to protest. I also respect people’s right to come to the convention and be able to get where they want to go without having to be greeted with people yelling at them as they’re walking to the convection hall,” Pritzker said.

Video circulating online shows organizers teaching demonstrators how to chant “death to America” and “death to Israel” in Farsi ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August.

Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League Midwest David Goldenberg said such chants being taught is what’s being telegraphed ahead of the DNC and it’s concerning.

“If that’s what’s being taught and if that’s what’s being encouraged and that’s what’s not being categorically rejected by like every elected official, by every organization, like they’re calling for death of American,” Goldenberg said during a news conference in Springfield about hate speech.

The ADL said anti semitism is up sharply since Hamas attacked Israel in October.