Contentious Protests Hit Home in Scottsdale

Photo Credit: ABC News

The Israel/Gaza conflict has undoubtedly been a global hot-button issue. You would have to actively avoid news and current events to not have at least heard of the protests on college campuses around, often turning extremely contentious. Arizona State University had a significant issue with over 70 arrests of students on its campus.

One would assume that a city such as Scottsdale, a relatively politically docile city that is hardly known as a hotbed for protests or polarization, would largely be exempt. But not entirely, as a recent development shows. Two arrests were recently made as tensions flared and a few confrontations got heated.

It started as Scottsdale’s Jewish Community Center held an event celebrating Israel’s independence day; a benign circumstance in normal times, but an opportunity for contention since the start of the war. The JCC wisely hired security and let the Scottsdale PD know about the event, which pulled in 50 counter-protesters in support of Palestine.

One pro-Israel protestor was arrested after trying to grab a sign from a pro-Palestine protester, and one pro-Palestine protester was arrested after stopping their car to confront the people celebrating the anniversary. As far as protest arrests go, the actions that led to them were quite benign compared to that which happened in other areas.

One thing we can count as a positive is the reaction from Scottsdale police. While some college campuses made the mistake of letting protests get violent and out-of-hand before taking action, Scottsdale was proactive in both monitoring the event and shutting down antisocial behavior. Bad behavior was nipped in the bud instead of being allowed to fester, helping ensure that that bad behavior doesn’t get out of hand.

One other positive is the diversity of opinion. While we can debate which group is in the right, sober and reasonable people can acknowledge that the acts of Hamas to start the war were unacceptable acts of terrorism, and that the subsequent actions by Israel have contributed to an unacceptable amount of civilian deaths. A visit to college campus protests would lead one to believe that Hamas has never been a problem, that they are ideologically in the right. The diversity and balance of opinion in our city is undoubtedly a strength.

We should consider ourselves lucky that this is noteworthy enough to even mention. That our collective politics are not volatile, that severely antisocial behavior is not tolerated, and that we largely can agree to disagree when we do. It’s much better than the alternative.