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Anti-Israeli Protest in NYC and New Jersey Man Charged with Helping Hezbollah

April 21 - May 1, 2022 | Issue 5 - NORTHCOM

Savannah Fellows, Gabriel Mariotti, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team

Manja Vitasovic, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



The Central Synagogue in New York City[1]



Date: April 22, 2022

Location: New York City, New York, USA

Parties involved: Israel; Palestine; US government; US citizens; New York Police Department (NYPD) Hate Crimes Unit; Israel law enforcement; Al-Aqsa Mosque worshippers; protesters; US mosques worshippers; US synagogues worshippers

The event: During an anti-Israel rally on Friday, pro-Palestinian protesters assaulted a man carrying an Israeli flag. The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit considers the assault a potential hate crime.[2] Prior to the protest, 150 Palestinians were injured in an Al-Aqsa Mosque raid by Israeli police, escalating Israel-Palestine tensions.[3] Support for Palestinians in the US increased in recent years following minority rights groups’ discontent with US historical support of Israel.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The US public’s support for Palestine will very likely increase following the Israeli law enforcement raid of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Increasing tensions between Israel and Palestine will very likely worsen divides between the US public. Divisions in the US are very likely to result in protests in front of mosques and synagogues, very likely leading to confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis in the US. Increased tensions will likely lead to increased safety concerns for Israelis and Palestinians living in the US as they likely become targets for hate crimes.

  • Public support for Palestine will almost certainly continue rising in the US if Israel's violence against Palestinians continues. Public divisions resulting in increased hate crimes and protests that are likely to turn violent will almost certainly increase pressure on US law enforcement to respond. Rising pressure on law enforcement and increasing support for Palestine will likely become the topic of US political campaigns as politicians will likely use the issue to gain support and votes with a pro-Palestine stance. There is a roughly even chance that politicians’ support for Palestine will take an anti-Israel form that will likely result in xenophobia of Israelies and more hate crimes against them.

  • Israel’s strategy regarding Palestine will likely become more oppressive to prevent the resurgence of Hamas and reduce the benefits of direct diplomatic support from Palestine’s allies. As political tensions between the US and Israel increase, there is a roughly even chance the effectiveness of major treaties such as NATO will decrease and weaken US’ and Israeli global position.


Date: May 1, 2022

Location: Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Parties involved: Alexei Saab; Hezbollah; US government; US Department of Justice; Assistant US Attorney Samuel Adelsberg; Saab's lawyer Marlon Kirton

The event: Recent court documents state in 2019, a man from New Jersey was charged with helping Hezbollah scout and identify potential landmarks and buildings to be targeted by an attack. Alexei Saab joined Hezbollah in 1996 and then emigrated to the US becoming a naturalized citizen in 2008. While in the US, he received military training from Hezbollah while working as a software engineer. Before he was apprehended by authorities, the man provided surveillance on targets in the US, France, Turkey, and the Czech republic including landmarks such as the UN headquarters, New York Bridges, New York airports, and Grand Central Station.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Hezbollah has very likely increased its ideological influence in countries such as the US with the internet and encrypted messaging systems. Technological advancements have likely given Hezbollah easier access to individuals the group believes can be radicalized. Disinformation is almost certainly a tool used by these extremist organizations, such as Hezbollah, as a way to promote its messages to recruit individuals to its cause. The inability to regulate all terrorist activity on the internet will almost certainly continue providing Hezbollah with the ability to spread its propaganda and terrorist activities.

  • Technological advancements have very likely improved public access to information such as buildings’ floor plans. The research methods used by Saab and the structural vulnerabilities of key landmarks identified will very likely be used by Hezbollah to plan future attacks. This information will likely be sold to groups with similar motivations, likely enabling Hezbollah to expand and become more powerful with more financial resources. With technology serving as a gateway to public information, it is likely that as technology continues to advance, extremist organizations will continue finding ways to infiltrate systems for sensitive information.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]The Central Synagogue” by Reading Tom licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Anti-Israel Protester Assaults New York Man at “Palestinian Resistance” Rally, The Jewish Press, April 2022, https://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/antisemitism-news/anti-israel-protester-assaults-new-york-man-at-palestinian-resistance-rally/2022/04/28/

[3] Israeli forces raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, over 150 Palestinians injured, Al Jazeera, April 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/15/israeli-forces-raid-al-aqsa-mosque-over-50-palestinians-injured

[4] How Online Activism and the Racial Reckoning in the U.S. Have Helped Drive a Groundswell of Support for Palestinians, Time, May 2021, https://time.com/6050422/pro-palestinian-support/

[5] Morristown Man Scoped U.S. Landmarks For Terrorist Attacks: Feds, Patch, April 2022, https://patch.com/new-jersey/morristown/morristown-man-scoped-u-s-landmarks-terrorist-attacks-feds

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