People’s Forum Director Manolo De Los Santos paused to take in the approval of his audience. During a video of his speech that burned through the Internet, the crowd hooted and cheered as together they envisioned a world without the Jewish state:
When we finally deal that final blow to destroy Israel—when the state of Israel is finally destroyed and erased from history—that will be the single most important blow we can give to destroying capitalism.
“When we finally deal that final blow to destroy Israel. When the state of Israel is finally destroyed and erased from history, that will be the single most important blow we can give to destroying capitalism.”
-Manolo De Los Santos speaking at The People’s Forum in NYC. pic.twitter.com/TxGcaVK62j
— Jason Curtis Anderson (@JCAndersonNYC) January 15, 2024
Judging by the applause, De Los Santos delivered what his listeners wanted to hear.
And by now, expected to hear. For months, his little-known anti-capitalist group had been spewing anti-Israel rhetoric like this, making a new name for itself by staging disruptive pro-Palestine demonstrations.
Headquartered in New York City, The People’s Forum describes itself as a “movement incubator for working class and marginalized communities to build unity across historic lines of division at home and abroad”—its goal is supposedly to destroy capitalism. But ever since the October 7th Hamas massacre, the group has shifted its focus to destroying Israel.
The People’s Forum works hand-in-hand with the pro-Palestinian movement calling for “more marches, walk-outs, sit-ins, and other forms of direct action directed at the political offices, businesses, and workplaces that fund, invest, and collaborate with Israeli genocide and occupation.” It is the notorious co-organizer of the “shut it down for Palestine” protests—barely controlled riots that wreak havoc with regular people’s ability to get through their day:
BREAKING: across New York, the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg Bridge and Holland Tunnel are BLOCKED!! There will be NO BUSINESS AS USUAL. FREE PALESTINE!! 🇵🇸#ShutItDown4Palestine pic.twitter.com/Egygo600Ye
— The People’s Forum (@PeoplesForumNYC) January 8, 2024
There’s hope that law enforcement might finally be getting fed up. The group’s most recent pro-Palestine event ended early after the NYPD arrested De Los Santos and others involved in it:
The NYPD has arrested Manolo De Los Santos from the People’s Forum for using sound amplification devices after being warned it was against the law.
— Jason Curtis Anderson (@JCAndersonNYC) January 20, 2024
Founded in 2017 to serve the “working class,” the People’s Forum is funded by big-business dollars from tech millionaire Neville Roy Singham—aka their “Marxist comrade“—and his wife Jodie Evans, both China sympathizers, The Free Press reported in November. Evans is the co-founder of Code Pink, known to Legal Insurrection readers as the mouthpiece for the Chinese regime propaganda we wrote about here. The group reportedly holds more than $13.6 million in total assets.
After funding for the anti-capitalists was traced to a Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, South Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) called on the global investment firm to cut its ties with the group, the New York Post reported. But Goldman Sachs told the paper it has no ties to the People’s Forum, nor does it share its values.
Torres compared the People’s Forum to Hamas, which espouses the same kind of genocidal ideology. De Los Santos’s reference to ‘the final blow,’ he said, conjured up Nazi rhetoric about a ‘final solution.’”
Others pointed out that tolerating De Los Santos’s anti-Israel genocidal rhetoric normalizes it:
“destroyed and erased from history” — this kind of rhetoric gets louder and louder…it gets more and more prevalent…it gets more and more normalized. WITH NO CONSEQUENCE. Could you imagine activists talking about any other country or people this way and it being greeted with a… https://t.co/kWm1u5lpdX
— Dan Senor (@dansenor) January 16, 2024
And according to @StopAntisemites, a complaint naming De Los Santos was filed with the IRS over its 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status in light of its support for Hamas:
A complaint with the IRS/Department of Treasury has been filed against ‘The People’s Forum’, a 501c3 not-for-profit.
The complaint cites Co-Executive Director Manolo De Los Santos and alleges the organization has been advocating in support of Hamas, a U.S. designated terror… https://t.co/HL2kXli1y4 pic.twitter.com/yMJ5wQ85V9
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) January 17, 2024
Complaints with the IRS make for bad press, but they are usually dead ends.
De Los Santos of course has refused to apologize for his genocidal threats. In a statement, he said that labeling the group as “antisemitic” is a “propaganda trick by the apologists for genocide”:
We Will Not Apologize: Zionism is Racism!
We make no apologies for calling for the destruction of an apartheid and colonial state that is actively engaging in a genocide of the Palestinian people that has already killed over 25,000. The right-wing attack on the new mass movement… pic.twitter.com/nVgBSNv2J3
— The People’s Forum (@PeoplesForumNYC) January 18, 2024
They really aren’t antisemites, he insists. In fact, some of their best friends are Jews:
Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. Everyone who has ever been at The People’s Forum knows that we welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds who are committed to the struggle for justice.or 100 days, we have proudly marched and organized with hundreds of thousands of people in New York and across the country, many of them Jewish people who stand in the proud tradition of anti-fascism and anti-Zionism, who have rightly declared that the State of Israel, by falsely associating its crimes with the Jewish faith, make Jewish people less safe, not more safe.
Meanwhile, De Los Santos and his comrades have been released from police custody:
Me & my comrades are out after another attempt by NYPD to intimidate & stop our movement for Palestine.
These are our streets & we will not be moved or silenced! We will continue to protest & “Shut It Down” for as long as necessary to end the genocide & occupation of Palestine. pic.twitter.com/y1QiZ8cjZO
— Manolo De Los Santos (@manolo_realengo) January 21, 2024
And “him and his comrades” no doubt will soon be back on the streets, because what better way to show your solidarity with the working class than to shut it all down for Palestine?
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