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North Andover, MA, Flies Palestinian Flag Over Town Common After Intense Town Meeting

North Andover, MA, Flies Palestinian Flag Over Town Common After Intense Town Meeting

“At a select board meeting, which had previously been rescheduled due to ‘threats of litigation as well as public safety concerns,’ residents spoke passionately in both defense and opposition to the flag.”

The town of North Andover in Massachusetts is currently flying the Palestinian flag over its town common and will continue to do so into December.

Previously, the town flew Israel’s flag in the same place, and the town’s board was just hours away from voting to ban anything but the state and American flags, but this proposal made it in under the radar.

Like many Massachusetts communities, North Andover is fairly liberal. The town voted for Biden by 61 percent in 2020, but not everyone is happy about this.

FOX News reports:

Massachusetts town approves permit to fly Palestinian flag on public flagpole

North Andover, Massachusetts, officials approved a permit Monday, allowing a Palestinian flag to be flown on the North Andover Town Common, according to reports.

Boston 25 News reported that the black, white, red and green flag was raised Tuesday morning and will remain in place until Dec. 7.

Residents attended a board meeting Monday night that had to be rescheduled because of reported “threats of litigation as well as public safety concerns,” both in favor and opposition of the flag being put on display on town property.

One resident, Salma Boulal, attended the meeting and said if Israel gets to fly its flag in the North Andover common, Palestinians deserve the same right, the news station reported.

To ensure order was upheld, police were present at the meeting in large numbers.

Town Manager Melissa Rodrigues reportedly said an application to fly the flag was submitted to the town Oct. 16, about six hours before town officials updated its policy on flying flags.

Prior to the change, the policy allowed a town resident to apply to fly a flag on the town’s flagpole…

“According to the decision in the Shurtleff case, the Town may not prohibit a flag to be flown based on its content, its meaning or its message,” Rodrigues wrote. “This limitation on the Select Board’s discretion indicates that denial of a resident’s flag application under the prior policy places the Town in jeopardy of legal action.”

According to FOX 25 in Boston, there was a heavy police presence at the town meeting where this was decided:

After ‘heated’ meeting, North Andover approves permit to fly Palestinian flag on town common

A request for a permit to raise a Palestinian flag on the North Andover Town Common was approved Monday night.

The flag, which was raised Tuesday morning, will remain up until December 7.

At a select board meeting, which had previously been rescheduled due to “threats of litigation as well as public safety concerns,” residents spoke passionately in both defense and opposition to the flag…

“It was pretty heated…there are those that look at the Palestinian flag as a symbol of hate,” Brian Buzby said.

There was a large police presence at the meeting as a precaution.

I don’t mind saying that as a resident of Massachusetts, this sickens me.

Here’s a local video report:

The New York Post editorial board was frank in their assessment:

North Andover, Massachusetts, says it loud and clear: Israeli lives don’t matter

In North Andover, Mass., the message is clear: Palestinian lives matter — Israeli lives don’t.

The tony town — median household income north of $120,000, per Census data — is flying the red, white, black and green Palestinian flag from its common flagpole.

That’s after an October policy change specifically restricted such flag-flying to governmental speech.

Meaning that this message is in some sense official.

And it’s telling North Andover’s Jews: You’re not welcome.

Indeed, the town council made a special exception to allow the flag to be flown, allegedly because the request to do so came in right before the new policy went into effect.

That doesn’t pass the smell test: The new flag-raising enjoys a black-letter status that prior ones never did.

Now, some may object that the town already flew the Israeli flag after the Hamas atrocities, so criticizing this flag-raising must be racist or colonialist or any of the other pejorative buzzwords favored by the woke left.

No, no and no.

The Post is correct. The left is trying to ‘both sides’ this issue. It is not a ‘both sides’ situation. There is no comparison to the horrors carried out by Hamas on October 7th.

Featured image via YouTube.


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I’m unclear as to how a flag of a nation that doesn’t exist, and never has existed, be flown.

What’s next, Wakanda??

Would they allow the Stars and Bars? After all, the CSA was fighting for freedom and against the crazy socialist regime of Lincoln.

    Milhouse in reply to david7134. | November 16, 2023 at 11:13 pm

    Under the old policy, which was like Boston’s, under which anyone could apply to have any flag flown, then yes, they would have to allow the Stars and Bars too. They could not discriminate against it, since it was not government speech. That’s why they changed the policy.

If you just allowed the national and state flags to fly on government buildings, then you wouldn’t run into this mess. But if you start flying other flags, pretty soon you may end up flying the Ukrainian flag, and then the rainbow flag, the BLM flag, and who knows what else.

    CommoChief in reply to JR. | November 16, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    Exactly. The US Flag and the State Flag, maybe a Town Flag if one exists. Leave the rest at home where anyone can choose to put up one, none or every flag that ever existed as they choose on their own property. Don’t own your own place or maybe have an HoA restriction? Sucks to be you, feel free to move and purchase a piece of property without that restriction.

    Milhouse in reply to JR. | November 16, 2023 at 11:16 pm

    There’s no reason the city can’t decide to fly whatever other flag it wants. And so long as it’s the city’s decision, not that of whoever applied for it, it does not have to give “equal time” to flags it disagrees with. People can still make suggestions, but the city considers them and decides whether it likes them or not. It would make perfect sense for a city to fly the Israeli flag at this time, and not the terrorist flag. The mistake is in making it an automatic thing, where you apply and eventually it gets flown. That makes it a public forum, and viewpoint discrimination is unconstitutional.

The request and permitting of the flag were legal. Do you want to abridge their Freedom of Speech, and if so, how?
The protesters are asking for special treatment.
I support Israel 100% and Hamas 0%, but this seems like campus-culture snowflake bitching and moaning.

    Milhouse in reply to Tom Orrow. | November 16, 2023 at 11:18 pm

    What you missed is that the policy was changed, and the flag is now the city’s own speech, not that of whoever asked for it. So it’s the city‘s freedom of speech, and it is entitled to choose to fly only the Israeli flag and refuse to fly the terrorist flag.

Have they ever flown a ‘hammer & sickle’ flag? Or a swastika?

I don’t think this town should be flying any flags on public property besides the US and Massachusetts flags.

    Milhouse in reply to dawgfan. | November 16, 2023 at 11:18 pm

    Why not? It’s their property, they can fly whatever they damn well like. That’s their freedom of speech.

      Azathoth in reply to Milhouse. | November 17, 2023 at 8:18 am

      The government does not get ‘freedom of speech’. The government gets the responsibility to keep freedom of speech from being infringed upon by government.

      If the government changes the rules so only the government nay speak they are INFRINGING on the freedom of speech of the people.

Lefties in MA want to ban their own state flag with native american symbol, because that could be insensitive.

But they want to fly foreign flag that supports murder and hostage taking of americans who were visiting israel on Oct 7?

The correct answer is that the only flags that should be flown are the US flag, state flag, and POW-MIA flag.

thalesofmiletus | November 16, 2023 at 3:09 pm

When a foreign flags flies over your city, it means you’ve been conquered.

    Bullshit. Foreign flags fly over cities all over the world, all the time, for various reasons, e.g. to honor a visiting dignitary. It’s the city’s decision.

      Crawford in reply to Milhouse. | November 17, 2023 at 8:17 am

      It’s the city’s decision to side with monsters.

        Milhouse in reply to Crawford. | November 18, 2023 at 10:35 am

        What? By flying the Israeli flag?! You do understand that that is what thalesofmiletus was complaining about, don’t you? Because the terrorist flag is not a “foreign flag”, so flying it could not possibly mean the city had been conquered. Who would it mean had conquered it? But according to thalesofmiletus flying the Israeli flag meant North Andover had somehow been conquered by Israel! Which is obvious garbage.

North Andover, home of Phillips Academy, colloquially referred to as “Andover,” and fondly known as Swamp Prep.

See no where can their be someone’s right to fly murderous terrorists flags in the United States

Milhouse other than its a government if only local building might agree with you.

    Milhouse in reply to Skip. | November 18, 2023 at 10:39 am

    1. You said nowhere.

    2. The first amendment certainly applies to government buildings!

    3. Governments have the first amendment right to fly whatever flag they like from their own buildings.

    4. If a government creates a public forum, as Boston (and formerly North Andover) did in creating a process for anyone to have a flag flown over the town hall, then it must allow terrorist flags, stars and bars, swastikas, and whatever else people apply for in the normal way. That is not government speech, so it cannot control it. That’s why North Andover changed its policy.

Surely if it is legal to burn an American flag, it must also be legal to burn a Palestinian or any other flag.

Take down the flagpole for “renovation” then erect a new one under the new guidelines that don’t honor terrorist groups. Are there no people with brains up there?

    Milhouse in reply to diver64. | November 18, 2023 at 10:42 am

    There’s no need to do that. If the city wanted to take down the terrorist flag, all it would have to do is say that since the policy has changed the public forum is now closed, and the new policy has taken effect. There’s no requirement that notice be given before closing a public forum.

    They’ve decided to fly the terrorist flag for a month out of a sense of “fairness”, but it’s misplaced.

Victor Immature | November 18, 2023 at 6:03 am

In MA, it’s all about trying to out-liberal which ever town is considered most woke. Cambridge is eliminating algebra from middle school and Christmas trees were verboten long ago on city property. NA is over run with jackholes trying to prove they’re not white supremacists.

Is not this what happens when wanting to please everyone, we allow one and all to be heard. Isn’t that “free speech?” Yet isn’t flying a flag, any flag, from a public pole, a tacit admission of agreement? I’m pretty sure we know what would have happened had this been a Confederate Flag rather than a Palestinian one. Would not the best policy for public poles to be that this is only for, name your list, flags. That way we’d know in advance what’s permissible and what is not. North Andover should be setting a different example, one in which no one is pleased. Such is politics today.

    Milhouse in reply to OregonJon. | November 19, 2023 at 2:32 am

    Yet isn’t flying a flag, any flag, from a public pole, a tacit admission of agreement?

    Not if there is a policy of flying whatever flags people request. That makes it a public forum, where it’s understood that the opinions expressed are not those of the government.

    That’s what happened in Boston, where the city tried to exclude a Christian flag and lost in court.

    The Supreme Court made this distinction very clear in its two decisions on vanity plates and specialty plates. It ruled that specialty plates are the state’s speech, and therefore the state is entitled to exclude messages it doesn’t like, whereas vanity plates are the driver’s speech, so any restrictions the state puts on them must be viewpoint-neutral.

    The same applies to flags. Where it is the city that decides which flags it will fly, and public submissions are treated purely as suggestions, it is entitled to discriminate; but where it usually plays no editorial role and just lets people nominate whatever flags they like, then it can’t discriminate against flags it doesn’t like.