How 19-year-old Selma Khayal led North Andover to fly the Palestinian flag despite protests from Jewish residents

NORTH ANDOVER, MASSACHUSETTS: North Andover, a town in Massachusetts, raised the Palestinian flag in its community around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 14, despite furious outrage from residents.

The black, white, green and red flag of the Palestine Liberation Organization was reportedly raised following the approval of a request from 19-year-old student Selma Khayal.

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During the meeting, which was held on Monday evening, supporters of Palestine argued that it was only right that their flag was raised after that of Israel, following the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 october.

While Selma, a finance student at Bentley University, has not spoken publicly since the flag raising, her sister Jenna, who spoke at the town hall meeting, said the flag does not was neither hateful nor “terrorist”.

“No one should be protesting anyone else’s flag. We live in a free country, it’s our first amendment right. We won’t let anyone take this from us and we won’t take it from anyone else,” Jenna said at NBC. Boston.

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She reportedly spoke on her sister’s behalf at the town meeting, insisting that the flag represents nothing other than “peace” and the Palestinian people.

Selma Khayal’s appeal approved despite city’s new flag flying bylaw

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Khayal had initially requested that the Palestinian flag be raised on October 16, just six hours before the city updated its flag display policy.

The old policy allowed anyone to request that a flag be flown in the city after approval by the select committee, “which results in the flagpole being considered a public forum.”

But, with the new policy, the city has eliminated the possibility of the flagpole being used as a public forum and, instead, will limit itself to “statements of government speech only,” with the council citing the unanimous Supreme Court decision of 2022 on Shurtleff. against Boston.

After a night filled with passionate public comments in North Andover, the Palestinian flag is raised this morning at the township following the unanimous vote of the Select Board #7News

— Steve Cooper (@scooperon7) November 14, 2023

Selected boards must decide on flags in a content-neutral manner, under Rule 9-0, unless the city limits the use of flagpoles to official declarations exclusively.

“It is the policy of North Andover (Town) that its flagpoles located at the Town Common are not intended to serve as a forum for public free expression, but rather to express the official sentiments of the Town,” the statement reads. updated policy. .

Since Khayal’s request was filed before the policy was changed, the board processed the petition in accordance with previous guidelines and permitted discussion at a select board meeting, which was held on November 13, according to the New York Post.

Police responsible for securing the Palestinian flag

Due to the large number of complaints regarding the raising of the Palestinian flag, North Andover police officers were forced to tie the rope to the top of the flag to prevent anyone from taking it down.

Additionally, it was reported that officers removed an “offensive” sign that had been placed near the flag and replaced it with a permit proving approval of the flag.

North Andover’s decision to raise the Palestinian flag sparked furious outrage, with Marc Freedman, president of North Andover’s Congregation Ahavat Olam, calling it disgusting.

“The city was cowardly,” Freedman said, adding, “I don’t think the flag should have been raised because today it is a symbol of hatred and anti-Semitism,” according to Fox News Digital.

Rabbi Idan Irelander, who leads Congregation Ahavat Olam, also told NBC he was disappointed by the administration’s decision.

He said: “As a Jewish community we are very disappointed. Unfortunately, today the Palestinian flag represents hatred, war, anti-Semitism. The raising of the Israeli flag was obviously in solidarity with an American ally. ”

According to the permit, the Palestinian flag will remain in place until December 7.

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