Soros-Backed Activist Group Pushes High School 'Walk Out for Gaza'

Arab Resource and Organizing Center, backed by Tides Center, says Israel 'entirely responsible for unfolding violence'

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
October 18, 2023

An activist group backed by a progressive California funding powerhouse is urging high schoolers around the country to join a "Walk Out for Gaza" protest on Wednesday. Suggested chants include "Israel Israel you can’t hide, We charge you with genocide," and "Free Free Palestine."

The San Francisco-based Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), a "fiscally sponsored project" of the George Soros-funded Tides Center, is also circulating media talking points—saying the United States is "complicit" in the "genocide" of Palestinians and must demand an immediate ceasefire—and signs that read "Decolonize Palestine" and "Palestine Will be Free." Teens are encouraged to recruit their classmates, and at a designated time on Wednesday to stand up and start chanting in class before moving the protest outside.

The high school walk-out follows days of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic protests at universities across the country that have made Jewish students fear for their safety. It also highlights the money and organization behind these demonstrations. AROC already co-sponsored an "All Out for Palestine" rally in San Francisco the day after Hamas’s Oct. 8 terrorist attack on Israel which left more than 1,000 civilians dead and thousands more injured. At that protest, Palestinian demonstrators told Jewish counter-protesters that it was a "beautiful day," and shouted, "The intifada lives! Palestine lives!"

The Tides Center, AROC’s funder, is the fiscal sponsorship arm of a major Democratic funding network that includes the grant-making Tides Foundation, a political advocacy group, and a donor-advised fund—all of which bankroll progressive causes or candidates. Liberal billionaire Soros is one of the network’s prominent donors, giving nearly $1.7 million to the Tides Center,  nearly $1.2 million to the Tides Foundation, and nearly $23 million to its advocacy enterprise in 2021 through his Open Society Foundations.

Representatives for the Tides Center and Open Society Foundations did not respond to a request for comment.

AROC declares on its webpage that it "holds the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence we’ve witnessed across historic Palestine."

"In the face of such violence we recommit ourselves to the struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine, in our region, and globally," the group states.

In its walk-out "toolkit" for Wednesday, the group includes an X, formerly Twitter, video post from Palestinian activist Mohammed el-Kurd that says media portrayal of the Hamas government is a sign of how "totalitarianism operates in Western media to dehumanize Palestinians"—along with the image of hands holding puppet strings. He warns viewers not to be "complicit in genocide." AROC also links to Palestine Legal, a pro-Palestinian legal advocacy group supporting Harvard Law students who blamed Israel for the Hamas terror attacks.

News of the walk-out has unsettled Jewish families in the California Bay Area, where AROC is headquartered. The local Jewish Community Relations Council sent out an alert Monday to resident Jewish families, urging them to make sure their school districts commit to protecting their children during the protests.

"We are extremely concerned by this action, the messaging, and its impact on Jewish students’ safety and sense of belonging," council CEO Tyler Gregory and other officials wrote in a letter to families obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

A spokesman for the council said the Bay Area Jewish community has seen a spike in anti-Jewish rhetoric, particularly online, since the Hamas attacks. After a Friday rally in San Francisco, red-paint graffiti was left on a storefront window on San Francisco’s Market Street that read: "Death to Zionism, Kill a Settler."