An extremist group that believes black Americans and other people of color are the real descendants of the ancient Israelites clashed Saturday with pro-Palestine protesters in Chicago while police attempted to calm the two groups. 

The sometimes violent exchanges between pro-Palestine protesters and members or supporters of Black Hebrew Israelites followed a march around the Chicago Loop organized by a group called the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, police said.  

Pro-Palestine and pro-Hamas protesters chanted their demand for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Thirty minutes into the march, altercations began to break out among the thousands of protesters, CBS News Chicago reported. Video reports show members and supporters of Black Hebrew Israelites and pro-Palestine groups violently attacking each other, some using flags as weapons and others throwing objects.  

One pro-Palestine protester was caught on video shouting the N-word at Black Hebrew Israelites during the conflict between demonstrators, revealing more of the complexity of historic Middle East issues. 

Since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists from the adjoining Gaza Strip killed 1,400 in Israel in surprise attacks, most of them civilians, pro-Palestine groups across the world have blamed Israel and chanted in support of exterminating Jews. (In Sydney, Australia, pro-Palestine protesters chanted “Gas the Jews” on Oct. 9.) 

Hamas governs Gaza, which is populated by Palestinians, and the terrorist group had threatened and fought with Israel for years before the Oct. 7 massacre. Since those attacks, Israel has pounded Gaza in a counteroffensive aimed at eliminating Hamas.

Black Hebrew Israelites are known for their antisemitism and for teaching adherents that God will make whites slaves and force them into “eternal servitude” for being “spawns of the devil,” CNN reported in 2019.

“Black Hebrew Israelites are not Jews and black Jews are not the same as Black Hebrew Israelites,” the Anti-Defamation League says in an extensive 2020 backgrounder on its website. “Black Jews and Jews of color are genuine members of the Jewish faith.”

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas remains unlikely.  

“Just as the United States would not agree to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a press conference in Tel Aviv. 

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

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