Bus Drivers "Walk Off" to Stop Jews From Joining DC Rally

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

There were hundreds of thousands of people at the pro-Israel march in Washington yesterday, but there were even more who wanted to attend but were intentionally blocked from doing so. Hundreds of Jewish people and other supporters flew from Detroit to Dulles Airport in Virginia yesterday morning to attend the rally. But upon landing, the charter buses that had been arranged to take them to the march failed to appear. They were initially given conflicting stories about what was causing the delay but later learned that the bus drivers had staged an intentional “sick-out” that day to avoid having to drive the Jews into the capital. The work stoppage was referred to as an “anti-protest,” but it was clearly antisemitic in nature and intended to block the travelers. The company may be facing legal issues over this, but the damage has already been done. Most of the people were kept at the airport all day and never made it to the rally.

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Hundreds of Jewish people headed to Tuesday’s pro-Israel rally in DC were left stranded when bus drivers staged “a deliberate and malicious walk-off,’’ a major Jewish organization said.

The “anti-protest” left the three chartered flights from Detroit — about 900 people — on the Dulles Airport tarmac for more than seven hours before being sent back home, causing them to miss the entire March for Israel event.

“I thought it was nuts, I thought it was crazy that we’re blocked from getting to the rally,” Jonathan Kaufman told The Post, adding that there were “frantic” calls to find out what was happening as they were stranded for hours.

This event dragged on all day. The passengers were initially told that their buses were “struggling to get through security” and onto the tarmac. But more than an hour later they were informed about the walk-off by the drivers. After three hours, a few buses did show up and they were funneled onto them, only to be ejected again after learning that the buses had been reserved by other groups. After that, they were forced back onto their planes for safety reasons.

I couple of dozen people from the group did make it to the rally by other means. That was nice for them, but even after the rally ended, the passengers had to remain waiting on the plane until that group made it back for the return trip. And the people from Detroit weren’t the only ones to deal with this issue. Hundreds of people in Westport, Connecticut who chartered buses to go to the rally were similarly left stranded without drivers. Rather than giving up, however, the group piled into 38 cars and just drove to Washington instead.

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The bus company could be facing legal trouble if this stunt was approved by the management. And if they didn’t approve it, they should be within their rights to fire the drivers who called in sick. There’s a reason that public transit workers are not allowed to go on strike in some places. Their absence affects more than just the company they work for. It impacts the entire community. That may or may not apply to charter bus companies, but the downstream effects are the same.

The wasn’t just “a strike” by workers who wanted to negotiate with their company, though. This was a directed antisemitic plot targeting Jewish travelers. They weren’t just preventing the passengers from taking part in the March for Israel. They were making the overall attendance at the march smaller, diminishing the media impact and giving the impression that support for Israel isn’t as strong as it really is. In that sense, this really was an “attack” in the most basic sense of the word. An attack such as this should have consequences for those who participated. This event shouldn’t be written off as just another random group of anti-Israel bad actors causing a stir. The drivers and/or the company should be made to pay a price.

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David Strom 1:20 PM | July 18, 2024
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