Three women arrested during a violent protest at Israeli-owned Elbit Systems in Merrimack now face prison time.
Weeks after his office took over the case, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella announced felony indictments Friday against left-wing activists Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Calla Walsh.
A grand jury convened in Hillsborough Superior Court — South handed up charges against the three for riot, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, burglary, and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence. Each charge carries a potential three-and-a-half to seven-year prison sentence.
Walsh, 19, is a progressive political star in Massachusetts who led the teen army that helped get Democrat U.S. Sen. Ed Markey elected. She’s also faced repeated charges of antisemitism.
Walsh is active in the anti-Israel “Boycott/Divest/Sanction (BDS) movement, which many critics say is antisemitic due to its sole focus on the Jewish State. More problematic is Walsh’s involvement in the so-called “Boston Mapping Project,” which created an interactive map identifying places where Jews tended to congregate as well as the locations of Jewish community organizations in Massachusetts. The map included locations of Jewish daycares and schools.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Mapping Project identifies Jewish communal groups as “‘Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit” and accused not only of “supporting the colonization of Palestine” but also of “violence worldwide.”
Walsh’s criminal record includes arrests for her stunts targeting Jewish and Israeli-owned businesses. Walsh was arrested last year at the Elbit Systems location in Cambridge, Mass., along with Ross, a 22-year-old woman from the Bay State.
Shergalis, 27, is a star of a different sort. The Connecticut resident is a former Disney Channel actress who has appeared in shows like “So Random” on Disney, “See Dad Run” on Nickelodeon, and “Criminal Minds” on CBS.
Police recently caught up with Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass. Belanger is now facing charges similar to the other three, like criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage, though a grand jury has not yet indicted her.
Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis were arrested on the roof of the Elbit facility in Merrimack, armed with spray paint and incendiary devices.
Police were called to the business on Daniel Webster Highway for reports of people blocking the entrance and smoke coming from the roof. According to a Merrimack Police Department press release, “Officers discovered the front of the building had been spray painted with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one of the main lobby doors had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device.”
The three women reportedly lit flares and took them to the roof, where more damage was found.
“While we support the rights of protesters to peacefully express their views, what our workforce experienced in Merrimack, N.H. was violent behavior planned by protesters that resulted in several arrests made by local law enforcement,” Elbit America said in a statement. “We take the safety and well-being of our employees extremely seriously, and we will continue to work closely with local officials at all of our sites to ensure safety for all.”
The attack on Elbit’s Daniel Webster Highway location is part of a long-standing campaign by Palestine Action US. Elbit Systems of America’s parent company – Israel-based Elbit Systems – is the largest defense contractor for Israel. Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”
Communist multi-millionaire James “Fergie” Chambers paid the cash bail for Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis. Chambers himself takes part in Palestine Action US, though he denies any official role in the group. Chambers started a commune in rural western Massachusetts where Belanger reportedly lives.
While New Hampshire Democrats have largely been silent on the Elbit story, Republicans have been highly critical of the vandalism. A week after the attack, a group of Republican lawmakers from the Merrimack area waved signs of support for the Elbit workers outside the facility. Among the sign wavers was GOP candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte.
“I am glad that the attorney general is pursuing criminal charges,” Ayotte told NHJournal after news of the indictments broke. “The vandalism, damage, and hate targeted at Elbit Systems was despicable and unacceptable. As governor, I will stand strongly against the antisemitism and hatred being pushed by the progressive left Hamas sympathizers.”
Chuck Morse, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination, commended Formella “for upholding our state’s core values of law and order.
“We must resist the acceptance of Democrat soft-on-crime policies that encourage criminal activity here in our Granite State. As a dedicated advocate for Israel, I deeply appreciate the ongoing support extended to our Jewish community in New Hampshire. As governor, I will continue to stand against antisemitic attacks,” Morse said.
Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis are all due in court next week.