inside sources print logo
Get up to date New Hampshire news in your inbox

Sununu Calls Campus Protesters ‘Useful Idiots’ for Hamas

Students protesting against Israel’s war with Hamas are “useful idiots” enabling a murderous terror organization dedicated to killing Jews, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

“This is a war… this isn’t a policy dispute. This isn’t some geographic border discussion. This is one group, a terrorist organization called Hamas that wants to wipe out every Jew on the planet. That’s like their written goal and they don’t shy away from that at all,” Sununu said during an appearance on Drew Cline’s WFEA radio show.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters have appeared on the campuses of the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College, as well as at town council meetings and city halls. Chanting “Long Live the Intifada” and “U.S., Israel, Go to Hell,” they’ve expressed their anger over both the actions of the Israeli government in Gaza, and the existence of the nation of Israel itself.

They are part of a national movement that began soon after the Oct. 7 terror attack, when Hamas members and Gaza civilians swarmed across the border into Israel and murdered, raped, and injured thousands of Israelis. Hamas still holds an estimated 128 hostages, among them five American citizens.

On May 1, a dozen protesters were arrested at UNH while trying to set up an illegal encampment on the campus. There were arrests at the Dartmouth campus in Hanover as well.

Sununu said the college students taking part in the protests are being used by groups with hateful intentions, like the Palestine Solidarity Coalition at UNH.

“They’re kind of using these students, as I would call them, useful idiots, frankly, to promote, ‘Oh, we’re just freedom fighters. This is genocide against Gaza.’ No, it’s genocide against the Israelis and it has been for 50 years now…” Sununu said.

There are numerous radical groups organizing the protests tied together by extremist ideology, and a willingness to work with governments hostile to the United States, according to research by the Network Contagion Research Institute.

Shut It Down for Palestine is an umbrella organization for several radical left-wing groups created on Oct. 11, days after the Hamas attack. Also known as SID4P, the group includes The People’s Forum, ANSWER Coalition, International People’s Assembly, Al Awda NY, National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement, and it has working ties with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, a Marxist group dedicated to overthrowing the United States.

According to the NCRI report, the individual groups are part of an influence network tied to Neville Roy Singham, a far-left businessman who has allegedly disseminated Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

“The People’s Forum, IPA, and ANSWER Coalition serve as the conduit through which CCPaffiliated entities have effectively coopted proPalestinian activism in the U.S., advancing a broader antiAmerican, antidemocratic, and anticapitalist agenda. These three farleft SID4P Convenors are part of a network linked by close financial, interpersonal, and ideological ties to Neville Roy Singham and his wife Jodie Evans, a power couple within the global farleft movement with close ties to the CCP,” the NCRI report states.

Sununu said Thursday the college students getting caught up in the protest movement are easy targets for bad actors like SID4P groups, in part because they know so little about the history of Israel or the Middle East.

“When you don’t have good education in the classroom, the vacuum gets filled by social media and propaganda with these kids,” Sununu said.

Sununu isn’t alone in his view that the protests are being fueled by antisemitism. A Fox News poll released Wedensday found voters oppose the protests by a nearly 60-40 split. Large majorities of voters on both sides of the political aisle also decried the protests as both “pro-Palestinian” and “anti-Israeli.”

“About 6 in 10 voters say the protests are pro-Palestinian (62 percent) and anti-Israeli (58 percent). All other descriptions of the protests are under 50 percent, but not by much: anti-war (49 percent), antisemitic (46 percent), anti-American (43 percent), and pro-Hamas (42 percent),” according to the Fox News poll.

Extremists on the Left Emerging in Granite State Politics

A new force of anti-democratic extremists is taking to New Hampshire’s streets, calling for overthrowing the government while espousing antisemitic hate.

But it’s not far right, white supremacists like NSC-131. It’s the far left, anti-American Marxists in groups like the Party for Socialism and Liberation driving anti-Israel street demonstrations in Manchester and cheering violence against Jewish people.

There’s been no major violence associated with either political fringe in New Hampshire. But Thomas O’Connor, a former FBI agent who specialized in international and domestic terrorism cases, says the danger is greater now than it’s ever been as the state heads into a high-stakes presidential election year.

“The potential for violence in the 2024 election cycle is more than anything I’ve seen in my two-plus decades working on domestic violence extremism,” O’Connor told NHJournal.

On Saturday, vandals keyed the cars of dozens of Republicans attending the state GOP convention in Concord. On Monday, just 48 hours after Iran launched a massive missile and drone attack on Israel, dozens of pro-Palestine protesters gathered near the State House to denounce the Jewish state.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free,” they chanted, a phrase critics say calls for the destruction of the nation of Israel.

Left and right fringe groups have long existed on the American political landscape in an almost symbiotic relationship, O’Connor said. When a right wing fringe group appears to cause trouble, a left wing counterpart will show up, and vice versa. Think of Antifa showing up to counter a Proud Boys demonstration.

The increasing polarization of American politics, fueled by heavy social media use and turbo-charged by the disinformation deployed by America’s foreign adversaries, worries experts like O’Connor. Russia, North Korea, and Iran are all known to use social media to put out extremist content and conspiracy theories in an effort to weaken America by turning citizens against each other, he said.

“The majority of the country is somewhere in the middle, but the extremes are much larger than they were four or five years ago,” O’Connor said.

Though law enforcement needs to be careful to allow everyone to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest and speak out, authorities need to be aware of the potential for violence.

O’Connor’s view is bolstered by a 2021 study published by the Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law and Society. The study found that while the far right engages in more violence and more deadly violence than the far left, the far left proportionally commits more murders than the far right.

“The results indicate that the far right remains the greatest threat to public safety for the most severe form of violence, namely ideologically motivated homicide. However, some interesting nuances highlight areas in which the far left might create cause for concern. The far left has a larger proportion of homicides with multiple fatalities and a slightly higher rate of homicides targeting law enforcement, albeit at a frequency much lower than the far right. The far left might create cause for concern; the far left has a larger proportion of homicides with multiple fatalities and a slightly higher rate of homicides targeting law enforcement, albeit at a frequency much lower than the far right n addition, far left extremist violence has increased over the last five years, showing that there may be socio-political scenarios in which the far left’s threat to domestic security increases to levels much higher than its average over the last three decades,” the study found.

Many Granite Staters are familiar with NSC-131 and its white supremacist antics. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office filed a civil complaint against NSC-131 in February in the Merrimack Superior Court over the group’s alleged threats and harassment of a drag performer at Teatotaler’s Cafe in Concord.

But, the Marxists with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) are going largely unnoticed as they organize anti-Israel protests in Manchester and elsewhere. The PSL has operated in the state for years, and it’s taking a more prominent role since the Oct. 7 Hama atrocities in Israel. Days after more than 1,200 people were murdered by Hamas terrorists, members of PSL held a pro-Palestinian rally on Elm Street in Manchester. As they shouted genocidal slogans like “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” the PSL members simultaneously told NHJournal the murder and rape of Israeli civilians was justified and that it never happened.

“We stand with the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors,” PSL leader Joy Douglas said on Oct. 11. “The U.N. states clearly that those facing oppression, those who are facing apartheid and genocide, have every right to fight back.”

Douglas said that even though Hamas’ Operation Typhoon was justified, it also never happened. No civilians were murdered in their homes, terrorists took no hostages, no concert goers were gunned down.

“There’s no documented evidence that those people are dead,” Douglas said.

In the months since the Oct. 7 attack, PSL has become one of many anti-American Marxist groups targeting Israel in New Hampshire. The PSL is a radical Communist splinter group formed by former members of the World Workers Party in 2004. The PSL is dedicated to fomenting a socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism and the American government.

Eight people were arrested on March 22 in Merrimack at the Elbit Systems facility during a protest that included vandalism and destruction of property. As police responded to the scene, protestors revealed their anti-police and anti-capitalist views.

“Why are the police here defending the capitalists?” one protester was heard shouting at officers. “Why aren’t the police defending the people? Is it because the police are paid by the capitalists?”

It was the second major protest at the Merrimack Elbit facility. Four women are currently charged with felonies for their roles in the November protest that included setting off smoke bombs. Three of those suspects, Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, had their bail paid by James “Fergie” Chambers, a multi-millionaire Marxist who moved to New Hampshire in order to avoid taxes.

Chambers is involved in various anti-police and anti-Israel protest movements throughout the country. He recently told left-leaning Mother Jones magazine, “I think the most important thing for the prosperity of humanity is the destruction of the US.”

Chambers also called Russian President Vladimir Putin “one of the better statesmen of our century,” and he described Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack as “a moment of hope and inspiration for tens of millions of people,” according to Mother Jones.

Hate Crimes Talk Worries Communist Millionaire Funding Anti-Israel Protests

A key figure in the New Hampshire anti-Israel protest movement, multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers, says the new focus on hate crimes by federal and state law enforcement has him worried.

He acknowledged the topic is controversial but doesn’t believe the response is proportional.

“Yeah, this insane backlash equating us with Nazis, charging our friends with insane stuff for what amounts to vandalism….who knows at this point?” Chambers, who lives in the Granite State, told NHJournal via text.

But that wasn’t the only thing Chambers has typed up as of late. For example, the avowed opponent of the nation of Israel posted on Facebook last month, “Make Zionists afraid.”

According to an article in The Free Press, he has also written, “We need to start making people who support Israel actually afraid to go out in public. We need to make all of white America afraid that everything they have stolen is going to be burned to the ground. That’s what makes them listen.”

It is rhetoric like that, along with an increase in anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, that has New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella beefing up the state’s Civil Rights Unit with an additional attorney and more support staff. Formella announced the move after activists with Palestinian Action USA struck the Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack last month. The three women arrested for the vandalism attack were all promptly bailed out by Chambers.

Elbit Systems USA is an Israeli-owned company best known for its work in weapons and aviation. However, the Merrimack facility also does work for the company’s medical instrumentation division.

Formella and Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke have both said they are looking at the Palestinian Action USA protestors for possible Civil Rights Act violations. And the organization itself, which is partially funded by Chambers, could be held accountable as well. 

The possibility he and his comrades could be charged with antisemitic harassment due to their anti-Zionist activism upsets Chambers.

“[Of course] the hate crime rhetoric is concerning, but I think any attorney worth a darn will tell you that weapons companies are not a protected group, lol,” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “In the end, it behooves a ‘Free State’ to back off of this kind of grandstanding. I really don’t believe that the people of New Hampshire are especially committed to Zionism, even if political lobbyists are.”

Though Chambers has maintained the protests against Elbit are focused on stopping a weapons manufacturer, he has not been shy about saying Israel has no right to exist.

“Israel does not deserve to exist,” Chambers told LA Magazine. “It is a false state propped up by the West.”

Chambers is a member of the Cox family, worth about $34 billion, according to reports. Chambers essentially negotiated an early inheritance with the family trust, allowing him to walk away with a reported $250 million. 

The fact the Coxes still own the company outright makes them the eighth richest family in America, with a net worth of around $34 billion.

Chambers has been using his fortune to spread the Gospel of Marx, setting up a commune in Massachusetts, a “People’s” gym in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley, and engaging in protests across the country. He is even footing the bill when fellow activists get arrested.

“I support a ton of bail funds for protestors and folks facing state repression,” Chambers said.

Despite being self-identified as a founding member of Palestinian Action USA, Chambers denied he is, technically, a founder or bankrolling the group or that he has a real leadership role within Palestinian Action USA at all. Chambers is just another activist, albeit one with more cash.

“PAL Action is not now and never was an ‘org,’” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “It is a social media platform that shares news of direct actions people have taken against Elbit or other weapons companies. We’ve shared things in Cali, VA, TX, MA, NH, etc. If someone sends us [something], we share it. Bears zero connection to who did it.”

When it comes to Palestinian Action USA, Chambers is just another member of the organization that isn’t an organization, he said.

“I [definitely] participated in the Cambridge [Mass.] action, and I spray painted a McDonald’s in D.C. Other actions I have zero say about. Pal Action UK provides training to people. I was a founding organizer because I did the first action in Cambridge, and I’ve helped with media thereafter. There is no staff, no budget, nothing. As in, there’s nothing to finance.”

When Palestinian Action USA protesters Sophie Marika Ross, 22, of Housatonic, Mass.; Cala Mairead Walsh, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.; and Bridget Irene Shergalis, 27, of Dayville, Conn., were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage for the Merrimack vandalism attack, Chambers ponied up $50,000 to get the three women released. 

“After the fact, I’ve paid bail funds because I do that all over the place,” Chambers wrote. “I’m about to grant a bunch of legal support for Alabama prisoners; I’ve supported the ‘Cop City’ bail and legal funds; I’ve done tons of support for pipeline funds, including when I was at Standing Rock. I’ve never said no to a bail help ask, as is my right as a funded with the 1st amendment.” 

‘Cop City’ is the name progressives, Black Lives Matter members, and Antifa activists have given the Atlanta Police Foundation’s training facility, currently under construction and under protest. Antifa and others have repeatedly attacked the construction site, engaged in riots, and gotten arrested by the score in an attempt to stop the facility’s construction.

Despite numerous stories naming him as a founder and funder for Palestinian Action USA, Chambers said his checkbook support for arrested activists does not mean he’s “bankrolling” the group, which, again, isn’t a group.

“So to say I ‘bankroll Pal Action’ is crazy. There’s literally nothing to bankroll. It’s a network of independent affinity groups, and the social media accounts have shared stuff, while Pal Action UK remains the founders and leaders,” Chambers wrote.

Despite his Marxist, distributiionist politics, Chambers said he moved to New Hampshire last year in part due to the Granite State’s low tax burden. He has plans for the properties he bought in Lebanon, though they are still being worked out.

“I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do with NH at the moment,” Chambers wrote. “We have an office space in Lebanon that was tentatively going to be a free gym and a place to do media and research work, and to offer free office space to local groups who might be in need.”