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Formella Takes Over Elbit Anti-Israel Vandalism Case

New Hampshire’s top cop is taking control of the case against anti-Israel protesters who targeted a Merrimack worksite, a sign of how important the case is to the state of New Hampshire and Gov. Chris Sununu’s administration.

State Attorney General John Formella told NHJournal he plans to make a tough case against the four pro-Palestinian demonstrators arrested for allegedly attacking the Israeli-owned Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack.

“We took these cases because of the important civil rights and public protection interests involved,” Formella said. “We will do everything we can to ensure that these cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that justice is served.”

Prosecutors with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office originally brought the charges against the suspects after they were arrested in November at the Elbit facility on Daniel Webster Highway.

Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, were all arrested Nov. 20 when their protest turned violent, according to police. The three were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage.

“Officers discovered the front of the building had been sprayed with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one main lobby door had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device,” Merrimack Police said in a statement following the incident.

Protesters also lit flares and took them to the roof, where more damage was later found.

A fourth suspect, Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass., was arrested last week.

The assault on the Merrimack facility was supported by the U.S. branch of Palestine Action, an anti-Israel organization that promotes antisemitic views. Six of its members were recently arrested when U.K. authorities foiled a plot targeting the London Stock Exchange.

Formella told NHJournal in December the Palestine Action organization could also face legal consequences for its role in the attack.

“Organizations and entities can be held responsible for the acts of their members. We saw that with NSC-131. We brought an action, not just against two members of NSC-131, but against the organization itself,” Formella said.

NSC-131 is a white supremacy group that hung a “Keep New England White” banner on a Portsmouth bridge last summer.

Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers is identified as a founder of Palestinian Action USA. He has paid bail for the women charged in the case. Chambers claims he is not a leader in the group, but he does participate in protests. He frequently posts bail for activists in a range of protest movements like Palestinian Action, Stop Cop City, and others.

“I’ve never said no to a bail help ask,” Chambers previously told NHJournal via text.

Chambers did not respond to a request for comment on Formella taking over the prosecution of the Elbit case.

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.”