The City of Dallas has refused to provide information about a pro-Palestine rally downtown, citing a “cybersecurity incident.”
The “All Out for Palestine” rally on October 15 drew hundreds of protesters. It was hosted by a coalition of pro-Palestine groups, including some who praised Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel. The Dallas Express, on the following day, filed an open records request for any City permit documents related to the event. The City responded on October 18, saying it was unable to process the request due to a “cybersecurity incident.”
“Due to a cybersecurity incident, the City is experiencing service interruption and is working to restore services,” the Open Records Unit told The Dallas Express. “Additionally, various City departments are unable to access records, including information maintained solely in digital format, such as e-mails, and compliance with the request is not feasible at this time.”
“Expect delays in receiving responsive records. We anticipate providing documents within ten business days of when the City fully restores access to digital information. Please consider resubmitting your request at a later time. We appreciate your patience during this time,” the unit added.
Officials have not responded to questions asking for more information about this supposed cybersecurity incident.
The City told The Dallas Express on October 23 that it has no records regarding the “All Out for Palestine” rally. The request was then closed by the City and referred as a separate request to the police department, which sent an identical message about delays due to a cybersecurity incident. The police department has yet to complete the request despite later honoring an unrelated records request submitted by The Dallas Express without referencing a cybersecurity delay.
Benji Gershon, president of Dallas Jewish Conservatives, expressed his disapproval of the rally and emphasized that the City should not associate in any way with groups that promote hate.
“If they are protesting with hate speech and protesting as pro-Hamas, then they should not be allowed to be put on by the City,” Gershon told The Dallas Express. “I don’t see why the City would want to allocate resources towards that.”
Three groups that hosted the “All Out for Palestine” rally — the Palestinian Youth Movement, the Dallas Anti-War Committee, and the Muslim American Society (MAS) — openly praised the attacks on Israel this month, as reported by The Dallas Express. These attacks left an estimated 1,400 Israelis dead. There were reports of Hamas militants burning innocent families in their homes, killing infants, and engaging in a mass shooting of teenagers and young adults at a music festival.
“Last night, the resistance in Gaza led a heroic attack against the occupation and has taken over 30 hostages, including Brigadier General Nimrom Aloni,” the Palestinian Youth Movement posted on Facebook the morning after the terrorist attacks. “Their march toward liberation is as monumental as their rockets — the resistance will free the prisoners who have been facing a fascist attack by the occupation and liberate our land from the fangs of the enemy.”
The Dallas Anti-War Committee planned an event the day after Hamas’ attacks, which it praised as an “unprecedented advance.”
“3pm at the grassy knoll tomorrow, we will be standing in solidarity with the unprecedented advance in Palestinian resistance!” the group posted on Facebook.
The MAS also expressed its “unwavering support” for Palestine.
“The United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), which MAS is a part of, reaffirms its unwavering support for the Palestinian people and their ongoing struggle against the Israeli occupation,” the group posted.