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Furl this latest flag dispute

Post & Courier - 2/3/2018

South Carolinians are big on flags, and homeowners associations are, well, persnickety about their subdivision rules. So maybe it’s not surprising that a West Ashley homeowner doesn’t see eye to eye with his HOA’s insistence that he ought to take down the Israeli flag that flies daily from his balcony.

Keith Woodard and his wife aren’t backing down in their tiff with the Creekside at Carolina Bay homeowners association, which has been fining the couple $25 per month for flying the blue-and-white flag emblazoned with the Star of David.

“I’m a Gulf War veteran, and I have an American flag on my home, with spotlights,” Mr. Woodard, an Air Force veteran and contractor for the Navy, told Post and Courier reporter David Slade. “If I’m in a position where I don’t want people to know we’re a Jewish family, then I’m in the wrong country.”

“People put up flags for their favorite [sports] teams,” he added.

The Woodards planned to fly the Israeli flag only temporarily. Now they say they aren’t taking it down, flying it from a second-floor balcony alongside an American flag. Susanna Agrest-Woodard, who hails from the former Soviet Union, said she applied to the homeowners association for a religious exemption, but it was denied.

On his Facebook page, Mr. Woodard says he’s contacted Breitbart News, Fox News, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and others about his plight. Mr. Woodard also put up blue lights for Passover, and the HOA complained about those, too, according to Mr. Slade.

A regional spokeswoman for Pulte Homes, the housing developer that controls the HOA, says there are provisions for temporary waivers for flags and other non-conforming regalia, and the Woodards could resubmit an application.

The whole situation might be laughable if it didn’t reflect a growing inflexibility in the land of the free. In this case, the homeowners association would be wise to run up a white flag, and seek an accommodation with the Woodards. We don’t need another flag controversy.


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