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Over a hundred people join Norman Finkelstein for civil disobedience outside the Israeli consulate in midtown Manhattan

on 16 Comments
Demonstrators lay in the crosswalk on Second Avenue in New York City. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Demonstrators lay in the crosswalk on Second Avenue in New York City. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Norman Finkelstein reached his goal yesterday afternoon, a quorum of at least 100 people to protest the latest Gaza massacre outside the Israeli consulate in midtown Manhattan.

On Monday Finkelstein put a call for civil disobedience on his website, announcing his intention to get arrested while demonstrating at Israel’s mission to the UN. “However, I don’t believe in individual acts of martyrdom,” he wrote. “It’s got to be a collective action. If one hundred people either sign up to get arrested or to be there in solidarity, I’ll be there too.”

Finkelstein being arrested. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Finkelstein being arrested. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Although Finkelstein had not quite collected that many names as of Tuesday morning, he said he would go ahead head anyway:

“Politics is not just about quantity, it’s also about quality.
We don’t know each other but we are united by a common conviction:
The terror bombing and blockade of Gaza must end now!”

In the event, more than one hundred people appeared to be on hand, as well as dozens of police. At half-past noon a vanguard of demonstrators lay in the crosswalk on Second Avenue, blocking southbound traffic for several minutes, until officers began making arrests. Finkenstein was adamant that the entire intersection not be blocked. Around 25 people were cuffed and loaded into paddy wagons, including Finkelstein and Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin.

Corey Robin is led away by police. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Corey Robin is led away by police. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

As those in the street were rounded up, others chanted and documented the arrests. Someone read from a pocket copy of the United States’ founding documents; weirdly, the one phrase I heard her say distinctly was “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Familiar refrains were shouted—“Not another nickel, not another dime…” “Occupation’s got to go”—but one in particular stood out, given the nature of Operation Protective Edge: “Hey, Bibi, whaddaya say, / How many kids did you kill today?”

(Photo: Eamon Murphy)

(Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Eamon Murphy

Eamon Murphy is a journalist in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @epmurph.

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16 Responses

  1. Justpassingby on July 30, 2014, 12:41 pm

    You can tell Norman is desperate, I applaude him, who isnt? Just read another 20 palestinians massacred within the hour!

  2. chet on July 30, 2014, 1:39 pm

    Bravo Norman Finkelstein!!

  3. Jackdaw on July 30, 2014, 2:28 pm

    Norm, the angry young man has grown into an angry old man.

    Justice is a demanding mistress and I get tell you that there’s a lot more to life than vainly trying to propitiate her.

    • Hostage on July 31, 2014, 4:51 pm

      @ Jackdaw replying to your comment here:

      You stated “Did you know that,the Palestinian narrative of Lydda has a grenade thrown at the Israelis from inside or nearby the small mosque.”

      I pointed out that none of the Palestinian sources cited by Kramer said there were grenades thrown from inside the mosque. Your reply that the Military governor appointed by the Zionist militia, Shmarya Gutman, said as much is largely irrelevant, since he’s Jewish, not Palestinian and one of the commanders who was complicit in the ethnic cleansing operation and the massacre.

      We have the text of Plan Dalet which establishes that Arab villages were supposed to be subjected to unprovoked attacks and probes and that any civilians which defended themselves were to be driven beyond the borders of Eretz Israel (Mandate Palestine) when possible. We also have Rabin’s biography which establishes that Ramle and Lydda were ethnically cleansed. So there’s no doubt that premeditated war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed. Likewise there’s nothing in Shmarya Gutman’s 1980s account that alters the fact that the official reports in 1948 said that 250 people were killed in the Lydda operation.

      The rest of your hypothetical questions employ the same tactics used by Holocaust deniers. The fact that one man says 70 were killed in the mosque and another reports that 120 were killed or that one man says a burial detail was massacred and another says the burial detail he served on wasn’t doesn’t alter the fact that both men agree the people in the mosque were massacred with a Piat and were buried.

      If the people in the small mosque were not detainees, as Gutman testifies, supra, than how was the Palmach to know who was inside?

      It was their job to find out. You quote one person who you say “surmised” that the grenade came from the mosque, who immediately ordered the Piat to be fired without even knowing who was inside. The laws and customs of war, Hague IV Articles 25 and 27, require that you make certain that you are not attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended. You are also required to ascertain for certain that buildings used for religious purposes or which shelter non-combatants are actually being used for military purposes before they are placed under siege or bombardment.

      What you and the eye witnesses describe is by definition a massacre. People took shelter in the mosque thinking they would be safe and they were killed indiscriminately. That’s especially true, since afterward, no one involved reported finding any weapons inside and none of the Palestinian witnesses say that grenades were thrown from inside the mosque. Hague IV Article 23 explains that it is prohibited to kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or no no longer having any means of defense had taken shelter in the mosque. The action you are condoning is tantamount to declaring that no quarter will be given.

    • Hostage on July 31, 2014, 5:08 pm

      Hostage said: ” Martin Kramer is nothing but Nakba denial”

      Kramer’s intent from the beginning, was to refute Ari Shavit’s book, and no more. Shavit’s refusal to address Kramer on this issue speaks volumes.

      Kramer admits he has no proof that the massacre didn’t occur, but nonetheless wants to cast doubt over the historical accounts that say it did:

      It would have been quite an accomplishment to put to rest the “massacre” claim or “effectively” disprove it. My purpose was more modest. I sought to plant a seed of doubt

      When you publicly deny, condone, or trivialize eyewitness accounts about the type of crimes listed in Article 6 of the IMT at Nuremburg or Articles 6,7, and 8 of the Rome Statute which target a particular ethnic group, that’s a form of hate speech, for example Holocaust or Nakba denial. The fact is that Kramer has no incontrovertible evidence that would justify his behavior and neither do you. I’d suggest you drop this fruitless discussion before you get banned.

      • Jackdaw on August 1, 2014, 5:19 am


        “I’d suggest you drop this fruitless discussion before you get banned.”

        Have you just brandished the ‘big stick’?

      • annie on August 1, 2014, 12:33 pm

        jack, hostage has no authority on this blog to carry a stick, he’s not on staff. however i would take his warning to heart unless you want to be banned as you are engaging in nakba denial which is against site rules (referencing your last comment that didn’t clear). go to another site if historical revision is your bag.

  4. rensanceman on July 30, 2014, 3:32 pm

    His writings and debates with Dershowitz aroused my social conscience to the degree that I have burning desire to expose the malicious cruelty of the Occupier and work to stop this brutal Monster’s treatment of the Palestinians. His comments and views in BDS were certainly dismaying, but I do hope that he writes another book on this current massacre. But what title can top “This time, they went too far ?”

  5. michelle on July 30, 2014, 4:30 pm

    hey Obama whaddaya say how many kids did you kill today
    G-d Bless

  6. Cliff on July 30, 2014, 4:31 pm

    Love Norman. He’s a real hero, who has devoted most of his life to defending the occupied and colonized and oppressed.

  7. DICKERSON3870 on July 30, 2014, 5:32 pm

    RE: “Hey, Bibi, whaddaya say, / How many kids did you kill
    ~ chanted by protesters

    BIBI NETANYAHU: “[A] man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do . . .” ~ Brian Williams interview, NBC Nightly News, 7/21/14

    • Raksha on July 30, 2014, 5:52 pm

      RE: “Hey, Bibi, whaddaya say, / How many kids did you kill today?” ~ chanted by protesters

      BIBI NETANYAHU: “[A] man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do . . .” ~ Brian Williams interview, NBC Nightly News, 7/21/14

      He actually said that? Presumably with a straight face too. I admit I didn’t read the citation carefully the first time, so I assumed it was from The Onion.

      This is basically just a shout-out, Larry. I’m Linda from you-know-where. I’ve been lurking here for a while, and recently retrieved my password so I could start posting. There aren’t many places in cyberspace where a sane Jew (relatively sane anyway) can talk freely about the current happenings in Israel.

      I almost said there aren’t many sane Jews in cyberspace, but there are actually quite a few of them. Most tend to keep quiet on the subject of Israel, but that could be changing.


      • DICKERSON3870 on August 1, 2014, 3:52 am

        RE: “He actually said that? Presumably with a straight face too.”

        Netanyahu: ‘A Man’s Gotta Do, What a Man’s Gotta Do’
        In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that while he is worried about public opinion, Israel has no choice but to defend itself.
        Published July 21st 2014, 12:40 pm

        Perhaps you’re detecting there what we’ve been detecting here however, and that is that this time the capacity of even your allies to watch this seems to differ a little bit. We heard our own secretary of state in an unguarded moment while wearing a microphone yesterday– mocking the pinpoint operation aspect of the IDF attacks. That, plus the rise of social media, are you more worried now about losing public opinion?

        Well, it’s always the case. And look, I could tell you that in this case we not only showered them with leaflets, we– we call them on cell phones, we text them. And we had 20 soldiers killed, 20 soldiers killed, some very fine commanders. And they had a few dozen killed. By the way, according to our estimates, about half of them were combatants. So this happens in every war. And especially in one in which Hamas embeds itself in the– amid civilian population and prevents the civilian population from leaving.

        Am I worried that this will have an effect? Of course it does. But you know, at a certain point you say what choice have you got? What would you do? What would you do if American cities where you’re sitting now, Brian, would be rocketed, would absorb hundreds of rockets? You know– you know, what would you say?

        You’d say to your leader, “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” And you’d say, “A country’s gotta do what a country’s gotta do.” We have to defend ourselves. We try to do it with a minimum amount of force or with targeting military targets as best as we can. But we’ll act to defend ourselves. No country can live like this.


        VIDEO –

  8. dbroncos on July 30, 2014, 11:10 pm

    Thanks to Norman Finkelstein and all the others who joined him there!

  9. MSeveral on July 31, 2014, 11:05 am

    I am underwhelmed by the turn-out. It again exposes the weakness of the Pro-Palestinian constituency. Walt and Mersheimer should write a sequel to the Israel Lobby. It could be called the Non-existent Palestine Lobby. It is not just the strengths of the Israel Lobby that should be mentioned as there is another side of the equation–the weakness of the Palestine Lobby. When I see the pro-Palestine people having wasted their time and energy on the BDS movement and its ridiculous goal of resettling 7 million Palestinians in what is now the State of Israel, rather than spending their time highlighting the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza during the past two years, I have to conclude that in part that is a reason only 100 people joined the demonstration.

  10. LanceThruster on July 31, 2014, 4:47 pm

    Your Hasbara is weak. The movement for justice in Palestine is strong and getting stronger. Palestine will be FREE.

    MURDER as COVER for
    is NOT *self-defense*

    It’s a war crime.

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