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Watch: New Yorkers pierce through pro-war gathering with chants of ‘stop bombing Gaza now’

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The easiest thing in the world for New York politicians–scratch that, any politician–is voicing support for Israel. It helps their fundraising and vote totals, and anything short of cheering on Israel’s military is a wish for negative media coverage.

But New Yorkers who are fed up with Israel’s assaults on Gaza, and the political class’ full-throated support for operations that kill scores of Palestinian civilians, are trying their damnedest to make Israel/Palestine contested ground. On Monday, dozens of protesters gathered outside the gates of City Hall to voice their anger at New York politicians’ show of support for Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge,” which has killed over 200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

The protesters’ target was a “New York Stands With Israel” press conference organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC)–a powerhouse establishment group–the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York and the Jewish Caucus of the New York City Council. Attendees included Congressional Democrats like Charlie Rangel, Jerry Nadler and Eliot Engel; State Senators and Assemblyman; various City Council members and Ido Aharoni, Israel’s Consul General in New York.

Vice‘s Michael Tracey, whom Nadler called an “ass” for asking about U.S. culpability in the Gaza death toll, has an colorful account of the scene:

One by one, these officials uncritically repeated talking points disseminated by the Israeli government…

[E]merging NYC power-broker David Greenfield, bemoaned the lack of “context” in which the current conflict is depicted by Israel’s critics. Agreeing with the need for additional context, I asked him whether invoking the specter of rockets raining down on Manhattan to justify the current actions of the Israeli government was also devoid of context, given that New York City is not occupying, embargoing, or dropping bombs on a neighboring people.

As Greenfield began to answer the question, a particularly obnoxious New York State Assemblyman, Phillip Goldfeder of Queens, sauntered over. Goldfeder interrupted the conversation by cackling about my concern for Palestinian civilian deaths. When I pointed out that children getting extinguished in the dead of night under questionable pretext is a serious matter, the assemblyman escalated said cackling. Even Councilman Greenfield, who was in the process of defending the Israeli government’s actions and is by all accounts a devout backer of Israel, appeared put off by Goldfeder’s conduct.

As the politicians stepped up to the mic one by one to voice support for Israel, protesters outside the “stand with Israel event”–they weren’t allowed in and demonstrators were removed from City Hall grounds–successfully made their voices heard inside the press conference. Indeed, much of the press coverage of the event led with reports on the demonstrators.

The people outside protesting are protesting because innocent Palestinian civilians have been killed. It would seem to me the protest would be with Hamas because you cannot negotiate for peace if you cannot control those people who are supposed to be your negotiating partners,” Harlem Democratic kingmaker Rangel said at the rally, as the New York Observer’s Ross Barkan reported. After the event was over, City Councilman David Greenfield told reporters that “we had a pro-terrorism rally going on out there.”

This headline-capturing protest comes after New York activists tried to put New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in the hot seat over his remarks to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in which he said being “a defender of Israel” is part of his mayoral job description. De Blasio is often described as representing a new era of Democratic Party politics, one of unabashed progressivism. That progressivism has been wholly absent when it comes to Israel/Palestine. But the activists that gathered outside of City Hall, and that criticized him when he spoke to AIPAC, are at the very least trying to make full-throated support for Israel a controversial position in New York–a surely gargantuan task. 

Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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27 Responses

  1. bilal a on July 16, 2014, 10:40 am

    “Jewish national sovereignty in the Land of Israel”

    How about Gentile national sovereignty in the island of Manhattan?

    Schmucks -(Jackie Mason on Palestine)

    Extremism is not only in Israel.

  2. Marnie on July 16, 2014, 10:41 am

    “Standing with israel also means with standing with peace.” Standing with peace? Peace must mean endless war, death, carnage, land theft, kidnapping, murder, etc. What was Charlie Rangel doing with the bad guys? Resistance is justified when people are occupied!

    • Kay24 on July 16, 2014, 11:41 am

      You have to wonder how they can stand there with straight faces and spew such bull, when the facts show just how “peaceful” Israel is. The numbers, brutality, and the fact that civilians and babies have been the victims of that “peaceful” acts of Israel, totally contradict that fairy tale.

      Rangel is up to his ears in corruption investigations, and not the good guy we all thought he was. He would have easily succumbed to AIPAC’s lucrative offers.

      • lysias on July 16, 2014, 12:59 pm

        Rangel is up to his ears in corruption investigations, and not the good guy we all thought he was. He would have easily succumbed to AIPAC’s lucrative offers.

        Or blackmail.

  3. a blah chick on July 16, 2014, 10:50 am

    Did anyone else catch this? Rangel:”It would seem to me the protest would be with Hamas because you cannot negotiate for peace if you cannot control those people who are supposed to be your negotiating partner…”


    • can of worms on July 16, 2014, 2:49 pm

      “It would seem to me the protest would be with Hamas because you cannot negotiate for peace if you cannot control those people who are supposed to be your negotiating partner…”

      An assemblage of different parts of salvaged, fractured talking points. Looks like the guy didn’t have time, so he just took the different hasbara pieces and jointed them all somehow together as fast as he could.

  4. Kay24 on July 16, 2014, 10:50 am

    Great job by anti occupation/ pro Gaza people Great job. They were able to drown the voices of shameless pro occupiers, and supporters of the massacre, going on in Gaza right now.
    I wish someone asked Nadler when he mentioned Hamas, what he thinks of the real victims here, the majority of civilians, including babies, being killed by the side they openly brown nose. What is that moron and slime ball Curtis Sliwa doing over there? Maybe he should take his angels and help the true victims who are being pummeled by Israel, and losing lives every day.
    Those who stand around that first speaker, seems unhappy they are there.
    Next time those who support freeing the Palestinians must have a bigger poster
    showing the deadly weapons used by Israel on civilians, so that it can be compared to the poster by the Israeli firsters.

    • just on July 16, 2014, 11:16 am

      Sliwa was born into a Catholic family… from the wiki:

      “Now separated, Sliwa announced plans in April 2012 to marry Melinda Katz, a former member of the New York State Assembly and New York City Council who was elected Queens Borough President in 2013. Over the previous five years, Sliwa had fathered two of Katz’s children through in vitro fertilization.[26][27] According to the New York Post, Sliwa plans to raise his children Jewish. [28][29]

      Sliwa is involved in a court case involving Katz, accused by his ex-wife Mary of diverting money to Katz while still married to Mary as part of a plan to build a “nest egg” with Katz prior to moving in with her.[31][32]”

      yep– cheating slime ball.

      • Kay24 on July 16, 2014, 11:43 am

        Yes I did read up his bio, and it really shows a dishonest and manipulative person, who made fake stories to show just how tough he is. pathetic.
        He belongs to that group.

      • chinese box on July 16, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Curtis Sleazewa is the ultimate self-promoting d-bag; has been for many years. Shilling for Israel is just one facet of his awfulness, which is on an exponential scale.

      • lysias on July 16, 2014, 12:31 pm

        Sliwa was born into a Catholic family

        Not just Catholic, but partly Assyrian, i.e., Iraqi Christian. The Assyrians have suffered greatly as a result of the Israel-encourage U.S. invasion of Iraq, and continue to suffer from the ISIS invasion that seems to have been secretly supported by the U.S./UK/Israel/Saudi Arabia complex.

        In other words, Sliwa ought to know.

      • Mikhael on July 17, 2014, 6:09 am

        lysias says:
        July 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm
        Not just Catholic, but partly Assyrian, i.e., Iraqi Christian. The Assyrians have suffered greatly …In other words, Sliwa ought to know.

        Oh, I think Sliwa knows that Christians in Iraq have suffered greatly due to Islamist extremists who are not too different from the Salafi fundamentalists who rule in Gaza.

        (Although yes, he is a self-promoter.)

  5. just on July 16, 2014, 11:08 am

    Compare and contrast the drones in their suits and the people working for justice.

    Stunning. (Wasn’t that Nita Lowey near the end?) People need to start focusing on P/I when deciding who to vote for……….the drones that were speaking were freakin’ Democrats! ugh.

  6. michelle on July 16, 2014, 11:10 am

    true defense is the truth
    lies never support or defend
    true faith has no enemy
    G-d Bless

  7. Sycamores on July 16, 2014, 11:23 am

    resistance is justified, when people are occupied! drowns out the supporters for Israel massacre of Palestinians.

    Paul Schied who is part of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance and a part of a campaign to “Open Hillel”

    wrote an article in Harvard Political Review

    When People Are Occupied

    violent resistance is not incomprehensible

    This week, at rallies in solidarity with Gaza across the world, Palestinians and Jews alike shouted, “when people are occupied, resistance is justified!” Although the Gaza Strip is not formally under military occupation any more, Israel effectively controls the movement of the 1.7 million residents of Gaza and the goods that can enter or leave the blockaded region. While I don’t think that violence is ever justified, it’s unreasonable to expect Palestinians living under occupation and blockade to simply sit and accept mistreatment by Israel as fate. The participation of Palestinians in violent resistance through Hamas is not right. But it is, unfortunately, not incomprehensible—especially when even large-scale non-violent resistance cannot make the international community pay attention to the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza.

    when people are occupied, they will resist

    Liberal American Jews cannot simply sit and wait for a peace deal to be negotiated while condemning all forms of Palestinian resistance. Those (like me) who are saddened by Palestinian support for violent resistance in Gaza must come to terms with the fact that when people are occupied, they will resist, in some way. If American Jews really want to advocate for a Palestinian state, we must start by supporting instead of condemning those forms of protest that are consistent with our non-violent ideology.

    • Kay24 on July 16, 2014, 11:45 am

      The last paragraph is so true. We should also keep in mind this brutal occupation has gone on for decades. How much more can they endure?

      • Sycamores on July 16, 2014, 12:39 pm

        if Paul Scheid is an example of a representative from Open Hillel i can see interesting times ahead.

  8. gayjewjap on July 16, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Seeing Charlie Rangel standing there was just plain sickening. He gives street hookers a bad name.

    • Kay24 on July 16, 2014, 6:15 pm

      LOL that reminds me of that famous picture of him, fast asleep in his shorts, at some sunny place….Jon Stewart has shown that many times, it is so funny.

  9. kalithea on July 16, 2014, 9:26 pm

    So on another related note: Rihanna tweets #Free Palestine and takes it down 8 minutes later because apparently she never meant it to go out. Whoopi’s granny culottes were in a bunch over what she and the other dumbbells at The View considered misinformed and hasty. Of course, the rest of the Zionist media had pretty much provided the script beforehand.

    FREE PALESTINE is accurate; everything else is bullshet; because the Palestinians are a captive, oppressed people who have endured every kind of indignity and cruelty under the sun on their land that they are being robbed of and all this is being done in plain sight to benefit the Jewish people and that’s why it’s okay, because if this were being done to any other people on the planet on behalf of anyone except the Jewish people…all the West’s politicians would be outraged and up in arms.

  10. hophmi on July 17, 2014, 8:54 am

    Resistance is justified = terrorism is justified = killing of innocent Israelis is justified.

    Those are supporters of terrorism waving those pro-Palestinian signs, and as long as they keep doing it, the blood of the Palestinians in Gaza is on their hands.

    • Justpassingby on July 17, 2014, 8:59 am

      Resistance is justified = terrorism is justified = killing of innocent palestinians is justified.

      Those are supporters of terrorism waving those pro-israel signs, and as long as they keep doing it, the blood of the israelis in Israel is on their hands.

      And you are a lawyer?

    • just on July 17, 2014, 9:06 am

      The blood of the Palestinians is on Israel’s hands, and on those that support the GoI– you.

      (there are many other sites where you can spew this stuff and be welcomed, why are you here?)

    • Talkback on July 17, 2014, 9:17 am

      Your terrorism against the Palestinian people is going on for nearly 75 years, hophmi. You just sell it as independence war and self defence.

    • Kay24 on July 17, 2014, 10:05 am

      Must be nice living in a bubble. It can be debated whether the side with the deadlier weapons, brutal trained military, and who inflicts more casualties, is the bigger terrorist or not. You support a brutal occupation, land thefts, and war crimes condemned by the entire world.
      ” Here is the short list of Zionist atrocities from 1944 to the present:

      · Assassination of Lord Moyne on November 6, 1944. Under orders from Yitzhak Shamir, terrorists of the Stern Gang shot Lord Moyne, British resident minister. Purpose: To drive the British from Palestine.

      · The King David massacre, July 22, 1946. Begin’s Irgun terrorists, with encouragement from Ben-Gurion’s Hagana, blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, murdering 92. Purpose: Destroy British records that proved the highest members of the Zionist government backed anti-British terrorism. 4

      · British sergeants hanged, July 12, 1947. Begin, Shamir, and Haganah authorized kidnapping and hanging of two British sergeants, booby trapping their bodies and mining the area. During this time, Shamir sent many letters and package bombs to British officials. 1947 also included multiple cases of kidnappings (including brutal floggings of British soldiers) by Jewish terrorists.

      · The Semiramis Hotel massacre, January 5, 1948. Jewish Agency leader David Ben-Gurion and Haganah leaders blew up the Seramis Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 20 and wounding 17. Purpose: Terrorize Arabs into fleeing Israel. 5

      · Deir Yassin massacre, April 9, 1948. Begin’s Irgun soldiers killed 250 sleeping Arab villagers at Deir Yassin, a suburb of Jerusalem. “25 pregnant women were bayoneted in their abdomens while still alive. 52 children were maimed under the eyes of their mothers and then were slain and their heads cut off.” 6 “Menachem Begin, the leader of the Irgun gang, himself admitted on December 28, 1950 in a press interview in New York, that the Deir Yassin incident had been carried out in accordance with an agreement between the Irgun and the Jewish Agency and Haganah.” 7 Begin was always proud of what he had done, considering Deir Yassin a legitimate military target. Irgun trucks drove throughout Judea, announcing by loudspeaker to hundreds of thousands of Arabs that unless they fled Israel they would meet the same fate. Deir Yassin and subsequent terrorist acts precipitated flight of more than 800,000 Arabs from Palestine. In town after town Zionist soldiers drove Palestinians out, usually killing any person who delayed or attempted to take any possessions with them. Arab towns were bulldozed, replaced with Jewish communities. 8 Begin comments on the level of Palestinian terror generated by Irgun’s massacre at Deir Yassin. “Out of evil, however, good came. This Arab propaganda spread a legend of terror amongst Arabs and Arab troops, who were seized with panic at the mention of Irgun soldiers. The legend was worth a dozen battalions to the forces of Israel.” 9 Israel exiled these unfortunates to concentration camps in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza, refusing to allow them repossession of their land and property or adequate compensation. 10 This is the seminal cause of international Arab terrorism and the Mid-East conflict that rages today.

      · Assassination of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, September 17, 1948. This killing by the Stern Gang was on orders of Shamir. Purpose: To sabotage UN efforts to create a Palestinian state.

      · Massacre at Dawayma, October 29, 1948. Israeli soldiers killed between 80 and 100 men, women, and children in Dawayma, a suburb of Haifa. Purpose: Intensify terror generated by Deir Yassin and compel the remaining Palestinians to leave Israel. 11

      · Massacre at Kibya, October 14, 1953. In an atrocity condoned by the highest levels of the Israeli government and military, Ariel Sharon led 700 crack paratroopers to attack the Jordanian town of Kibya. They slaughtered 75 innocent men, women, and children primarily by locking families in their homes and blowing them up. 12 Purpose: Collective punishment to avenge the alleged killing of a single Jewish family.

      · Massacre of Kafr Kassim, October 29, 1956. 51 men, women, and children were murdered by Israeli troops as they returned to their villages in the evening after work. 13 more were severely wounded by the gunfire. Purpose: Terrorize Palestinians into not siding with Egypt in case of war. 13

      · Massacre of USS Liberty, June 8, 1967. Israel’s jet fighters and torpedo boats repeatedly attempted to sink US intelligence monitoring vessel USS Liberty during the 1967 Israel/Egypt war. They killed 34 and wounded 171 American sailors. Purpose: Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan ordered the attack ostensibly to protect Israel’s intelligence communications, even though the war was virtually over. 14

      · Libyan airliner massacre, February 21, 1973. Straying over Israeli-controlled Sinai air space, a Libyan 727 commercial airliner was intercepted by Israeli fighters and, despite the clearest identification, shot down, killing 106. Purpose: Flexing Zionist power against Libya. 15

      · Massacre in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Beirut, Lebanon, September 23, 1982. Gen. Ariel Sharon and Yitshak Shamir, in cooperation with “Christian” Phalangist forces sealed all exits and provided aerial flares, illuminating the slaughter of up to 2750 men, women, and children, according to a body count by the committee of the Red Cross. Purpose: collective punishment of Palestinians. ”

      No side is perfect, yet some have the chutzpah to ignore their own ugly history of massacres and terrorism.
      Those are supporters of terrorism waving those pro-Israeli signs, and as long as they keep doing it, the blood of the Palestinians in Gaza is on their hands.
      225 civilians brutally murdered including babies. Keep supporting the murderers.

      • oldgeezer on July 17, 2014, 10:38 am

        Not even a short list should omit this incident.One which garnered Israel rebuke from the UNSC (no veto!)

        Recently declassified documents show that the Israeli’s believed that the attack, which they claimed their operation was in response to, came from Syria. Additionally it showed that this cold blooded invasion and murder operation was prepatory for their 67 war of choice as they wanted to guage the arab response times.

        Always the innocent victim…. yeah right.

    • kalithea on July 17, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Zionist terrorism has killed more innocents and caused more destruction against innocent people and their homes and livelihoods than all the resistance against it in the past 65 years or more! Zionism would not exist today if not for all the terrorist acts committed on its behalf by Zionist terrorist thugs. So don’t bullshet us.

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