Several thousand people demonstrated Wednesday in front of the Israeli Mission to the United Nations in New York City demanding an end to the brutal bombardment of Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces.
The protest was organized by a coalition of groups including American Muslims for Palestine and Al-Awda NY. Demonstrators displayed Palestinian flags and carried homemade signs with slogans such as Stop the War and Palestine Resists. Many youth of Palestinian and Arab descent participated as well as American students of all backgrounds. Marchers chanted, “Free, Free Palestine” and, “Intifada! Intifada!”
Lamis Deek, one of the rally’s organizers, told the media: “We are standing here to demand an end to the hate, incitements and attacks of the settlers that have been happening not just in the past two weeks but that we’ve been enduring since the Israeli occupation.”
A smaller pro-Zionist demonstration was organized across the street.
As is usual for any rally in New York City that expresses opposition to Washington’s policies, the New York Police Department penned protesters behind metal barricades and surrounded them with a disproportionately large number of officers.
Protesters marched to the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation on Avenue of the Americas. News Corp is owner of FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, among the most vile propagandists for Israeli aggression, although demonstrators were quick to point out that the rally in front of the building was meant to oppose all of the mainstream media, including the New York Times, for their failure to report the situation in Gaza and West Bank in an evenhanded manner.
The World Socialist Web Site spoke to many of the protesters, all of whom expressed anger at the Israeli assault on Gaza. Most readily agreed with the WSWS’s view that the attack had been planned in advance and that the kidnapping of three Jewish youth was used by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stoke anti-Palestinian sentiment in Israel itself.
“Innocent civilians are getting killed,” Jana Suleiman told us. “We need to broadcast this on the news. We have to help people understand what is really going on.”
Sulafa Khirfah, a high school student from Jordan vacationing in the US, and Robert Walker, a college student from New Jersey, came to the protest together with family members. Sulafa told the WSWS, “We are here because we want justice. What is happening now is unbelievable, inhumane. Would you like it if your son got burned because he was American?
“The same thing applies to Palestinians. I am from Jordan and came here on vacation but when I saw this I had to join. I am half Palestinian but live in Jordan. I know a lot of Palestinians and they and my granddad tell me a lot of stories.”
Robert added, “The way [the Israelis] treat the Palestinians, and the children in particular, is really horrible. They kidnap them, put them in jails, storm houses at night. I want to see peace.”