NYC pro-Palestine rally splits Democrats over Israel


The rally — attended by more than 1,000 pro-Palestine backers, who chanted “Resistance is justified when people are occupied” — highlighted differences over how progressive members responded to the attacks.

Mainstream Democrats were quick to call out anything less than unequivocal support for Israel.

“The NYC-DSA is revealing itself for what it truly is: an antisemitic stain on the soul of America’s largest city,” Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres wrote on X. “There is a special place in hell for those who glorify the cold-blooded murder of civilians and children.”

“The Squad” members, which includes members of Democratic Socialists and who have long supported Palestinians, were knocked by Republicans and some members of their party for not noting Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks.

“.@AOC do you agree with these lunatics?” Hudson Valley GOP Rep. Mike Lawler, who has a large Jewish population in his district, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Yesterday’s terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas and sponsored by Iran is the fault of Israel? You should denounce this if you don’t agree with it.”

The rally puts extra pressure on Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman and other New York Democratic Socialists on the City Council and in the state Legislature who represent a region that’s home to the largest population of Jews anywhere outside of Israel.

The New York Democratic Socialists of America is the largest chapter of the national organization, but it did not appear to organize the rally. No leading DSA members were seen in attendance.

The party said the rally was aimed at showing “solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid.”

But other House Democrats rebuked their message.

“Hamas terrorists massacred hundreds of Israeli civilians, including women and children. They took dozens more hostage, including Holocaust survivors and American citizens,” Hudson Valley Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan wrote on X.

“To know all this, and choose to hold a protest in New York City, home to the largest Jewish population in the United States, is blatant antisemitism.”

A pro-Israel rally was held later, near the one in support of Palestinians.

Some DSA members in Congress sought to draw a fine line between knocking Hamas and maintaining their stance against Israel aggression.

Bowman condemned the violence, but did not call for a ceasefire and noted Palestinians’ protest against Israel’s 16-year-long hold on Gaza.

“We need a way to end this deadly violence that is killing and traumatizing generations of Israelis and Palestinians alike — including the blockade of Gaza,” he said in a statement.

“I have been to the Gaza border and know that Israelis and Palestinians are constantly living in fear. We must work harder to ensure peace in the region.”

Rep. Cori Bush, (D-Mo.) a Democratic Socialist, was more critical of Israel than some of her colleagues.

“As part of achieving a just and lasting peace, we must do our part to stop this violence and trauma by ending U.S government support for Israeli military occupation and apartheid,” she said in a statement.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the NYPD would be monitoring the rallies.

“One has the right to protest, even if I strongly disagree with any form of celebrating such a horrific incident like this,” Adams, a Democrat, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“But we are going to monitor to make sure that people do it in a peaceful way. They’re going to be, I’m sure, pro-Israel organizers as well, and we’re going to make sure that people abide by the law.”

The Times Square protest was organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, the Palestinian Youth Movement and other groups.

The group began in Times Square where they were met by dozens of pro-Israel protesters, but then marched east toward the Consulate General of Israel, where a concurrent rally in support of Israel was taking place.

Over 100 NYPD officers and NYC personnel were on the scene coordinating the march and setting up barricades.

The NYPD barricaded the scene, about a block away from the consulate, preventing the two groups from clashing.

About two dozen Israeli protesters gathered across the street waving Israeli flags and accusing the group of terrorism.

At one point, a woman rushed the Palestinian side, but was restrained by NYPD.

Eugene Puryear, who helped organize the event in behalf of the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition, said the absence of the NY-DSA politicians at the event was telling.

“I think ultimately the only reason you would not be here is you want to stand on the opposite side of justice,” Puryear said. “Anyone who did want to be here would be someone who did want to stand up for justice.”

Over 600 people were killed in Israel, while officials in Gaza said 313 died in the territory. Israel’s government officially declared war on Sunday, and the nation’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said the nation’s most “challenging days are ahead of us.”


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