Tensions ran wild in Midtown on Sunday as thousands of fuming New Yorkers with ties to Israel and Palestine marched in dueling protests.
Authorities did everything they could to separate pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrators who flooded streets called for each other’s blood.
This came after the Democratic Socialist Party announced they would be holding a “free Palestine” protest in Times Square on Oct. 8 after Palestinian forces invaded Israel, killing and kidnapping hundreds. The gathering was deemed poor taste by many elected officials, including Governor Kathy Hochul who denounced the action as “abhorrent.”
“The people of Israel are facing violent terrorist attacks and civilian kidnappings. I condemn plans to rally in Times Square tomorrow in support of the perpetrators of these horrific actions. The planned rally is abhorrent and morally repugnant,” Hochul said in a statement.
This did not stop many hundreds from assembling, the Democratic Socialist Party were joined by supporters who brandished signs and waved flags in the glow of the surrounding lights.
“Palestinians are right to stand up against occupation and apartheid,” one protester said.
Counter-protesters made up of Israeli supporters were both furious and distraught. Some Israelis said that while they do not agree with everything the government does, the terrorist attack on Israel is inexcusable.
“My daughter, she lives in Israel. She’s 23 and my niece also lives there and my brother and sister-in-law are there right now,” Helen Lewyn wept. “Coming in and murdering children, kidnapping people, murdering them in their bed—the idea that Americans would support this means they are either antisemites or just naïve.”
As Palestinian supporters marched toward the Israeli consulate, pro-Israel demonstrators gathered at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza in the shadow of the United Nations to admonish the acts of terrorism.
Demonstrators cried out in agony out of fear for their loved ones who are at the forefront of the warfare caught between gunfire and mayhem. Many have lost contact with their family with nothing to go on but limited news coverage of the overall bombings and whatever is being uploaded onto X (formerly known as Twitter).
“What Hamas is doing is shooting rockets from civilian areas to civilian areas, and they are putting their own people as human shields. We don’t want to target any children but when they are shooting rockets from schools, from houses, you need to defend yourself. If they had a chance to be here and shoot all of us they would do it without even thinking,” one Israeli supporter said.
Several arrests were reported during the demonstrations; however, the final number of those cuffed is still being determined.