FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY, July 24, 2014 – Tonight close to two thousand New Yorkers protested Israel’s military assault on Gaza in a rally at Foley Square. The crowd, led by protest organizers, spoke aloud the names and ages of the over 170 Palestinian children killed in Israel’s current assault. The protesters then marched through lower Manhattan carrying Palestinian flags and signs demanding an end to the US government’s and New York City elected officials’ support for Israel’s current massacre in Gaza, and Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestine. They also called for a boycott of companies profiting from Israel’s human rights abuses, and an end to the siege of Gaza.
The march stepped off to the rhythms of an activist marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO). Protesters chanted, “Israel bombs, we protest—boycott, sanction, and divest!” As the group passed, cars honked in support, and tourists videoed and gave thumbs-up signs. The march ended next to the Hudson River, where the RMO led the group in singing the popular Palestinian song “Wein a Ramallah.”
Thursday’s New York protest was part of a national day of action for Gaza endorsed by 55 US human rights groups. The UN reported that in this ongoing assault at least 697 Palestinians were killed by Israel in Gaza as of July 23. Around 75% of those killed to date were civilians, including 170 children and 86 women. 140,000 of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents have been displaced so far. Israeli bombing has destroyed hundreds of homes and wiped out entire Palestinian families. Amnesty International has denounced Israel’s attacks on civilian homes as war crimes, and has called for an arms embargo against Israel.
"More than 170 children have been killed by Israel's current bombing campaign against Gaza. As a US citizen, I am appalled that my tax dollars are underwriting this kind of carnage," said Nancy Kricorian from CODEPINK NYC.
Mezna Qato of the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) said, "As citizens, we should heed the call of Palestinian civil society and mobilize for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions in order to end Israeli impunity."
Candace Graff of Jewish Voice for Peace – NYC added, "Despite the claims by the Israeli government and mainstream American Jewish organizations that Israel's brutality is supported by American Jews, we are part of the thousands upon thousands of Jews for whom this is not the truth, and the numbers are growing. We stand with all those opposing the massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza and the ongoing occupation of Palestine, and we join the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions until Israel adheres to basic principles of international law, human rights, and decency."
As they marched past City Hall and federal government office buildings in lower Manhattan, participants shouted chants against the $3 billion in US tax dollars sent to Israel every year to buy weapons used to attack homes, hospitals, families, and children playing soccer on beaches. Protesters expressed outrage at the public support given by Mayor de Blasio and other elected New York officials for Israel’s assault, as well as at New York City’s support for the new Cornell-Technion campus on Roosevelt Island.
Anna Calcutt from New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT) explained, "We’re horrified that our elected officials are using our tax money to help an Israeli institute that develops weapons used to kill hundreds of women, men, and children in Gaza, to build a campus here in Manhattan."
Protesters handed out flyers calling on New Yorkers to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel, which is modeled on the international boycott movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.
The protest was organized by a coalition of New York groups, including Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; Brooklyn for Peace; CODEPINK NYC; Jewish Voice for Peace – NYC; Jews Say No!; New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT); New York City International Socialist Organization (ISO); NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA); WESPAC Foundation; and Women in Black, Union Square.
It follows on a number of New York City, national, and international protests against Israel’s attacks, including a protest organized by Jewish Voice for Peace this past Tuesday during which nine Jewish activists were arrested for occupying the office of The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in Manhattan.