Some of the rally organizers linked to designated Palestinian terror groups.
Several anti-Israel organizations, including some designated by Israel as terrorist organizations, joined to protest actions in the last few weeks by the security forces in the Jewish state in front of Israel’s consulate and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Midtown Manhattan, calling for “resistance and liberation by any means necessary” on advertisements for the event.
“This statement is concerning, and we take it very seriously,” said Itay Milner, a spokesman at the consulate. “We witnessed in the past weeks how these kinds of statements incited violence in the Middle East. Now, some people want to bring the same violence here to New York City.”
The rally started at 5 p.m.—a time when the consulate was closed and staff had been allowed to leave work early because of Passover—and continued into the evening.
Milner said the consulate took all necessary precautions, making sure that any employees left in the building were not in sight except for security.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., about 150 attendees stood outside the consulate, holding signs, waving flags, banging on drums and chanting: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Many were from the outlier anti-Zionist haredi group Neturei Karta, according to Milner. Protesters could also be heard calling to “globalize the intifada.”
The protest later moved into the streets where the group marched and blocked traffic. Police officers with the New York City Police Department followed the march on foot in police cars and on scooters.
The march ended at Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza with speeches and more chanting.
The rally was organized by anti-Israel groups, including Within Our Lifetime, Palestinian Youth Movement and Samidoun, among others.
Samidoun advocates for the release of Palestinian prisoners that according to NGO Monitor has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, Canada and Israel.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense named Samidoun itself a terrorist organization due to it being a subsidiary of the PFLP. The ministry also said that the group’s founder, Khaled Barakat, “is involved in establishing militant cells and motivating terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria, and abroad.”
Many of the groups involved took part in a protest on March 30, when they gathered in front of several offices of pro-Israel organizations in Manhattan.