NEW YORK — Several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in New York City on Wednesday to protest against Israel-linked organizations on “Land Day,” an annual Palestinian protest event.
The demonstrators gathered outside Grand Central Station in Manhattan, while a small group of pro-Israel counter-protesters assembled across the street, bearing Israeli flags and signs with the images of the 11 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the past week.
A line of police separated the two groups as they shouted at each other across 42nd Street.
The pro-Palestinian group then marched through midtown Manhattan, stopping at the offices of Israel-linked groups including Friends of the IDF, the Central Fund of Israel and Ateret Cohanim.
They bore signs that read “Intifada until victory,” “We will free Palestine within our lifetime” and “Resistance until return.”
The protesters chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” “Resistance is justified when people are colonized,” “New York to Gaza, globalize the intifada” and “There is only one solution — intifada revolution.”
Members of the fringe anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta group were in attendance, and led chants of “Judaism yes, Zionism no, the State of Israel must go.”
The demonstrators called for taking action against the pro-Israel organizations in New York, including removing their status as nonprofits.
The protest wrapped up on the steps of Penn Station, across from Madison Square Garden. It was organized by the groups Within Our Lifetime and Defund Racism.
For Israelis, intifada, literally meaning “uprising” in Arabic, conjures traumatic memories of a mass wave of terror attacks in the early 2000s. The period saw suicide bombings and other terror attacks in Israel that killed hundreds of civilians.
Wednesday’s protest coincided with a spree of terror attacks inside Israel, including a shooting on Tuesday that killed five people in Bnei Brak. Earlier attacks killed two Israelis in Hadera, and four in Beersheba. The attackers were also killed in each incident.
The killings have raised fears of spiraling violence, especially during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which often sees heightened tensions, especially around Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Last year’s war between Israel and the Hamas terror group saw an explosion of violence between Israeli Arabs and Jews.
“Land Day” marks the Israeli government’s expropriation of Arab-owned land in the Galilee on March 30, 1976, and the ensuing demonstrations in which six Arab Israelis were killed.
Palestinians often hold major demonstrations in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, although this year was relatively quiet.