Hundreds of Israelis, US Jews protest at Israeli consulate in New York
Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.
Hundreds of Israelis and American Jews protest against the judicial overhaul outside the Israeli consulate in New York City.
The protesters gather in the rain, draped in Israeli flags and carrying signs in English and Hebrew saying, “Opposition is necessary,” “dictatorship ahead,” and “we still haven’t lost our hope,” an homage to the national anthem.
The demonstrators are more focused on Palestinian rights and the occupation than the protest movement in Israel.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the director of T’ruah, says the rally is “in solidarity with the Israelis who have been on the street for three months including in the middle of the night last night.”
“We are not accepting pathetic attempts at compromise,” she says.
“We are standing our ground and we are not going to stop protesting” until the legislation is halted for good, she says.
She reads a statement sent in from US Representative Jerry Nadler: “The unprecedented protest taking place across Israel has shown the world that the Israeli people will not remain silent.”
Nadler says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu freezing the legislation is a “welcome development,” but that “it is clear that Israel remains at an inflection point.”
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who is Jewish, calls the protest movement a “pivotal movement.”
“We will not let this government of Netanyahu and [Bezalel] Smotrich and [Itamar] Ben Gvir drive us off that bridge,” he says, in reference to the two far-right ministers in the coalition.
“We’re not going to trade a delay on this vote for Ben Gvir getting his own armed police force,” he says. “We are going to keep organizing and keep demanding a genuine Israeli democracy.”
The protesters chant in Hebrew, “Democracy or revolt,” and “If there is no equality, we’ll block Madison, you came down on the wrong generation,” a play on the Tel Aviv chant to close the Avalon Highway.
The rally is held a day after Israel’s consul general in New York, Asaf Zamir, quit his position in protest.