NY parade organizer defends right to protest at march after Rothman seized demonstrator’s megaphone

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Protesters march in New York wearing shirts reading 'Marching for democracy' and 'Zionism=democracy,' while waving Israeli flags and shouting chants from the anti-overhaul protest movement in Israel, June 4, 2023. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
Protesters march in New York wearing shirts reading 'Marching for democracy' and 'Zionism=democracy,' while waving Israeli flags and shouting chants from the anti-overhaul protest movement in Israel, June 4, 2023. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

NEW YORK — The organizer of New York’s Celebrate Israel Parade, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York’s CEO Gideon Taylor, says the event aims to bring together different perspectives and that there is a right to protest, after controversy sparked by MK Simcha Rothman, when he seized a protester’s megaphone on Friday.

Asked about the incident, and protesters’ demand that Rothman be disinvited from the parade, Taylor says, “We believe the protesters have a right to protest. That’s an important part of democracy.”

“As to who’s here, the Knesset designates what Knesset members come to participate in the parade. What’s most important for us is that there are voices here from across the spectrum of Jewish life, people with different perspectives and that those voices are here and heard at this parade and I believe today we have that.”

Several hundred protesters are set to march during the parade. They wear shirts reading “Marching for democracy “ and “Zionism=democracy,” wave Israeli flags, and shout chants from the anti-judicial overhaul protest movement in Israel.

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