NYPD to up security for Sunday’s Israel Day parade but stresses no known threats

New York City mayor vows force will ‘respond accordingly and rapidly to anyone who thinks that they’re going to disrupt the parade,’ amid surge in antisemitism since October 7

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

People participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 2, 2019 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/AFP)
People participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 2, 2019 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/AFP)

New York Jewish Week via JTA — The NYPD will increase security for Sunday’s Israel parade due to tensions surrounding the war in Gaza and after months of increased antisemitism in the city, but said there are no known threats to the annual event.

Police officials said at a Friday briefing that the NYPD will deploy an array of measures including drones, canine units, counter-terorrism specialists and horse-mounted police to secure Sunday’s parade on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan.

“The police is going to respond accordingly and rapidly to anyone who thinks that they’re going to disrupt the parade,” Mayor Eric Adams said at the briefing alongside police officials and Mark Treyger, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the parade organizer.

Frequent anti-Israel protests have taken place across the city since Hamas’s invasion of Israel on October 7 and during the subsequent war. Some of the demonstrations have been peaceful, while others have targeted Jewish institutions, been marked by disruptions to traffic and daily life, or seen clashes between protesters and police.

Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office who is Jewish, said at the briefing that there have been 2,800 protests in the city since October 7, nearly 1,300 of which were related to the Middle East. Antisemitic incidents have surged since the start of the war, according to NYPD data.

Adams and police officials stressed that protesters have the right to demonstrate, within legal limits.

“Those who want to protest peacefully, you have a right to do so,” Adams said. “We want to emphasize that it’s called peaceful protest. That is what we are calling on the people [of] this city to do.”

Anti-Israel protesters chant outside The City College Of New York (CUNY) one day after the NYPD cracked down on protest camps at both Columbia University and CUNY on May 1, 2024 in New York City. (Alex Kent/Getty Images/AFP)

Tens of thousands of participants typically march in the parade, including many groups from Jewish schools in the New York area. This year’s event will take on a more somber tone than in past years due to the war and the hostages held captive in Gaza. The focus of the event this year will be on freeing the hostages.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said police will handle the parade like they do other large events, such as New Year’s Eve and 4th of July celebrations. Security measures will include police along the parade route, increased NYPD presence in the general area, fortified fencing, checkpoints at points of entry, bike teams, and specialized units such as the counterterrorism intelligence bureau. Drones along the parade route and its outer perimeter will look for groups coming to disrupt the event.

“These security measures are a little bit more increased from last year but these measures aren’t new,” said NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.

Despite the concerns, Caban said, “There is no specific or credible threats to the parade or to New York City in general.” He urged participants to report any suspicious activity to police.

The NYPD was working closely with the event organizers to secure the event, Caban said.

Participants march during the 2022 New York Pride Parade in New York City on June 26, 2022. (Ed JONES / AFP)

The parade route will stretch along 5th Avenue between 56th and 74th streets. Spectators will be able to access the event on Madison Avenue at 61st, 63rd, 66th, 70th and 73rd streets. Police asked participants to refrain from bringing large bags, coolers, alcohol and flags, which could obstruct views. The NYPD also urged participants to travel to the event by public transportation because there will be limited parking and heavy traffic.

JCRC leader Mark Treyger said at the briefing that the parade was “an affirmation of our love and pride, unwavering pride in our Jewish identity, our Jewish heritage, our community, our unwavering support for Israel and the immediate release of the hostages.”

He added, “It is a testament to the city that we are. New York is a city for all people, including the vibrant Jewish community.”

Most Popular
read more: