July 23, 2024
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Anti-Israel Protestors Bring June 10 ‘Day of Rage’ to NYC

Union Square protest.

On June 10, anti-Israel protestors brought a “Day of Rage” for Gaza to several different locations in New York City.

In a particularly heinous display of Jew hatred at the Union Square protest, one man told the Jewish counter-protestors in a somewhat matter of fact fashion, “I wish Hitler was still here, he would’ve wiped all you out.”

One of the Jewish individuals to whom the man directed his message was Stephanie Benshimol, an activist who is herself the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors.

Speaking to The Jewish Link, Benshimol stated, “I live with the trauma that my grandparents Shaindel and Leo went through. I live with the memories of events that happened to them. I think about it every day. This incident was a frightening reminder to me that antisemitic violence is still a threat today.”

A group of the protestors, many of whom wore keffiyehs and masks, then made their way to a New York City subway car. In a chilling video which unsurprisingly went viral on social media, a male protestor led the group in a chant: “Repeat after me,” he said, “Raise your hands if you’re a Zionist.”

The leader then stated: “This is your chance to get out [of the car.]” As no one seemed to identify themselves as “Zionists,” the leader stated, “Okay, no Zionists. We’re good.”

Perhaps the most egregious protest of the day was at the Nova Music Festival exhibition in downtown Manhattan, established to honor the memory of some 360 innocent people who were killed at the festival in Israel. Notably, survivors of the Nova massacre who experienced unspeakable trauma on October 7 are stationed at the exhibition.

Outside of the exhibition, protestors set off flares, flew terrorist flags, and chanted “Long live the Intifada,” and “Resistance is justified where people are occupied.”

As stated to The Link by exhibit media point Ariella Noveck, “The Nova exhibit serves as a sanctuary for healing, education and honoring the victims of the tragic events of October 7. With over 100,000 visitors since its April opening, it has become a vital space for survivors to confront and process the trauma inflicted by the unprovoked attacks orchestrated by Hamas.

“However, the recent protests outside the exhibit have deeply unsettled many survivors, rekindling feelings of fear and panic they have been striving to overcome,” she continued. “This cycle of distress must come to an end.”

Mayor Eric Adams stated with respect to the Nova protest in a post on X: “Any New Yorker who stands for peace cannot stand next to those waving Hamas and Hezbollah flags, especially at an exhibit commemorating the victims of the Nova Music Festival massacre. That is pure antisemitism. The NYPD has overseen thousands of peaceful protests, but it is our duty to arrest anyone who breaks the law. New Yorkers will always be safe here.”

Shockingly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also condemned this display of Jew hatred outside the exhibit, stating in a post on X that “The callousness, dehumanization, and targeting of Jews on display at last night’s protest outside the Nova Festival exhibit was atrocious antisemitism—plain and simple. Antisemitism has no place in our city nor any broader movement that centers human dignity and liberation.”

The rage did not end on June 10, as on the evening of June 11, the Brooklyn residence of Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum, was defaced with a banner reading “Anne Pasternak Brooklyn Museum White Supremacist Zionist” and “Funds Genocide” with blood-red handprints. Pasternak’s front door was also spray painted with an inverted red triangle, which is a symbol Hamas has used to mark military targets.

Many politicians agreed that these antisemitic acts were “abhorrent.” As stated by President Biden in a post on X: “The horrific acts of Antisemitism this week—including a demonstration celebrating the 10/7 attack, vandalism targeting Jewish homes… and harassment of subway riders—are abhorrent. Antisemitism doesn’t just threaten Jewish Americans. It threatens all Americans, and our fundamental democratic values.

The question is, what is going to be done about this antisemitism? About Jews being told that Hitler should have killed us all? About Jews being instructed to get out of subway cars, reminiscent of the German phrase “Juden Raus,” translating to “Jews Out?” About an exhibit intended to honor the memory of those killed on October 7 being the subject of protests where intifada is being encouraged and flags of terrorist organizations are being waved?

It has been said many times since October 7, but it bears repeating: If this type of hatred were displayed towards any other minority group, it would not be tolerated.

And we will not tolerate it. As Benshimol said, “My grandparents told me never to be afraid.”


Judith Falk is the creator of the Upper West Side Shtetl Facebook Group. You can follow her on instagram @upperwestsideshtetl. She is an employee of The City of New York and is writing this article in her personal capacity, and not as an employee of The City of New York.

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