Israel supporters drown out Hamas backers at rally outside Israel's New York City consulate
October 20, 2023
(JNS) - It was partly a celebration of life and partly an outpouring of anger.
Several hundred Israel supporters-religious and secular, Israeli and American born-joined together in tight, barricaded quarters at the corner of Second Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan on Monday afternoon, countering an ugly pro-Hamas rally across the intersection outside the Israeli consulate.
A rally supporting the terror group's massacre of Israelis and foreign nationals turned violent in Times Square on Sunday, as Hamas supporters were confronted by Israel backers, mirroring similar scenes around the United States over the weekend.
On Monday, the New York City Police Department created a blue wall down 42nd Street, keeping order while emotions ran high.
A near-scuffle broke out just as the afternoon event started, as a Hamas supporter passed by the Israeli side, saying "Get ready to get barbecued." He was met with shouts of "terrorist," "Nazi," "scum" and "baby killer" before police stepped in to escort him away.
"I don't see how we could sit by and just watch. It breaks my heart to see my people hurting, children being torn away from their mothers, the elderly, the infirmed being torn away," said Israel supporter Eliott Hirsch, who was among those chasing the Hamas supporter.
He told JNS that he tries not to engage with those supporting terror unless approached first.
"But I tell them what they are. They're barbarians. They're animals for what they're doing," he said. "There's no honor in what they're doing. There's no honor in kidnapping children and taunting them and hitting them and killing people the way they are. That's not resistance. They don't want peace and it's clear they don't want peace."
'Activities that mimic Hitler and the Nazis'
While Hirsch arrived early, hundreds streamed in throughout the early and mid-afternoon. They waved Israeli flags and carried signs saying "Hamas Kills Children," "Bring them home" and "Hamas=ISIS."
While the terror supporters screamed, "Settlers, settlers, go back home. Palestine is ours alone!" Israel backers answered "From the river to sea, Palestine will never be!"
The Hamas side seemed smaller in numbers than previous rallies in the same location during times of conflict between Israel and Hamas. While several Hamas supporters approached for comment said they would not speak with a Jewish or Israeli outlet, a pair of Israel supporters surmised to JNS that some who would normally support the Palestinian cause were too embarrassed or ashamed to show up considering the Hamas massacre over the weekend.
The Sunday Times Square rally, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America, was widely condemned by Democratic leaders, including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
"I don't know what to say to them," Karen Lichtbraun, an Israel rally regular, told JNS. "What do you say to people who support activities that mimic Hitler and the Nazis and the Holocaust?"
Lichtbraun twice corrected a reporter from another outlet who referred to the group across the street as "pro-Palestinian."
"There's nothing pro-Palestine about it. If they were pro-Palestine, they'd be demanding justice from Hamas and justice from [Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud] Abbas," she said, criticizing Palestinian leaders for living luxurious lifestyles while their people purport to suffer in poverty.
While there was a steady stream of vitriol directed from the pro-Israel side, it was intermittently sprinkled with a mix of song and dance, including boisterous renditions of "Am Yisrael Chai," "Hatikvah" and an upbeat version of "Ani Ma'amin."
Israel supporters jumped in unison and danced while young Chabadniks went from person to person, offering to help wrap tefillin. Chants of "USA" and "NYPD" also reverberated from the Israeli side, offering a comparison to the Hamas supporters who have expressed contempt for the United States, and, on Monday, were repeatedly confrontational with law enforcement on site.
Then, it would start again: "Terrorist. Nazi. Scum." The Israel supporters, who seemed to direct much of their energy to celebrating life, found themselves awoken every few minutes by the genocidal rhetoric from across the street, reminding them of why they came in the first place.
"We can't afford to be bystanders. They are bombing our homeland. They kidnapped our people. They've invaded our homes. They're dragging our women through the streets. They're grabbing children directly out of their mother's arms," said Lichtbraun. "How can I sit at home?"