Protesters gather outside Israeli consulates in L.A., New York
The protests against Israel’s actions in Shiekh Jarrah, Jerusalem and Gaza — and the counter-protests — have reached the United States, though with far less violence.
In Los Angeles, some 200 people gathered Monday afternoon outside the Israeli Consulate carrying Palestinian flags and signs that read “Free Palestine” and “We support Palestine.” A young man and woman took turns at a PA system chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “We don’t want a two state solution, we want ‘48.”
The protesters chanted back in unison. Some cars that passed by on Wilshire Boulevard honked in support. The rally was organized by the American Muslims for Palestine in reaction to the situation in Israel and Gaza, and drew mainly young American-Muslims and even a few American-Jews. Protesters took to the social networking app TikTok to call for people to come and join the protest.
“The Israelis took over the Palestinian homes, kick them out,” said Laila, a 20-something year-old woman who was born in the U.S. to a Muslim family. (She refused to provide a last name). “It is ours not theirs. That’s why we are saying back to ’48 to the time before Israel became a State.”
Lorrie Kline, whose father is Jewish, is a regular participant in Palestinian demonstrations against Israel.
“Israel is a fascist state, it’s an apartheid state, and it is our duty to protest a fascist apartheid state,” she said.
Michael Rich was raised Jewish but said he is not religious and doesn’t support Israel. “You can imagine that when I was raised as a Jew there was a lot of pro-Israel indoctrination that I went through and it wasn’t until I became an adult and started to understand what was going on, that I started to see what an injustice there was and I started to support Palestine.”
Rich said his family still supports Israel, even though he doesn’t. They belong to a “very leftist congregation, he said, but “they still support Israel and the recent attack in Gaza.”
In response to the protest, Dr. Hillel Newman, Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Southwest, said Israel is acting in self-defense after suffering rocket barrages from Hamas. He noted that 30% of the rockets Hamas fired at Israel fell short and landed among the Palestinian population of Gaza.
“Launching from civilian population while targeting civilian populations constitutes a double war crime,” he said in a statement to the Forward. “Just like any sovereign nation, Israel has the right and obligation to defend its citizens from attacks. We call on the international community and all who care about Palestinian and Israeli lives to unequivocally condemn the Hamas’ rocket fire and terrorist activities against Israeli civilians, to recognize Israel’s right of self-defense and to call upon the Palestinian Authority to immediately cease the incitement and violence.”
Los Angeles Police Department officers were present at the protest, which had a larger counterpart in New York City.