Bay Ridgites rally for Palestine after United States moves embassy to Jerusalem

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Hundreds of Brooklynites waived Palestinian flags and held signs reading “right to return” and other slogans at a pro-Palestinian protest in Bay Ridge on Monday — hours after the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem, and Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators at the border with Gaza.

One of the protest’s organizers said the neighborhood’s large Palestinian community welcomed the display of solidarity.

“A lot of people poured into the protest walking out of restaurants,” said Nerdeen Kiswani. “Seeing people who felt the same sentiments was amazing.”

The protest commemorated the Nakba — Arabic for “catastrophe” — which is how Palestinians refer to their displacement following the creation of Israel 70 years ago this week, and the subsequent Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Israelis celebrate their independence on May 14, while Palestinians typically mark the day with protests.

Monday’s demonstration on the corner of 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue was particularly charged after developments in Israel earlier that day. As the United States opened its embassy to Israel in a disputed Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 60 Palestinian protesters, mostly by gunfire, who were marching on the fence separating the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Israel. Some threw stones and tried to break through the barrier, according to Agence France-Presse.

The images of Trump administration officials celebrating the embassy’s opening in Jerusalem while the violence raged on in Gaza angered many at the Ridge protest.

“Ivanka and Jared were sipping champagne, and Jared was talking about peace while they were massacring people,” said Kiswani, who grew up in Bay Ridge.

Several pro-Palestinian groups organized the protest, including Within our Lifetime United for Palestine, which Kiswani cofounded. Around 300 attended, among them Bay Ridgites, activists, and even some Jewish groups, including Neturei Karta, a movement of Orthodox Jews who oppose the founding of Israel on religious grounds.

Palestinian activism is not new to Bay Ridge. Several of the country’s most notable activists are from the neighborhood, including Linda Sarsour, former head of the Ridge-based Arab American Association of New York. Displays of solidarity with the Palestinians are the norm there, said Kiswani.

“Bay Ridge is a stronghold of Palestinian identity,” he said. “It’s expressed in Bay Ridge much more than other places.”

One Borough Park protest attendee from the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist group that supports the liberation of Palestine, said she feels support for the Palestinian issue is gaining momentum in the borough and around the country, especially after May 14.

“Even pro-Israel groups had no choice but to speak out,” said Kayla Popuchet. “People are learning more about Palestinian history.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Delusional thinking on display at the protest. The Palestinians have lost one war after another against Israel, starting with the invasion by 5 Arab armies in 1948 in an unsuccessful attempt to “throw the Jews into the sea.” Since then the Palestinian leadership has adopted a policy of rejecting reasonable peace treaties, instead trying to curry international sympathy by intentionally placing its citizens into confrontations with Israeli soldiers where they are likely to get shot. The height of hypocrisy.

The Palestinians aren’t returning to Israel, just like the Greeks aren’t returning to Constantinople/Istanbul. Time to face reality and cut the best deal they can.
May 17, 2018, 6:59 am
Benhur from Jerusalem says:
How can you 1 start wars that 2 you lose and 3 call for genocide then 4 expect the winners to surrender. Maybe a different tack for the next 70+ years?
May 17, 2018, 9:12 am
Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave says:
Why don't the Jordanians want them? Why don't the Egyptians want them, why don't the Syrians want them, why don't the Lebanese want them?
May 17, 2018, 2:48 pm
Rosemary Neidenberg from Park Slope says:
Palestinians had no responsibility for the Holocaust. The governments of Germany, Austria, Poland, Vichy France and numerous additional European governments were guilty of genocide of 8 million Jewish people plus Romany people, Catholics and others totaling 20 million. How come they aren't asked to combine contiguous pieces of THEIR land and financing from e.g. Sweden and France to provide a Jewish homeland. I do not agree that can alter my statement in a manner that will distort the substance of my submission.
May 17, 2018, 3:37 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:

The Jews were in Israel long before the Muslims invaded that part of the world, and they maintained a continuous, if often precarious, presence there. Who can forget the Muslim Mufti of Jerusalem allying himself with Hitler and the Nazis and supporting the Holocaust? Or the Muslim pogroms against the Jews in Israel in the 1920’s and 1930’s? The state of Israel is a fact, and the Jews of Israel are not going anywhere. The Palestinians seem very willing to reject reality and cynically sacrifice their people to preserve a fantasy. Why have the Palestinians rejected several peace deals with Israel?

Can’t the Palestinians see what the rest of the world sees so clearly, that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to hurt themselves? How can they expect sympathy when the Palestinians keep picking fights they can’t win, especially where the moral underpinnings of those battles are at best ambiguous.

People lose patience for foolish, self destructive behavior.
May 17, 2018, 3:58 pm
Jay Diamond from Flatbush says:
The Palestinians are the indigenous people of the Holy Land. The creation of Israel can be viewed as the greatest armed robbery in the history of the world. Zionists went to PALESTINE which was 90% Arab with the intent to create a Jewish State which could only be done by expelling and/or subjugating the PALESTINIAN majority.Zionism is an aggressive ethane-centric evil concept.
May 17, 2018, 5:56 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:

The Palestinians are descendants of Arab Muslim invaders, part of the flood of aggression that Islam started after Mohammed’s death in the 600s. The Jews were in the region centuries before that. There was no concept of Palestinian national identity prior to the creation of the state of Israel. There considered themselves, and were considered to be, part of Jordan.
May 17, 2018, 6:45 pm
Jose from Borough Park says:
How many more Palestinians will die for the lies that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority peddles?
May 17, 2018, 7:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As a native of Israel, I find these protests to be completely false and those who believe what they are saying have got to be gullible. None of those protesters at the Gaza Strip were peaceful or unarmed considering that they had either rocks or Molotov cocktails ready to throw. Just knowing that the protests are lead by Hamas alone tells us that they are anything but peaceful. They were told to stand down and refused, which is why the IDF shot at them. Overall, the protests were nothing more than launching attacks at Israeli civilians. Nevertheless, I feel that it's about time that the US Embassy has opened in Jerusalem and will hope to be the start for many more. BTW, those protests in the Gaza Strip started weeks before that opening, and even if that didn't happen, they would still be making such attacks just for the existence of Israel alone, which shows their nature. One other thing, most of those who the IDF did kill were actual members while others will civilians that Hamas has a long history of placing themselves into harm's way to make use of PR claims.
May 17, 2018, 7:31 pm
Dara from Brooklyn Heights says:
If people stopped overpopulating we wouldn't have this problem. And contrary to World Bank numbers, it's happening in Israel too.
May 19, 2018, 6:06 am
Bruno from Cobble Hill says:
May 19, 2018, 10:53 am
Sara from Williamsburg says:
You want a real problem? Here's a real problem,

I'm so sick of this crazy a$$ my sperm is holier than your sperm bs
May 19, 2018, 11:40 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay Diamond, these so-called Palestinians aren't even indigenous to their land. The very name itself isn't even Muslim, but the name Philistine in Latin given by the Romans. The Philistines were a nomadic, polytheistic tribe that went extinct since ancient times hence they never converted to Islam. The only remote connection Palestine has to Muslims is that they never changed the name when they conquered it, but that about it. Other than that, they have no other connections. As a matter of fact, there is no proof that Mohammed even set foot in Jerusalem, but plenty of proof that Abraham did, and you don't need the Old Testament for that not to mention that many of the Jewish sits and artifacts predate anything Muslim there by almost a millennium that was determined by carbon dating them. One other thing, if Jerusalem is really a holy city to the Muslims, then why do they face Mecca when they pray while it's the Jews who face Jerusalem? Let's not forget that the Koran doesn't even mention Jerusalem whereas the Old Testament does countless times over. More importantly, Palestine was never an independent country prior to the Israeli War of Independence as it was under foreign rule from the Romans all the way to the British. In other words, what was this country of Palestine some tend to speak of? Overall, if they just accepted the UN partition plan that was set back in 1947 instead of declaring war, they wouldn't be in the mess they are today.
May 19, 2018, 4:02 pm
Joe Black from Brooklyn says:
no such thing as palestine...
May 19, 2018, 5:12 pm
Boris from Borough Park says:
Losers trying to gain sympathy as victims.
May 19, 2018, 10:07 pm
Maxine Simmons from Bed Stuy says:
Do not get in their way - these people come from really vicious places, and it takes almost nothing to make them violent. My advice is stand back.
May 20, 2018, 11:20 am
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Tough ——
May 20, 2018, 12:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have a question for those on the Palestinian side and please answer these questions if you really claim that Palestine was a country before Israel's independence.

1. What was their government like?
2. Where was their capital and seat of government set in?
3. Can you name me any political leaders they had before Yassir Arafat came in 1972?
4. What was their currency?
5. On what days were elections held?
6. Was there even a Palestinian army in of the Arab-Israeli wars?
7. What did their flag look like?
May 20, 2018, 3:56 pm

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