Antisemitic Protests Draw Outrage from Union Square to Wall Street

Pro-Palestinian activists led by the radical group Within Our Lifetime caused havoc Monday June 10. Widespread condemnation followed.

| 17 Jun 2024 | 05:19

Call it the little protest that could.

What began on Monday, June 10, as the latest “day of rage” of the radical pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetime (WOL), managed to accomplish what was previously unlikely: uniting people across the political spectrum in condemning the many antisemitic acts that WOL events routinely engender.

This watershed event began in Union Square shortly before 5 PM.

Having previously targeted such institutions as the American Museum of Natural History; the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree; and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, today’s WOL protest would take on the Nova Exhibit, the memorial installation at 35 Wall Street dedicated to the Nova Music Festival attendees killed, wounded, or captured during the October 7, 2023, Hamas terror attack against Israel.

But first, WOL would hold their own “Rally for Gaza” in Union Square.

For WOL, the rally was framed as a mourning for the scores of Palestinians killed during the Israeli special forces raid of Saturday June 8, which rescued four of the approximately 120 hostages still held captive by Hamas: Noa Agamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Schlomo Ziv, 41.

Learning of WOL’s plans, a counterprotest was formed by End Jew Hatred and other activist Jewish groups. Together, they would be at Union Square celebrating the freedom of the rescued hostages.

Predictably, confrontations ensued. While a now viral video of a young Black man yelling “I wish Hitler was here. He would have wiped all of you out,” has gotten much attention, his tirade seems more symptomatic of the individual than the WOL movement.

Which isn’t to suggest that the language of WOL and its leader and co-founder, Nardeen Kiswani, is less inflammatory. To the contrary, the X (formerly Twitter) accounts of both WOL and Kiswani aggressively and unapologetically conflate Zionism with Nazism.

Among the reported shouts of WOL supporters at Union Square were “Good job on the genocide” and “Al Qassam [an icon of Palestinian Jihad] will kill you and your family and no one will miss you.”

Other WOL people waved the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah and held a banner reading “It Is Right To Rebel – Hillel Can Go To Hell (with an upside-down red triangle dotting the “I” in Hillel), among other signs of anger.

On the counter-protesters side, the pro-Israel supporters sang the Israeli National Anthem, Hatkivah; chanted “Am Israel Chai!” (Hebrew for “The people of Israel live”); and thanked the NYPD—who were trying to maintain order between the groups— and the IDF for their successful hostage rescue.

A young Jewish woman who was on the pro-Israel side of the protests told Straus News, “the terrorist lovers were screaming at us until red in face, sometimes even squawking like a bird when they couldn’t think of words.”

“Afterwards,” she continued, “we all celebrated and shared food and drinks at Blue Stripes Cacao Shop which has been vandalized and lost business for being Israeli-owned.”

For the Pro-Palestinian forces, however, the evening was far from over. At some point, a decision was made to bring their protest to Wall Street via subway.

Multiple videos posted online show the bizarre sight— like a funhouse mirror, pro-Hamas version of opening scenes of The Warriors— of the WOL gang being accompanied into the subway by a phalanx of cops, some in full uniform, others in the light blue shirts of Community Affairs.

On the way downtown, another viral moment occurred. In subway car without police but full of repurposed COVID mask and “keffiyeh” wearing passengers, an unidentified man shouts, “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist!” This call is repeated by both male and female voices, then the man shouts again before proclaiming, “This is your chance to get out.”

When no one on the car responded, the man says “Okay, no Zionists, we’re good,” after which his comrades cheered.

Arriving at Wall Street, the protestors were met by many police, as well as the regular security guards—most of them ex-cops themselves— hired for the Nova Exhibit.

By now, everyone has seen the photos: red smoking flares; the flags of Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestine, and many face masks, as if WOL had somehow discovered—and are uniquely vulnerable to—the latest COVID “variant,” even outdoors, in June 2024.

“Love Live Intifadah!” they chanted. Read one banner—ironically held aloft outside the Trump Building (originally the Manhattan Company Building) at 40 Wall Street—was the sign, “THE ZIONISTS ARE NOT JEWS & NOT HUMANS!”

Why go on?


The outrage was immediate and has proved ongoing as the words and images spread. Among the now many, many reactions:

Council Member Lynn Schulman of Queens said later that evening: “Tonight’s vicious targeting of the Nova Music Festival Exhibition, which is a moving heart-wrenching remembrance of the Oct. 7 massacre, is reprehensible and must be vehemently condemned. This is pure antisemitism, not peaceful protest.”

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine weighed in that night also: “The Nova Music Festival Exhibition is a moving, heart-wrenching remembrance of the Oct 7 massacre. It offers a message of tolerance and hope. Tonight’s vicious targeting of the exhibition is not pro-peace. It is repulsive and vile. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

Mayor Adams, who rearranged his schedule to visit the Nova Exhibit the next day, and meet with Oct. 7 victim families there, said, ”You do not call for peace and wave flags of Hamas. You do not call for peace and then come to a memorial site. That’s like you are desecrating the graves.”

Council Member Eric Dinowitz, co-chair of the New York City Council Taskforce to Combat Hate: “Celebrating the rape and massacre of peaceful dancers at music festival is a clear endorsement fo hate and violence.”

Dinowitz’s co-chair, Council Member Shahana Hanif, who has come under fire for Hamas sympathies in the past, said “There’s no room for antisemitism, especially in the ceasefire movement. Hate speech undermines the interfaith coalition that this moment demands. I condemn rising bigotry against Jewish Nyers and urge protestors to treat people with respect, including those they disagree with.”

Repeated Straus News queries to multiple members of Hanif’s office received no reply.

A member of Dinowitz’s staff, while declining to comment on the Taskforce, directed Straus News to Dinowitz’s X account, which was very active in denouncing the demonstrations.

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, who is himself Jewish, declared “Yesterdays protest... was an abominable example of antisemitism. We need a ceasefire in Gaza. Gross bigotry does not advance that goal. Most Jews consider ourselves Zionist. Many don’t. All of us are human.”

Said Council Member Keith Powers, “Another despicable incident that shows what Jewish New Yorkers dealing with right now. It’s crucial that we denounce anti-semitism whenever it occurs.”

Said Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez: “The callousness, dehumanization and targeting of Jews on display at last night’s protest outside the Nova Festival was atrocious antisemitism – plain and simple. Antisemitism has no place in our city nor any broader movement that centers human dignity and liberation.”

For these sentiments, Nerdeen Kiswani and WOL branded Ocasio-Cortez “a genocide apologist.”