Gaza Protest on 42nd Street
On Saturday, I was walking home with my lunch when I saw police barricades set up near the corner of 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue.
The Israeli mission to the United Nations is in the area and there are frequent protests directed toward them. I suspected that this was true again, and was proved correct moments later when I saw the signs.
“Answer” is a left-wing group against…well, about everything that America does and is (at least as far as I can tell). Israel, too.
I’m not a fan. But I do enjoy a good protest, so I took a few pictures and noticed something a little odd. Notice the protester with the flag who was standing apart from the others. I was there just as the protest was beginning and within a minute or two, the guy was more or less part of the larger group.
I got a bit confused with it as it was a maxist-leninist protest against Israel and some guy was flying the American flag and the Lebanese flag and the Israeli flag. I asked some cops about it and they said that he was a counterprotester and that they had to do something about him. I didn’t get any sense of “do something about him” in a pejorative sense, but that the organizers were unhappy about being pre-empted by this guy and wanting to have their protest be their protest and the police were concerned about having to worry about the guy in the midst of the rapidly growing group.
I guess the mixed message was too much for them.
As I watched and took pictures, two things started to happen. First, the protesters decided to pre-empt the guy’s protest. Look at how one of them tries to position herself to block his flag.
But she just didn’t have the height and the signage to do it (poor, poor, dear [laugh]).
Next, I saw the police come over and start to talk with the counter-protester and at least one of the protest organizers.
After a minute or two, I left to eat my lunch before it got cold. At this point, the protesters numbered a couple of dozen. I didn’t know their timetable, but figured it’d go on for a while and that I’d be back.
After about an hour, I had finished lunch and started to hear them through my window. By the time I got there, the protesters may have numbered 60 to 80.
They were doing the usual: milling around with speeches and waving their signs. They were moderately interesting, but two other groups were more so.
First, the Hasidem had shown up.
The Hasidem are generally described as “ultra-Orthodox” Jews. There are several large communities of them over in Brooklyn. I don’t know if these were from that area or not. As Saturday is the Sabbath, I don’t know their thought processes nor how they got to the protest site. I did note that they weren’t holding signs or joining in conversations outside of their own group.
And which side were they on? They were joining the protesters against Israel. There’s little love between the Hasidem and Israel.
The other group I found interesting was that the sole counterprotester had been segregated off to the right of the group and had been joined by a few fellows. They did have a small megaphone and were trying to make themselves heard. The protesters were not acknowledging the existence of the counter-protesters.
I was finally able to get a good picture of the third flag (the Israeli flag) that the woman had been blocking with her smaller sign. It wasn’t an official flag. Instead, it has an English-language slogan at the bottom: No surrender.
No wonder she wanted to block it.