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Anti-Israel protesters shut down NY shops, bridge, museum on holiday weekend

Among other things, an antisemitic group chanted: "Your days are numbered and are coming to an end."

A Palestinian flag flies over a halal food cart in Columbus Circle in New York on Nov. 12, 2023. Credit: rblfmr/Shutterstock.
A Palestinian flag flies over a halal food cart in Columbus Circle in New York on Nov. 12, 2023. Credit: rblfmr/Shutterstock.

Hundreds of antisemitic protesters demanding a permanent ceasefire shut down one of the bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn on Sunday amid one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

Separately, Columbus Circle shops and the American Museum of Natural History shut on Saturday after some 300 anti-Israel protesters yelled things like “Bombs are dropping while you’re shopping” and “For those who support genocide in the U.S., your days are numbered and are coming to an end,” the New York Post reported.

On Saturday, the protesters burned an Israeli flag and dragged it through Manhattan streets.

Nerdeen Kiswani of the group Within Our Lifetime that organized the Saturday protest, and which has been linked to violent antisemitism, told the Post that the American Museum of Natural History makes more than $1 million a day.

“The fact that they are willing to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to not be associated with Palestine really shows a lot, what cowards they are,” Kiswani said. (The museum is a private nonprofit.)

A woman with a pro-Israel sign, who was harassed, had to seek police assistance on Saturday, the Post reported.

Jewish Voice for Peace led the Sunday shutdown of the Manhattan Bridge. “The New York protest came on one of the busiest travel days of the year, between Thanksgiving and the Christmas period—and city officials warned drivers to avoid the area,” the Daily News reported.

Photos of the protest on social media appeared to depict the anti-Israel political activist Linda Sarsour.

Katherine Franke, professor of law at Columbia Law School, where she directs the school’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and serves on the executive committees of the Center for Palestine Studies, wrote that she was “proud to have been one among thousands at the Jewish Voice for Peace protest today that shut down the Manhattan Bridge.”

She and others did so “in the name of Palestinian life, dignity and sovereignty, and an end to the genocide in Gaza,” she stated.

“Due to a demonstration, the Manhattan Bridge is closed in both directions. If possible, use alternative routes. Update to follow,” wrote the New York City Police Department about 3:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. Some two hours and 15 minutes later, the NYPD posted that both lands of the bridge had reopened.

“Expect traffic and residual delays in the area,” it stated.

Also over the weekend, three men were shot in Burlington, Vt., on Saturday in what Arab American leaders are calling an anti-Arab hate crime. At least two of the three were wearing keffiyehs.

“In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime,” Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad stated.

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