update deskU.S. News

Police arrest 100 protesters grouped in ‘Times’ lobby in Midtown Manhattan

Earlier, they lay on a street at night near a Queens-based printing plant to halt the publication of the city’s major newspapers.

“The New York Times” building in Midtown Manhattan. Photo by Carin M. Smilk.
“The New York Times” building in Midtown Manhattan. Photo by Carin M. Smilk.

New York City police used a bullhorn to address protesters, many of them masked, who had formed a human chain in the middle of the night to stop trucks from reaching the facility that prints New York City’s major newspapers, saying: “If you choose to leave now, you may do so freely. If you refuse to leave, you’ll be subject to arrest for trespassing.”

On Thursday around 1 a.m., anti-Israel activists descended upon the plant in the borough of Queens that prints The New York Times, the New York Post, Newsday, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. They piled rocks and broken furniture on an access road, along with a sign saying “Consent for Genocide Is Manufactured Here,” a nod to the phrase “the manufacture of consent” popularized in far-left circles by professor and political activist Noam Chomsky.

Many of the protesters lay supine on the road near a sign that read, “Stop the Presses/Free Palestine.” Police officers milled about as white semi-trucks waited for the crowd to disperse. Protesters left by 3:30 a.m., according to news reports, with no arrests made.

A few hours later, activists showed up at the Times’ offices in Midtown Manhattan. At about 10 a.m., 150 or so people filed into the lobby to demonstrate; police wound up arresting 100 of them.

“You know, we also often find ourselves at odds with the media. However, what sets us apart from anti-Israel protesters is our approach: We strive to influence editorial perspectives through reasoned arguments, evidence, persuasive discourse—not through intimidation or coercion, as sadly seen in so much pro-Palestinian activism, like these bullying protesters,” Jonah Cohen, communications director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), told JNS. 

Cohen said the protesters were “clearly trying to achieve through physical force what they cannot accomplish through persuasive argument. Let’s hope the news outlets don’t give in to their strong-arm tactics. It would be a dangerous precedent to set.”

The Times released a statement affirming that it would not allow such behavior to influence its coverage of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. “We support the rights for groups and individuals to express their point of view, even when we disagree with it as it relates to our coverage, but will not let critics or advocacy campaigns sway us from independent reporting,” the newspaper said.

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