Anti-Israel Protesters Disrupt Auschwitz Debate in New York

Protesters say the timing of the incident was accidental; they were objecting to a planned trip to Israel by council members.

New York City Hall
New York City Hall. Wikimedia Commons

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators disrupted the New York City Council on Thursday during a vote on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

A group of demonstrators started shouting anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian slogans from the balcony of the council chamber, interrupting the session for about five minutes before they were escorted out, CBS reported.

“At a time when the council was voting on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, this outburst was offensive, outrageous and counter to the values of the city council,” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement after the incident.

Protest organizer Rosalind Petchesky said the protest was aimed at the Speaker and 14 council members who are planning a trip to Israel next month. The trip has been paid for by Jewish groups which Petchesky called anti-Palestinian.

She said the protest had not been timed to coincide with the Auschwitz vote. It was “absolutely not planned one single bit,” she said.

Councilman David Greenfield questioned why “somebody would engage in an anti-Semitic protest while we are having a conversation about 1.1 million people who were slaughtered during the Holocaust? That’s when you decide to protest?” he asked.

The trip to Israel is a message that “we will not be cowered by this fear and hatred,” he added.

Petchesky and others vowed to keep protesting the trip.