IN PICTURES / Hundreds Turn Out in New York for pro-Palestinian Rally

Pro-Israel activists stage counter-march as world's attention becomes focused on Palestinians' bid for statehood at UN.

Several hundred pro-Palestinian activists gathered in Times Square in New York City on Thursday and marched to the United Nations building in a bid to bring attention to Palestinian rights, and demand that the United States end aid to Israel.

The speakers included Riham Barghouti,whose relative Marwan Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli jail for his role in a series of deadly terror attacks.

Protest organizers say they arranged the march knowing that the worlds attention is on the United Nations due to the upcoming vote for Palestinian statehood. Even so, the speakers at the rally made it clear that they were not taking an official position on whether or not they support the Palestinian initiative.

The rally was organized by a group of over 50 organizations, including Palestinian rights groups and anti-war groups, among them Adalah-NYC, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Students for Justice in Palestine. The group said their message was to advocate for Palestinian sovereignty, equality and the right of return.

The anti-Zionist Orthoidox Jewish group Neturei Karta participated in the march, along with their spokesman Rabbi Yisroel Weiss, who has gained notoriety for his anti-Israel activism, including a meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran in 2006.

The marchers were met with both cheers and jeers from the New Yorkers who passed the protesters making their way through Midtown. A small group of Israel supporters held a counter-protest, carrying an Israeli flag alongside the marchers, who were separated by police. The march ended at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, across from the UN building. 

Tracy Levy