NYC Socialists Promote Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Semitic Rally

On October 8, 2023, one day after the surprise attack by Hamas against Israel, pro-Palestinian groups held a demonstration in New York City’s Times Square.

According to the New York Daily News, speakers at the rally “celebrated” the Hamas attack on Israel. Demonstrators reportedly chanted the words “‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’” One photograph from the event showed a demonstrator displaying a swastika. Pro-Israel New Yorkers held their own competing demonstration.

Politico reported that the pro-Palestinian rally was organized by multiple groups, including the Palestinian Youth Movement and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. The rally was promoted by the New York City chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA), an organization whose members include U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D- Bronx) and five other members of Congress. While NYC-DSA did not organize the rally, it urged its members to attend, calling the rally an expression of support for Palestinians’ “‘right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid.’”

The October 8 rally, together with a similar protest that occurred on October 9, exposed a major disagreement within the Democratic Party in New York. New York City is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. Historically, Jewish voters have tended to vote Democratic. Members of New York’s Democratic establishment typically make it a priority to build strong relationships with the Jewish community and to be vocal supporters of Israel. However, the far left tends to hold negative views of Israel and to support Palestinian causes.

Several New York Democrats from the establishment wing of the Party expressed outrage about the rally. Gov. Kathy Hochul called the rally “‘abhorrent and morally repugnant.’” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) described NYC-DSA as “‘an antisemitic stain on the soul of America’s largest city.’” New York City Mayor Eric Adams encouraged DSA-affiliated politicians to do “‘some soul-searching’” about their affiliation with the group. For their part, Republican state senators “urged Democratic leadership to strip its handful of DSA members of their committee and leadership posts.” Even some DSA-affiliated politicians—including Rep. Ocasio-Cortez—criticized the rally.

After receiving significant blowback for its role in the rally, NYC-DSA released a statement. The statement offered only a half-hearted apology for having caused “‘confusion’” and for “‘not making our values explicit.’” While NYC-DSA expressed opposition to “‘all hatred and the killing of civilians,’” its statement went on to demand that Israel make various concessions to the Palestinians. Tellingly, however, the statement did not call for the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas.

According to Politico, “at City Hall in New York City, Republicans and Democrats who run on the GOP line told their DSA-aligned counterparts in [a] statement: ‘There is no equivalency. There is no “both sides” argument. There is no moral relativism. This is pure evil.’” These councilmembers are correct. The unacceptable response of the far left to the war in Israel presents New York Democrats with a clear choice: Stand with Israel or stand with the terrorists that hate Israel and seek its destruction. This is an opportunity for the Democrats—an opportunity to distance themselves from the small, vocal group of leftist extremists to whom they so often pander. More importantly, it offers the Democrats the chance to do the right thing by the Israeli people.

Let’s encourage our Democratic elected officials to make the right choice.