(The Center Square) — New York politicians are condemning a pro-Palestinian demonstration over the weekend after the militant group Hamas attacked Israel in an unprovoked attack that killed hundreds.
The “all out for Palestine” rally, promoted by the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, featured pro-Palestinian demonstrators who denounced Israel and demanded the U.S. end support for the Jewish state. Some held signs saying, “free Palestine” and “go to hell Israel,” according to news reports.
The protests followed Hamas’ sneak attack on Saturday, killing more than 900 Israelis and injuring thousands. Hamas is holding at least 150 Israelis hostage, many of them women, children and the elderly, according to news reports. The militant group, backed by Iran, has threatened to execute them.
The attack prompted a declaration of war by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which was followed by retaliatory strikes by Israel on Gaza, killing hundreds.
Gov. Kathy Hochul was among the first political leaders to condemn Sunday’s demonstrations in New York City’s Times Square, calling them “abhorrent and morally repugnant.”
“The people of Israel are facing violent terrorist attacks and civilian kidnappings,” the Democrat said in a statement Saturday night.
Hochul’s comments were echoed by fellow top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said he couldn’t recall a protest as “ill-timed and cold-hearted.”
“We’ve seen unprecedented viciousness coming from Hamas aimed at innocent families and children,” the Democrat said. “Everyone — no matter your views — should condemn this brutal act.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Westchester Democrat, blasted the rally as “completely inappropriate” in the wake of the terrorist attack.
Republican state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt also condemned the protest, calling for any elected official who attended to resign.
“Any legislators who do not explicitly condemn this group are complicit,” he posted on social media. “Any that continue accepting DSA support must be removed from committees & should resign. There are no excuses.”
Democratic Socialists of America, which has endorsed high-profile New York politicians like Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman are known for their critical views of Israel—several state lawmakers and New York City Council members are affiliated with the group.
In a social media post, the group’s parent organization says it didn’t organize the Times Square rally and “unequivocally condemn the killing of all civilians.”
But the group argued that “the Israeli state has systematically denied Palestinians the right to self-determination for decades.”
“Today’s events are a direct result of Israel’s apartheid regime — a regime that receives billions in funding from the United States,” the group’s parent organization posted on social media. “End the violence. End the occupation. Free Palestine.”
The statements prompted angry responses from New York lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle, accusing the group of being antisemitic.
“I have been warning for years about the deep rot of antisemitism at the core of the DSA and its enablers,” U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-Bronx, said in a social media post. “There’s no denying it anymore.”