Brooklyn reveals up for Palestine in Bay Ridge

A pro-Palestinian protest draws thousands to Bay Ridge on Saturday. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner.

Large crowds took to the streets of Bay Ridge on Saturday, May 15, to demonstrate their support for Palestine amid the fighting between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. The event also commemorated the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948, known as “Nakba” day.

“Despite the over 73-year disaster, the Palestinians remain steadfast and resilient in defending our country and our nation,” said Nerdeen Kiswani, a Palestinian and American. “The ‘Nakba’ is not a unique historical event. It is a daily process of settler colonialism, the goal of which is the complete expulsion of indigenous Palestinians from our land. “

Kiswani is the founder of Within Our Lifetime (WOL), a community-run organization that fights for Palestinians in Brooklyn.

Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of Within Our Lifetime, speaks at the rally for the liberation of Palestine in Bay Ridge. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner

The crowd pounded drums as they marched and sang, “We Will Free Palestine In Our Lives” and “From River To Sea | Palestine Will Be Free” around the Bay Ridge, blocking one side of Interstate 278 after sunset.

Some protesters entered a Gowanus Expressway and blocked traffic on one side of the street. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner

“We are in a historic moment. What we do from now on will determine the future of our and the next generation. We cannot allow another generation of Palestinian children to watch their families being massacred in the blink of an eye, ”said Dr. Hafsa Kanjwal, Member of Critical Kashmir Studies and Associate Professor at Lafayette College, at the rally. She said the Palestinian and Kashmiri struggles are linked.

Dr. Hafsa Kanjwal speaks at the Bay Ridge rally on Saturday to support the Palestinian resistance. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner.

“You are either in full solidarity with the oppressed or you are on the side of the oppressor. Don’t let anyone ask you to compromise. Don’t let anyone tell you to be practical. Don’t let anyone tell you this is complicated. Tell the truth wherever and whenever you can, ”said Dr. Kanjwal.

The demonstration, which according to Within Our Lifetime attended about 50,000 people, was organized by Al-Awda NY: PRRC, American Muslim for Palestine – NJ, Samidoun. Many other grassroots organizations in NYC stood in solidarity with Palestine. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner.

A group of Jews, led by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, had been walking from Williamsburg to Bay Ridge since the Saturday Sabbath.

“Our brothers here in the United States and around the world who remain faithful to the Torah will never accept the occupation of Palestine. The Torah forbids Jews to occupy other people, ”Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss whispered in the ears of the organizers, and then they repeated what he said to the crowd over the microphone.

Rabbi Weiss marches on 5th Ave Bay Ridge during a pro-Palestinian protest. He sang “Judaism yes | Zionism no” and “Free Palestine”. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner.

“All over the world we are demonstrating for the Palestinian people, but the news doesn’t cover any of that. Let the world know that this is not an interreligious conflict. Because we are Jews, we protest against the Zionist state of Israel. One day the Almighty will end the occupation because this is unacceptable, ”he added and asked the people to be silent for a few minutes for Palestine.

A young Jewish boy who went to Bay Ridge with the group from Williamsburg holds and waves a Palestinian flag while carrying a sign that reads “Judaism Condemns the State of Israel.” Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner

Omar, an 8 year old Palestinian, spoke at the rally and said, “Assalamualikum [may peace be upon you]. My name is Omar and I want peace. My heart has hurt ever since I saw the video of Israel’s bomb in my house. Babies and children are also murdered for defending their homes. In addition, Israel is destroying Al-Aqusa and taking over everything the people have. Their houses are being taken. That’s not fair. There should be peace. ”

Bella Hadid, who received a backlash from Israel, also joined the protest.

Protesters climbed up the streetlights and waved their flags for everyone to see. Mukta Ahmad / Bklyner.

Fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza began in the second week, with the death toll of “197, including at least 58 children and 34 women,” according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Ten deaths have been reported in Israel in Tel Aviv.

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