The Day the Democratic Socialists of America Spat on Jews at Times Square

It turns out there’s a war, so to speak, going on right here in New York City.

Adam Gray/Getty Images
Demonstrators march in support of the Palestinian Arabs on October 8, 2023 at New York City. Adam Gray/Getty Images

The enemies of our people overwhelmed us. They encountered no resistance. I don’t mean in Israel. I mean right here at New York City.

Wake up.

There has been a war going on here, too, a war to influence what this great country thinks of Israel.  Whether America thinks correctly or incorrectly,  what America thinks matters.

So if you, like me, have been sitting here this weekend feeling useless to our brothers and sisters in Israel, let’s stop being useless. Let’s hold the line our family in Israel expected us to hold all along. Let’s end the lies about Hamas seeking anything other than the total destruction of Israel.

Sunday afternoon, several dozen Jews, allies, and I showed up at Times Square. We came to witness, and challenge, a pro-Hamas rally supported by the Democratic Socialists of America. The DSA endorses several prominent American politicians, including Congressman Jamaal Bowman.

We watched as more than a hundred persons across the NYPD barricade responded to this weekend’s acts of Hamas brutality by shouting “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” and “We Don’t Want Two States, We Want All of It”.  Some spat at us. The DSA urged their attendees to wear masks and avoid being photographed, but one unmasked individual proudly displayed a swastika on his phone.

The image made the front page of Monday’s New York Post. The masks are off.

All good people of conscience have found the words to express their disgust at the barbarism with which Hamas murdered pregnant women, raped young women, and committed mass executions reminiscent of Babi Yar.

They have found the words to express the certainty that Hamas must now be eliminated, even as they recognize the humanity of the Gazan population, and the moral choices that lie in wait for Israel given the Hamas approach of hiding behind civilian shields.

Mr. Bowman did not find the right words.

His response to the weekend’s violence was to bemoan the Gaza blockade.  Would Mr. Bowman prefer Hamas to have more access to weapons, more points of entry into Israel? Is he ignorant of the fact that Israel was allowing 17,000 laborers to cross over from Gaza each day?

I call on Mr. Bowman to utilize the clarity of Monday’s hate-filled rally to disassociate himself from the DSA and their positions.  I call on him to unequivocally support Israel’s right to self-defense.

Jews and allies of good will in New York’s 16th Congressional district: Remember the images you saw this weekend. There will soon come pressure for Israel to let Hamas stay in power. Jewish blood must no longer be cheap. I urge you: impose consequences for elected officials who are soft on terror when Jews, including at least nine Americans, are the victims.

It’s time for those of us in the center to make our voices heard.

There are many of us. We may disagree about which policies are best for Israel, or which governments are best to lead it, or even the circumstances under which we should tell Israel what to do. Yet we all recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. 

We all know there is no moral equivalence between cruel, intentional attacks by Hamas on civilians and targeted airstrikes by the IDF who sacrifice military objectives to save civilian lives. We all believe Israel can achieve its goals with humanity and without racism, building a region that celebrates all faiths and identities.

We have much work to do to overcome extremist voices. Let’s start by holding our elected officials to account and bringing them back to reality. We must demand that they, including Mr. Bowman, break from extremist groups that foment antisemitic hatred like DSA. The time to write them and make that clear is now.


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