On May 13, more than 100 protesters gathered at the southwest corner of the New York Times building to protest the assassination of beloved Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli military. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner has said that the killing of Abu Akleh may constitute a war crime.
Organized by Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, they targeted the New York Times and other mainstream media for their callous coverage of the act. Members of different organizations spoke, each adding to the charge that the New York Times was “complicit in colonial violence.”
Wassim from Al-Awda took to the mic and said, “I was looking for the New York Times headlines, and all they said was she died at 51. That is unacceptable!” He continued to elucidate that this “devaluing of lives” is part of a system of oppression that will only end if we continue to fight back.
Amongst the outrage, others shared their deep grief for the loss of a respected member of the Palestinian community. Rabbi Joseph Kohn of Neturei Karta International shared in the anguish, “we send our condolences to Shireen’s friends and families, we stand united with Palestine.”
During the last half of the demonstration, speakers outlined what is ultimately required to stop this violence. Black Alliance for Peace speaker Margaret Kimberley told the crowd that it was not enough to just oppose Israel. Living in the United States, “we needed to also oppose U.S. imperialism,” she said.
Hannah Craig, shared with the crowd the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s call for solidarity with “the people of Palestine who continue to resist the violent Israeli apartheid regime and the brave journalists who put their lives on the line to tell their stories.” It is only by building socialism at home and abroad that we can oppose the brutal actions of global U.S. imperialism.
Lamis Deek from Al-Awda said that by demonstrating at this busy corner the action “hoped to reach the hearts of the masses of New York,” because “our strength and power lies in the masses.”
The crowd then took to the streets, blocking all eastbound traffic on 42nd St. and marched to the Israeli embassy where the protestors rallied one more time.