The cries could be heard all the way from Diversity Plaza to Congressman Joseph Crowley’s office on 74th St. in Jackson Heights, as local residents and protestors gathered for a rally to support Palestine and oppose the congressman’s pro-Israel stance on the ongoing violence on the Gaza Strip.
Protestors gathered in Diversity Plaza, holding signs and flags, and marched to Crowley’s office as they chanted for freedom for Palestine.
Jemsine, a Jackson Heights resident who chose not to disclose her last name, spoke at the rally in the plaza before the march.
“Congressman Joseph Crowley does not speak for most of the residents of Jackson Heights when he publicly supports Israel,” she said. “We as immigrant communities of so many diverse nations and ethnicities, do not, cannot and will not support the homicide and genocide of a people.”
Congressman Crowley could not be reached for comment by press time.
Chants such as “Free, free Palestine!” and “Resistance is justified when people are occupied!” filled the air as the large group marched through Jackson Heights.
“What Israel is doing today with the ground invasion and everything, it’s actually not an aberration. It’s nothing new,” said Sarah Flores, a supporter of Palestine and member of the International Socialist Organization.
“It’s shocking, horrific tragedies, but it’s nothing new from what Israel’s project is, which is to continuously subordinate, dominate and terrify and terrorize the people of Palestine, because they want full acquiescence from Palestine.”
Another Jackson Heights resident, Jim McLoughlin, stood with the protestors as someone who has traveled to Gaza and met with leaders of Hamas a few years ago through the Council for the National Interest, a non-profit that works for Middle East policies that serve the American national interest.
McLoughlin said that the United States’ unconditional support of Israel is “detrimental to the U.S. standing in the world,” and that when he spoke to leaders of Hamas, their opinion was quite different than how Israeli leaders have portrayed it to the media.
“It’s always nice to hear the other side of the story, in particular, the universal question, ‘Why don’t you recognize Israel?’” McLoughlin said. “Well, there answer was, ‘What is it we’d be recognizing? We can’t recognize a moving goal post. If we recognize Israel today, tomorrow Israel will be bigger due to the settlements and the dispossession of Palestinians, so what is it exactly you’re asking us to recognize?’”