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Protesters for Israel, Palestine clash in New York City amid tight security

Palestine supporters march on the streets of Manhattan an Emergency Rally for Gaza event on Monday in New York City. Israel's military is trying to gain control of all communities around Gaza more than 2 days after Hamas launched a surprise assault in which more than 700 people were killed. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 7 | Palestine supporters march on the streets of Manhattan an Emergency Rally for Gaza event on Monday in New York City. Israel's military is trying to gain control of all communities around Gaza more than 2 days after Hamas launched a surprise assault in which more than 700 people were killed. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Hundreds of protesters on both sides of the war in Israel rallied Monday outside of the Israel consulate in New York City, where Democrats clashed over an earlier pro-Palestinian rally in Times Square.

Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters marched on both sides of 42nd Street and Second Avenue amid tight security, two days after hundreds were killed in Hamas attacks in Israel and one day after Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu declared war.

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"I'm here today to show solidarity to the Palestinians," Flushing resident Saif Eldilemi told CBS News, as Westfield, N.J., resident John McWiggin said, "I'm not Jewish but I will always support the Jewish people."

Hundreds of New York police officers barricaded the two groups to keep them apart.

On Sunday, a pro-Palestinian rally in Times Square was endorsed by New York's chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and drew more than 1,000 people who chanted "Resistance is justified when people are occupied."

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"The people of Israel are facing violent terrorist attacks and civilian kidnappings. I condemn plans to rally in Times Square," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. "The planned rally is abhorrent and morally repugnant."

The rally, which featured signs saying "By any means necessary," drew a strong response from leading Democrats with many blasting the protest.

"Hamas terrorists massacred hundreds of Israeli civilians, including women and children. They took dozens more hostage, including Holocaust survivors and American citizens," Hudson Valley Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan wrote in a post on X. "To know all this, and choose to hold a protest in New York City, home to the largest Jewish population in the United States, is blatant antisemitism."

"The NYC-DSA is revealing itself for what it truly is: an antisemitic stain on the soul of America's largest city," Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres wrote on X. "There is a special place in hell for those who glorify the cold-blooded murder of civilians and children."

Those on the far-left, including New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, also denounced Hamas' deadly attacks on Israel but did not take a stand on the rally.

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"I condemn Hamas' attack in the strongest possible terms," Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. "No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence and fear, and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region. An immediate ceasefire and de-escalation is urgently needed to save lives."

"AOC do you agree with these lunatics?" Hudson Valley GOP Rep. Mike Lawler, who has a large Jewish population in his district, wrote on X. "Yesterday's terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas and sponsored by Iran is the fault of Israel? You should denounce this if you don't agree with it."

While Bowman condemned the violence, he did not call for a ceasefire.

"We need a way to end this deadly violence that is killing and traumatizing generations of Israelis and Palestinians alike -- including the blockade of Gaza," Bowman said in a statement. "We must work harder to ensure peace in the region."

While the pro-Palestinian rally garnered most of the attention, dozens of pro-Israel demonstrators also gathered Sunday in Times Square before marching toward the Consulate General of Israel. NYPD managed to keep the groups separated and said there were no arrests.

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In addition to New York, thousands attended protests and vigils in London on Monday night outside of the boarded-up Israeli embassy where police had to separate pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups. Pro-Palestinian protesters set off fireworks and chanted "Israel is a terrorist state" and "free Palestine."

In Paris, pro-Israel groups rallied for peace in a vigil Monday night as thousands gathered at Place Victor Hugo and marched to the Eiffel Tower, which was lit up like the Israeli flag.

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