The 2017 Celebrate Israel Parade this year kicked off in style, with the NYPD marching band and mounted police unit at the front.
But even that Blue Line did not foresee the protestors who ambushed New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, and Honorary Grand Marshal Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat halfway through the march, up Fifth Avenue.
At 12:26pm at 6th Avenue and East 65th Street, a group of protesters ran directly in front of the two mayors while waving signs and shouting about ‘apartheid and racist policies’ going on both in Israel and New York City.
“Stop NYPD-IDF Deadly Exchange” read one of the signs. “Israel Out of Palestine, Cops Out of NYC,” read another. “End Israel’s Apartheid” read a third. One of the protesters told JewishPress.com, “Israeli military and U.S. police forces who cooperate to kill Palestinians and kill black and brown people, that’s Bill DeBlasio’s broken window … collaboration with the Israeli military.”
From the message on the signs one can see the mashup between the anarchist movement in the United States and the international pro-Palestinian Authority BDS (Boycott Divest & Sanctions) campaign against Israel.
The signs were cleverly folded in half to be held by parade “spectators” like the wings of a butterfly, so they wouldn’t be spotted by police until the mayors appeared.
However, NYPD made quick work of the agitators who were attempting to block both mayors from continuing their march.
Police officers gently but firmly herded them back on to the sidewalk, where there appeared to be more press and police than protesters.