Rally in Syracuse amplifies voices on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Pro-Palestinian Americans and others in Syracuse are denouncing the actions of both Israel and Hamas as the death toll on both sides of the conflict continues to mount. About 100 people with the group Justice for Palestine and their supporters gathered Friday for a rally in downtown Syracuse. The march commenced at the federal building and concluded at Columbus Circle.
Among them was Ahmad Mohammad Wady, a Palestinian American, who shared that two of his family members, his cousin who shares the same name as him and his uncle, were recently slain in the West Bank. He said he doesn’t identify with any organization and condemns all violence.
“In any sense of the word, the killing of anyone, any innocent civilian, Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Falastini, it’s unacceptable no matter what” Wady said. “Israeli people are being portrayed as martyrs and Palestinians are being portrayed as terrorists, even though most people that have died on both sides are civilians.”
Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center, Marci Erlebacher told WAER News earlier in the week that acknowledging the atrocities committed by Hamas is critical.
“I want to hear that before I start having empathy in appropriate places. I want to hear from them that this is unacceptable” she said.
The rally drew attendees from various backgrounds, including Palestinians, Israelis, and American Jews. Yet, in a statement sent two hours before the rally, Congressmember Brandon Williams called it a "Progressive-left, anti-Semitic demonstration" by the group Democratic Socialists of America that "denies Hamas terror, and denies the right of Israel to exist as a nation." Dana, who declined to share her last name for safety reasons, is Israeli American. She says calling pro-Palestinian supporters anti-Semitic is counterproductive.
“It’s a dangerous narrative to use. Just because you question the policies of a government does not make you anti-Semitic. I am myself a Jew therefore I don’t think I can call myself anti-Semitic. not to mention the fact that Semitic people also include Arabs, so Arabs are not being anti-Semitic,” Dana said.
Rally organizer Liam Hines called for the U.S. to cease its support for the Israeli government and wants the siege on Gaza to end. Hines questioned the priorities of the Biden administration for aiding the Israeli military over housing its own citizens.