Hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters – including Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon – came together in Union Square Friday, where demonstrators chanted “long live the Intifada!” and passed out troubling maps of pro-Israel locations to target.
“From New York to Gaza, globalize the intifada!” was one of the many slogans the crowd chanted, while many waved Palestinian flags.
“Intifada intifada. Long live the intifada!” was another cheer, as well as a chorus of “We don’t want no two-state, we want 48!”
The latter cheer refers to the 1948 United Nations Partition Plan, which created the modern State of Israel.
By vocally rejecting a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, many feel that the protesters are calling for the destruction of the Jewish State and its people.
Actress Susan Sarandon donned a playful Simpsons-themed bomber jacket to the protest, which also called out politicians by name.
She joined the crowd in chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – which is largely regarded as an antisemitic slogan that implies the decimation of Israel – before addressing the group herself.
“There are a lot of people that are afraid, that are afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country,” she said.
“It’s important to listen, it’s important to have facts…you don’t have to go through the entire history of that region, you just have to show the babies that are dying in incubators,” the 77-year-old continued.
“Those images are enough to show you that something is drastically wrong. We need a ceasefire now,” she declared, to the sound of cheers.
The group also denounced Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and demanded that President “Genocide Joe” Biden “has got to go” for several minutes.
One group with keffiyeh scarves wrapped around their faces held a banner reading “From Gaza to Jenin Revolution until victory,” referring to the state of Israel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Other protesters handed out “zone of direct action” flyers that called out New York City Jewish organizations as well as newsrooms, businesses, and landmarks targeted for retaliation for the Israel-Hamas war.
The map – which has since been deleted – was originally posted on Instagram Wednesday night by Within Our Lifetime, which also planned the Union Square gathering, according to social media posts.
Within Our Lifetime Organizer Nerdeen Kiswani accused the “right-wing media” of falsely vilifying the map in her speech to the protesters.
“The second thing on the list is News Corp, which houses Fox News, which houses the New York Post,” she said to boos from the crowd.
“As one king said ‘Fox News is Zionist news, corporate Zionist news,’” she continued to cheers.
Kiswani also slammed The New York Times for its alleged “whitewashing of the Israeli genocide of Palestinian people.”
“Predictably they did not even report on the blood on their very own door on their very own headquarters to showcasing their hypocrisy and continuous lies…and to hide the truth about Palestine,” she said.
“And the fact that the the right-wing media is saying this is them actually peddling antisemitic conspiracy theories.
“But they took this down,” she said, referring to the map.
“And although they can try to censor us online, they cannot censor us in the street.”
The companies on the map are “complicit” in the devastation of the Gaza Strip, Kiswani insisted.
After almost two hours in Union Square, the protesters began their march to Bryant Park, where they planned to join the the #ShutItDown4Palestine rally in Bryant Park at 5 p.m..
The “ShutItDown” movement is a global push supported by several activist groups – including the Palestinian Youth Movement and the People’s Forum – calling for protests in support of Palestinians.
On the way north, the organizers led the protesters in chants outside a handful of the businesses and landmarks named on the map.
“Starbucks, Starbucks! You can’t hide, you make drinks for genocide!” they yelled outside the famous coffee purveyor’s Union Square location.
“Instagram and Facebook are complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people!” Kiswani then led the crowd in yelling outside Meta’s headquarters.
The demonstrators also called the social media networks “Zionist sympathetic platforms.”
“Instagram you can’t hide! You support genocide! Meta, you can’t hide! You support genocide!” they cried.
“We should be protesting the locations on the map every day because they are the enemies of the people!” Kiswani yelled through a megaphone.
As the group continued to march, they shouted “Gaza! Gaza! Gaza!” into the streets.
Some of the protesters held a banner that read “By any means necessary” – seemingly implying that Palestine should be freed at all costs, even violence.
The Union Square event is one of hundreds of similar gatherings that took place in New York City and beyond this week, as tensions continue to simmer in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 sneak attack on southern Israel and Israel’s subsequent retaliatory bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
On Friday morning, 16 protesters were arrested when a similar gathering barged into the lobby of News Corp’s Manhattan headquarters, which was one of the many media sites called out on Within Our Lifetime’s map.
An additional 20 people were taken into custody outside BNY Mellon in Tribeca, which was one of the financial institutions on the map.