A man wearing a Hezbollah shirt at an anti-Israel protest in Union Square, June 10, 2024. (Luke Tress)

Nova music festival exhibition is extended in NY after anti-Israel activists target it for protest



Nova music festival exhibition is extended in NY after anti-Israel activists target it for protest

A man wearing a Hezbollah shirt at an anti-Israel protest in Union Square, June 10, 2024. (Luke Tress)

(New York Jewish Week) — Anti-Israel activists took their roving protests on Monday to the street outside a Lower Manhattan exhibition commemorating the victims of the Nova music festival massacre on Oct. 7.

Hundreds of protesters, led by the hardline pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetime, gathered outside the exhibit on Wall Street, lighting flares and smoke canisters in the colors of the Palestinian flag. Footage from the scene showed the protesters chanting “Long live the intifada,” a reference to two Palestinian uprisings, the second of which, in the early 2000s, was a years-long wave of terror attacks that killed some 1,000 Israelis.

Since Oct. 7, Within Our Lifetime has staged frequent street protests against Israel, and Monday’s came amid what the group called a “Day of Rage” that featured stops in multiple locations. The Nova stop stood out because it targeted a site meant to memorialize the more than 360 people murdered by Hamas at the festival, where the terror group also took dozens of hostages during its invasion of Israel.

The exhibit is an interactive display set up in collaboration with some of the producers and survivors of the music festival and aims to recreate the visuals and sounds of the massacre.

On Monday night, the Nova exhibition posted a statement by music producer Scooter Braun, who helped bring the exhibition to New York, announcing that it would be extended until June 22 and responding to the protesters.

“And fr those who chose to protest against innocent music lovers who were massacred… WE WILL DANCE AGAIN… and you are all invited,” wrote Braun, who is Jewish, invoking a slogan adopted by the massacre’s survivors. “Thank you for the inspiration. It is more important than ever that we fight for our shared humanity.”

Before heading to the exhibit, the anti-Israel activists gathered in Union Square. Protesters had flags and shirts bearing the insignia of the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups, and argued with pro-Israel counter-protesters in the area. A sign in the crowd said, “The Zionists are not Jews and not humans.”

Police kept the two sides separated, though there were small scuffles between the two sides after a pro-Palestinian demonstrator attempted to snatch an Israeli flag.

One man told the pro-Israel side, “I wish Hitler was still here. He would have wiped you all out.” Others carried a banner that said, “Long live October 7th.”

The protests drew harsh criticism from city politicians, including Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, both of whom are Jewish. Levine said on social media that the “targeting of the exhibition is not pro-peace. It is repulsive and vile.” Lander called the demonstration “an abominable example of antisemitism.”

During a Tuesday press briefing, Mayor Eric Adams said he was “extremely troubled” by the protest, adding that he planned to go to the exhibit in the next day in a show of support.

“I thought it was despicable, it was disgusting,” Adams said of the protest. “You cannot call for peace while you’re celebrating what happened on Oct. 7.”

A number of pro-Palestinian groups in the city have leaned into open support for terror groups in recent weeks, including student groups, some of which coordinate with Within Our Lifetime. Antisemitic incidents have surged in the city since Oct. 7, according to NYPD data.

Ahead of the protests, Within Our Lifetime had urged followers to take “autonomous action” against the city’s museums during the “Day of Rage.” The group has previously targeted museums and hospitals, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Within Our Lifetime celebrated the protest at the exhibition, posting on X, “We flooded the streets, took over the subway and shut down the Nova Exhibition,” followed by an inverted red triangle, a symbol used by Hamas.

After the protest, the group posted a message to its Telegram channel saying it had “shut down Zionist propaganda exhibit.”

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