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Caught in the Middle of a Pro-Palestinian Protest

On Friday, Feb. 2, the pro-Palestinian organization Within Our Lifetime led a march from the Columbia University campus to 108th St. and Broadway. 

Upon hearing loud screams and witnessing people running down the street, my family and I, who live near the site of the protest, went outside to find the root of the commotion. We saw hundreds of people gathered holding Palestinian flags and chanting “NYPD, KKK, IDF, they’re all the same!” And “Say it loud, say it clear, we don’t want no Zionists here!” 

When my father took out his phone to film, a protester hit his arm, knocking his phone to the ground. When my mother began filming, many yelled profanities at her. A few minutes later, I got into an argument with a man. He was telling me that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and that “The United Nations International Court ruled them guilty.” 

I immediately responded, “No they didn’t! They ruled Israel innocent!” 

To which he shouted, “That’s propaganda! Stop believing propaganda!” 

He then stuck a mini Palestinian flag in my face. Right afterward, a different man offered me his Palestinian flag. I looked at it and did not say anything.

 He yelled: “Yeah, if you take my s*** I’ll slap the s*** out of you.” 

My father yelled at him, “Did you just threaten to hit my daughter?” 

He responded: “It’s girls like her that Israel is killing.” 

A few minutes later, when my family was all together, people circled us and screamed “Baby killers” in unison. 

As we left the mob, people shouted “You are just like Hitler” and “You are a Nazi supporter.” 

Being in the protest was terrifying. While I had been aware of similar demonstrations through media coverage, being physically present within one was an entirely different level of fear and distress.

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