Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists disrupted the City Council’s stated meeting on Thursday while members were voting on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The protesters started yelling, “shame on you, Melissa”, “why are you supporting an apartheid” and “Palestinian lives matter.”
After five minutes of yelling and screaming, the some 40 protesters were ordered to leave and escorted out the balcony.
WATCH A PARTIAL VIDEO OF THE DISRUPTION:
Council member Cory Johnson called it “incredibly disrespectful and offensive. Simply awful.” Councilman Mark Weprin added, “The State of Israel has never supported the killing of innocent people, and they want to love in peace.”
“I am still shaken, upset and angry,” Councilman David Greenfield. “While we were discussing a resolution regarding the murder of 1.1 million human beings – I will point out that 90 percent of them were Jewish, but the other 10 percent, they were political dissidents .. those were the people who were being killed together at Auschwitz-Birkenau. While we were discussing that, they had the chutzpah, the nerve, the temerity, to unfurl a Palestinian flag and yell at us.”
“But I’m pleased, because we can stop pretending that this is about Israel. What we saw here was naked, blind antisemitism, good old fashioned antisemitism,” Greenfield roared. “That’s what you saw, and that’s what you watched, and that’s what you witnessed – people who were upset for one reason. Do you want to know why they’re upset, do you want to know why they’re angry, do you want to know why they unfurled that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job. He only wiped out half of my family.”
The trip to Israel is a message that “we will not be cowered by this fear and hatred,” he added.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went over to Greenfield and shook his hand as an expression of support.
Republican Council member Eric Ulrich also took the mic to state that “to be pro Israel you don’t have to be Jewish.”
“Israel is a vibrant democracy and I’m proud to go back to Israel again. I will not be intimidated by the hecklers. I will not sit here and allow people to attack the Jews.” Ulrich said.
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in an emailed statement, “At a time when the Council was voting on a resolution commemorating the 70thanniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, this outburst was offensive, outrageous and counter to the values of the City Council.”
Watch David Greenfield’s passionate remarks on the floor of the City Council Chambers: