Israel-Gaza War’s Grief Spills onto Church St.
by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct. 9, 2023
Half an hour into a tense and loud and flag-filled standoff between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protesters on the front steps of City Hall, city police brought in barricades to physically separate the two sides….
That was the scene outside of City Hall at 165 Church St. Monday afternoon during an at-times combustible, but never violent, set of dueling rallies sparked by the horrific bloodshed of the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza.
Several hundred people from across the city and the state turned out for the parallel protests … The two sides took turns, and shouted over one another, about the Israeli occupation, Hamas terrorism, open-air prisons and blockades, the kidnapping and murder of civilians, the righteous uprising of a dispossessed people, the righteous defense of democracy….
“Free, free Palestine!” one side cheered over and over again at Monday’s rally. “From Hamas!” cheered the other side in response.
The pro-Palestine protest was organized by a number of student and local lefty political groups, including the Connecticut Democratic Socialists of America, Yalies for Palestine, the Party for Socialism and Liberation-Connecticut, and Wesleyan Students for Justice in Palestine….
The pro-Israel contingent, meanwhile, saw a mix of New Haveners and Connecticut residents, many of whom are members of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic community, and nearly all of whom have close ties to and family and friends currently living in Israel….
Joshua Pernick, the rabbi in residence and director of Jewish life and community relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, told the Independent about his brother, who after a weeklong vacation in the United States returned to his home in Holon, Israel, this weekend just hours after Hamas began its attack. He and his wife and six-month-old child have been shuttling between shelters ever since, Pernick said. … “The problem of terrorism is it doesn’t discriminate….”
Faisal Saleh, the founder and director of Woodbridge’s Palestine Museum, showed up to the other side of City Hall’s steps Monday to support those rallying for Palestine.
Saleh was born and raised in the West Bank. He moved to the U.S. when he was 17, in 1969. He said he’s been communicating with Palestinian artists in Gaza who he knows through his museum work every few hours, just to make sure they are still alive amid the Israeli army’s strikes.
“Everybody is waiting to see what will happen,” he said….
[The article can be read in its entirety at newhavenindependent.org/article/israel_palestine]