Outspoken critic of the Israeli bombing and occupation of Gaza Norman Finkelstein was one of 26 demonstrators arrested today outside of the Israeli Consulate. The protestors laid down along the crosswalk of 43rd Street and Second Avenue, blocking traffic. All 26 were arrested and taken to the 7th precinct, where they are being charged with disobeying a lawful order.
The NYPD was there in force, no doubt already informed of the plans for civil disobedience, and were ready with plastic zipcuffs. After giving warnings over a megaphone, protestors were asked one by one if they wanted to be arrested. When they didn’t comply they were told they would be charged with resisting arrest.
Some got up on their own and were arrested, while others remained limp on the ground and were picked up by several officers. Four police vans were used to take away the protestors after having their photograph taken at the scene.
A call for volunteers to join him in civil disobedience was posted on Facebook yesterday after the Israeli government promised to ramp up its bombing of Gaza.
“I am ready to commit civil disobedience tomorrow, Tuesday, 29 July, at the Israeli Mission to the U.N. However, I don’t believe in individual acts of martyrdom
It’s got to be a collective action.”
Finkelstein, who in 2008 was arrested in and deported from Israel, went on to say: “If 100 people either sign up to get arrested or to be there in solidarity, I’ll be there too.” He didn’t reach that number, but went on to be arrested anyway.
Additional reporting by Tessa Stuart
More photos on the next page.