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My Fox NY Inaccurately Reported on the pro-Gaza Protest at Times Square

November 19, 2012 Comments off

This man, taken into custody by police, was thrown to the ground by police when witnesses said he appeared to resist arrest. Though Fox News NY claims this protest “remained peaceful,” he lay in a pool of his own blood, some of it covering his face. Taken at Times Square on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at the barricades in front of the pro-Palestinian rally on support of Gaza.

A group of Palestinians and their supporters, including Jewish members of the group NKUSA, held a rally in Times Square on Sunday afternoon to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinians. A group of pro-Israeli supporters set themselves up directly across the street from the Palestinians, but they moved further away when tensions grew, insults were traded and violence looked like it might ensue. At some points it did, though you would not know it if  you listened to Fox News or others stations that covered the event.

At about 4:30 pm two men in support of the Israeli went into the middle of the street next to the police barricades, approached the Palestinian group and began to taunt them. A small number of men from the pro-Palestinian side jumped over the barricade, and a fight quickly ensued, according to Andrew Wright, an independent journalist and eyewitness of the event. Police nearby formed a ring around the men, making it extremely difficult to tell which side threw the first punch.

At least three men were put in handcuffs and arrested by police, two of whom had visible flags or other markings identifying them with the Palestinian side, including the man in the pictures with a bloodied face. It was not clear if one of the three men arrested at the scene was from the pro-Israeli side, as police physically blocked journalists from taking pictures and forced them to leave the area.

In a video report posted on the My Fox NY News website, posted just after the protest, entitled “NYC reaction to conflict in Middle East,” reporter Stacey Delikat claimed that “those demonstrations in Time Square did remain peaceful.” (fast forward to 02:03 in the video) This is simply incorrect. Ms. Delikat should have been aware of the violence because in the same report she says that police told My Fox News NY, the company for which she filed her report, that they “are expecting more [protests by pro-Palestinian supporters] like them in the coming weeks.”

A man with markings that appeared to identify him with the pro-Palestinian side of the rally was tackled by police after eyewitnesses said he had resisted arrest when police tried to break up a fight between Jews and Palestinians in Times Square on Sunday, November 18, 2012. Police handled him pretty roughly, and can be seen pushing his head into the pavement.

Ms. Delikat also mentioned that “earlier today there was a heavy police presence in Times Square.” Might the “heave police presence” have something to do with the tensions the two groups have due to the escalating violence in Gaza? Her video focused instead efforts of peace between Israelis and Palestinians in New York, which is real but is not the whole story as the pictures make clear.

AM New York, a free daily that is given to people as they enter the subways on their way to work, also covered the same protest. Their article by Sheila Feeney, entitled “Pro and anti Israel demonstrators both rally in Times Square,” says “It was unclear if any arrests were made in connection with the demonstrations yesterday.” It looked pretty clear to those on the scene that at least three men were detained, put in handcuffs and taken away by police. Two independent journalists are on record saying they saw these men being arrested. Details about what happened to them afterwards have not been reported publicly, but eyewitnesses said the man with the bloodied face had tried to resist arrest, which was why he was tackled by police. Was there not at least one arrest then?

PressTV, which is an Iranian station, filed a video report by Hank Flynn entitled “New Yorkers urge Israel to end war on Gaza.” It too failed to mention violence at the NYC protest in its report either, though they had been seen in the area round the time of the violence filming by reporter Andrews, cited earlier.

When contacted and shown a copy of the photos, the Associated Press said “Unfortunately the photos have lost their news value – they arrived a day after the protest,” and was not interested in publishing them. Fox NY News could not be reached for comment, and the managing editor at AM New York was unable to be reached, even though he was called several times. PressTV’s offices are in Iran, with no local number listed on their website.

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Not only was there violence at the protest, but from the very beginning of the rally at 2:40 pm, there was a lot of tension and events looked like they might easily get out of control, at least until the two groups were separated by police to an even greater distance. One man in the pro-Palestinian group made threatening gestures towards the Israeli side early on in the protest, first giving the middle finger and then putting his hand in the shape of gun and doing a mock shooting.

Additionally, several people from the pro-Israeli side were observed walking over to Jewish members in support of the Palestinian side, saying inaudible words in Hebrew and, in at least one case, spitting on Jewish members of NKUSA, according to Mr. Wright. It is no wonder the police had to separate the groups, and there had to be a “heavy police presence.” The majority of people on both sides were non-violent, including 50 or so members of the pro-Israeli and several hundred members of the pro-Palestinian side, but there were violent incidents and clear signs of threats. Is it accurate to claim the rallies were “peaceful”?
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