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Hundreds of protesters crowded the entrance of New York’s Museum of Modern Art on Friday afternoon, September 17, during a march dubbed “Globalize The Intifada.” The protest was part of “phase 2” of the Strike MoMA campaign, which began as a series of 10 weekly demonstrations this spring in protest against the museum’s dependence on toxic philanthropy and its alleged complicity in war profiteering, environmental degradation, and the dispossession of communities worldwide.
Waving Palestinian flags and carrying banners that read “Globalize The Intifada” and “This Is Class War,” the protesters marched by over a dozen sites across Midtown Manhattan. Locations other than MoMA included Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, the Ford Foundation, BlackRock, and City University of New York (CUNY). The protesters splattered the buildings of some of these institutions with blood-red paint, accusing them of taking part in the oppression and killing of Palestinians.
Several protesters brandished silver spoons, which became a symbol of Palestinian resistance after six Palestinian prisoners escaped from a maximum-security Israeli prison on September 6 via a tunnel they had reportedly dug with tablespoons. All six prisoners have since been recaptured; “Free them all,” the protesters chanted.
“Globalize the Intifada” is a new action framework that adopts the Palestinian uprising (“Intifada”) against the Israeli occupation as a model of resistance for oppressed people worldwide. It is led by groups like Decolonize This Place, Within Our Lifetime, MoMA Divest, and others who had taken part in the Strike MoMA protests. These protests are expected to continue over the upcoming weeks, with MoMA as one of their main targets.
Led by a marching band and tailed by a police force, over 200 protesters arrived at MoMA around 6pm, about half an hour after the museum’s closing time at 5:30pm. Nonetheless, the museum’s security staff was on high alert as the protesters held their speeches and chanted their slogans.
“This is not just a museum,” said Nerdeen Kiswani of Within Our Lifetime through a bullhorn. “This is where they wash their money, where they wash their reputation,” she continued, referring to MoMA’s trustees. She specifically admonished MoMA’s Honorary Chairman and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, who has been pushing to label criticism of Israel’s policies as anti-Semitism. (MoMA has not responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.)
On at least two occasions, passersby heckled the speeches, yelling, “Shut the fuck up.”
Before proceeding to other stops, some protesters splashed two of MoMA’s entrances with red paint. They repeated that at locations including CUNY, New York University (NYU), and the Central Fund of Israel.
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Hakim Bishara is a staff writer for Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he holds an… More by Hakim Bishara
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