A pro-Palestinian rally took place in Center City on Sunday night, demanding an end to the ongoing war in Gaza.
Natalie Abulhawa, a Temple alum, spoke about the purpose of the rally. “We are organizing for a free Palestine. We want our land back. We want the bombing to stop. We want Gaza to be free.”
However, the protest faced criticism when a group of demonstrators targeted the Israeli-owned restaurant, “Goldie.” Videos surfaced showing them chanting, “Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro condemned the incident, labeling it a “blatant act of antisemitism”.
He expressed concern about the intentional targeting of a Jewish-owned business, saying, “The purposeful gathering of a mob outside of a restaurant simply because it is owned by a Jewish person? Well, that’s antisemitism. Plain and simple.”
The White House also weighed in, with spokesperson Andrew Bates calling the chants a, “cruel and senseless double standard that is a calling card of antisemitism.”
The Philly Palestine Coalition defended their actions in a statement on Instagram, citing the restaurant’s support of the Israel Defense Forces as a motive for the act.
At the protest, Khalid Heba spoke about the group’s goal, “We just want to make our voices heard. We have power in numbers…”
Fellow protester, Brian Mazelis, clarified the rally’s purpose, “We just want to show that there’s masses of people who are in support of the 2 million people that are living in an open air prison and being subjected to some of the worst apartheid conditions that we’ve seen in our life.”
As for the duration of the protests, Khalid Heba affirmed the commitment, stating, “We’re going to be out here every day for as long as we can until we get some sort of resolution.”
The Philly Palestine Coalition plans to hold a protest in Harrisburg this Sunday in a continuing effort to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.