The encounter between
Israeli navy and Gaza-bound aid flotilla prompted demonstrators in New York City to gather Monday afternoon outside the Israeli Mission to the United Nations as the UN Security Council debated the deadly clash, Xinhua reported.
But they were in the shadow of a giant anti-Israeli demonstration by Orthodox Jews protesting grave removals planned well ahead of the maritime attack late Sunday and early Monday off the Israeli coast.
Just a block away from the UN Headquarters on Manhattan's East River in central New York, demonstrators descended on the intersection of East 42nd Street and Second Avenue. In an office building on the Northeast corner of the busy intersection is the Israeli mission and consulate.
Across the street, on the southeast corner, one of three young women standing together held a hand-lettered sign reading, "I support peace; I support Israel."
Standing alongside were three young men, one holding another hand-made sign reading, "Down with Hamas," the ruling Palestinian party in Gaza.
Kitty-corner from the mission, on the southwest corner, was a hodgepodge of demonstrators against Israel behind police barricades, including a handful of traditionally dressed Orthodox Jewish men with the sign, "Judaism condemns Zionist atrocities in Gaza, (signed) a Jew Not a Zionist."
A man who appeared to be alone walked back and forth with a placard reading "Obama is a War President" on one side and "U.S. is to Iraqis as Israel, is to Palestinians" on the other.
Four women wearing hijab and traditional long dresses and three young women wearing scarves over their heads mingled among the demonstrators.
A bearded young man carrying a black and white banner with Arabic script, declined to identify himself other than to say he was one of about 15 Muslims who came from the central part of the U.S. state of New Jersey, across the bay from New York City to protest the Israeli clash with the flotilla.
"This is in reaction because of what happened," he told Xinhua, referring to the clash, saying his group wanted to "inform" about Islam. The demonstrations on his corner lasted about 45 minutes, he said.
Across 42nd Street from the freelance anti-Israel demonstrators and across the avenue from the mission, on the Northwest corner of the intersection, a protest of a few thousand Orthodox Jewish men in broad-brimmed black-hats and long black coats demonstrated against the "desecration" of graves in Israel.
They were protesting against a relocation of ancient graves in southern city of Ashkelon to make way for construction of a hospital emergency room. The demonstrators believe the graves are Jewish bones that should not be moved.
The demonstration prepared more than a week in advance, a police offer told Xinhua, was complete with mammoth video screen and a booming sound system that relayed speakers' remarks for four blocks up Second Avenue, where hundreds of the demonstrators lined the west side of the avenue.
True Torah Jews sponsored the demonstration, highlighted by a phalanx of young men in traditional garb topped by sack cloth, carrying empty, black-draped, simulated coffins and chanting in Hebrew.
There were arrests connected with any of the demonstrations, a police spokesman told Xinhua.