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At Rally for Hostages, Some Boo When Congressman Calls for Gaza Aid

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York was booed on Sunday at a demonstration in Manhattan calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas after he encouraged attendees to also push for humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza.

“As we remember the heinous crimes committed by Hamas, we must continue to press for lifesaving humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people, too,” Mr. Nadler, a Democrat and the longest-serving Jewish member of the House of Representatives, said during a speech at the event at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, near the United Nations headquarters.

While some people in the crowd applauded, others began to boo as he went on: “We must do more, because we are better than Hamas. We must do more to bring food and assistance to those who are suffering.” The heckling grew louder and continued until the end of the congressman’s remarks as more attendees joined in, some chanting “bring them home” or “shame.”

A crowd that appeared to number in the thousands had gathered for the demonstration, whose date was chosen to mark six months since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. As police officers looked on, participants arrived holding Israeli flags and signs that said “Bring them home now.” The event was coordinated by over 150 organizations, including synagogues, pro-Israel groups and the New York chapter of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which was founded in the wake of the attacks. About 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza, according to the Israeli authorities.

Mr. Nadler, introduced as a “leader who is a strong supporter of Israel and a fighter of antisemitism,” was among a list of speakers that included family members of hostages and Naftali Bennett, a former Israeli prime minister.

The response to Mr. Nadler reflected a divide among Jewish New Yorkers over the way Israel is conducting its war against Hamas. Some reject any criticism of Israel, while others, including activist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, have rallied for a cease-fire, denouncing the Israeli and U.S. governments over the mounting death toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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