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City Protests Rip Powell’s Powwow

Monday, April 15th, 2002
By Amy Sacks, Gretchen E. Weber and Jonathan Lenure

Thousands of demonstrators clogged streets in Brooklyn and Midtown yesterday to voice solidarity with Israel and condemn Secretary of State Powell’s meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

In Brooklyn, more than 2,000 members of Brighton Beach’s thriving Russian Jewish population appealed for the U.S. to fully support what some called Israel’s “war for survival.”

“We do not want another Holocaust to take place,” said Losif Lekarov, 75, a leader of a group of Jews from the former Soviet Union. “Jews are not anti-Arab or anti-Muslim. We are anti-terrorist.”

The predominantly elderly crowd – among them many Holocaust survivors – carried signs that read “Prosecute Arafat Now for Premeditated Murder,” and chanted, ‘Never again! “

At the rally’s conclusion, Merle Glezerman, 65, lit one of a thousand votive candles at the Congregation Hebrew Alliance synagogue. “I am also remembering my relatives who died in the Holocaust” said Glezerman, who fled Odessa for Brooklyn in 1990. “If s happening again.”

In an afternoon protest outside the Palestinian Mission to the United Nations, the heated pro-Israeli cries took on a more political bent.

“By meeting with Yasser Arafat Colin Powell is belittling the Jewish blood that has been spilled,” said Rem Torossian, director of Americans for Israel’s Survival, which organized the protest. “He would never meet with [terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden, so why is there a double standard for terrorists?

An hour later, outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a group of about 50 Palestinian Christians gathered in support of their brethren in the Middle East.

“We want to let people know there are many Palestinian Christians, and they are under siege,” said the Rev. Thomas Zain of the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn

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