Protesters Storm MoMA with Palestinian Flags and Spoons

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Protesters Storm MoMA with Palestinian Flags and Spoons

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.

Pro-Palestinian protesters arriving at MoMA on Friday afternoon, September 17
Artist-activist Alicia Grullón (right) giving a speech at MoMA’s main entrance

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.

The protesters demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel
The protesters are calling to adopt the Palestinian Intifada as a model of resistance against oppression worldwide

Led by a marching band and tailed by a police escort, 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.

Several protesters brandished spoons, which have recently become a symbol of Palestinian resistance
Over 200 protesters occupied MoMA’s entrance
Protesters marching with banner carrying the slogan: “Globalize The Intifada”
“This is where they wash their money,” said Nerdeen Kiswani of Within Our Lifetime
Escorted by the NYPD, the protesters marched for hours through Midtown Manhattan
MoMA’s staff entrance, smeared with red paint
The protesters also splashed MoMA’s barricaded entrance

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