Protesters respond to Abbas taking over largest bloc
of member states at UN
Protesters in New York City, including Jewish students, against Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas as he took over the chairmanship of the Group of 77 at the United Nations. Credit: Rambam Mesivta.
Around 200 protesters marched outside the Millennium Hilton Hotel in New York City on Tuesday as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas took over the chairmanship of the largest bloc of member states at the United Nations. The Group of 77, or G77—a U.N. group that includes 134 developing countries—elected Riyad Mansour, head of the Palestinian mission, as its next leader for 2019. This move came after the U.N. General Assembly held a special vote last October to elevate the Palestinian mission, which was awarded observer status in 2012, and thus make it eligible to lead the bloc.
Rabbi Zev Friedman, head of the Rambam Mesivta school in Lawrence, N.Y., brought students to protest what he called “a move on [the U.N.’s] part to give [Abbas] a sense of legitimacy so that eventually he would be granted a Palestinian state … recognition at the world body without having to negotiate directly with Israel. We thought it would be prudent to have a counterweight so the narrative didn’t just be that Abbas was crowned the head of the State of Palestine and 134 other countries, plus China, but there should be a discussion in terms of who Abbas is,” he added.