The organizer of a radical pro-Palestine protest attended by thousands of New Yorkers appears to have endorsed Hamas ‘ terror attacks as ‘heroic’ while calling for a mass mobilization to ‘honor our martyrs’. Nerdeen Kiswani (pictured left), from Brooklyn, New York, is the chair and co-founder of Within Our Lifetime (WOL), an extremist pro-Palestinian group that was behind an allegedly ‘pro-Hamas’ rally on Saturday.
Thousands of protesters marched through the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn calling for the ‘full liberation of all Palestine ‘, with some repeating a refrain – ‘from the river to the sea’ – that has been used by Hamas terrorists. WOL has claimed around 50,000 people attended Saturday’s rally, which led to clashes with police and approximately two dozen arrests. None of the group’s literature advertising the event mentions Hamas and it is unclear how many were aware of or supported the group’s extremist agenda.
But DailyMail.com can now reveal the full extent of WOL’s apparent backing of Hamas, whom they have previously described as ‘freedom fighters’. WOL and Kiswani also appear to have suggested their barbaric attacks on Israeli civilians, in which children and entire families were murdered and 222 people taken hostage, were justified. At 3.12pm on October 7, hours after Hamas had launched its onslaught, killing more than 1,400 people, Kiswani shared a post by WOL on the platform X, which called for a rally ‘as we mobilize to defend the heroic Palestinian resistance, honor our martyrs and let the world know that NYC stands with Gaza’.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors anti-Semitism and extremism, WOL also posted on October 7: ‘We must defend the Palestinian right to resist zionist [sic] settler violence and support Palestinian resistance in all its forms. ‘By any means necessary. With no exceptions and no fine print.’ The WOL website states that oppressed people ‘have the right to win their liberation by any means necessary’. Protesters at Saturday’s rally in Brooklyn called for an ‘end to the occupation’ of Gaza, describing Zionism as ‘genocide’.
Jewish New York City Council member Ari Kagan, however, said it was not a rally for the liberation of Gaza but in fact a ‘shameful pro-Hamas & anti-Israel rally’. WOL’s literature advertising the event does not explicitly express support for Hamas. But it’s ‘Rally Toolkit’, available on its website, has recently been updated and now refers to the ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ – the name Hamas gave to its series of coordinated attacks on Israel on October 7 – saying it has ‘shaken the foundations of the zionist state and inspired the world that liberation is possible and it’s [sic] hour is near’. It includes a list of chants, which include controversial slogans such as ‘from the river to the sea’ and ‘it is right to rebel! Israel go to hell!’
WOL’s prior statements and long history of alleged anti-Semitism also suggest Saturday’s protest was at the very least organized by a radical group with underlying sympathies for the terrorist group. In February 2023, WOL mourned the death of ‘freedom fighters’ after five Hamas members were killed in an Israeli operation in Jericho, according to the ADL. In 2014, Kiswani shared a statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) after it killed four worshippers in a shooting and meat cleaver attack in a Jerusalem synagogue, which said their actions were a ‘natural response’ to Israeli aggression, the ADL says.
Kiswani and WOL have also shared materials venerating PFLP and one of its leaders, Leila Khaled, known for her role in the hijacking of two civilian airliners, TWA Flight 840 in 1969 (bound for Tel Aviv from Rome) and El Al flight 219 in 1970 (traveling from Amsterdam to New York City). In 2022, Kiswani shared a meme of the Little Miss children’s cartoon character on her Instagram page in 2022 that read: ‘Little Miss telling everyone Israel is [sic] will be wiped off the map inshallah [God willing].’ She was accused of anti-Semitism that same year after delivering a speech for CUNY Law School in Queens, New York, in which she excoriated ‘Zionists’ and condemned ‘normalizing’ trips to Israel.
The ADL alleges that Kiswani and WOL have used social media on at least four occasions to ‘share classic antisemitic tropes related to alleged Israeli and ‘Zionist’ control or nefarious influence over Hollywood, sexual violence against women, politics, media and more’. WOL was founded in 2015 and has organized rallies in New York City drawing thousands of attendees, including one in May this year that was promoted as a ‘family friendly event’ featuring ‘face painting, coloring books, and more activities for kids’. It made no mention of the group’s sympathy for Hamas, whose militants have been responsible for the murder of innocent Israeli children.
More recently, Kiswani has been sharing content from the TMJ News Network, which describes itself as an independent media outlet with a ‘God Centric Lens’. On October 8, TMJ shared a clip on its Telegram channel of people fleeing a festival in which around 260 revelers were killed by Hamas alongside the caption: ‘Footage shows droves of Israeli settlers running on foot from occupied territories.’ Kiswani, a CUNY Law School graduate who was born and raised in Brooklyn, has previously shrugged off accusations of anti-Semitism from various quarters, telling the US-based website Mondoweiss that she didn’t ‘understand what it was about me specifically that made these people so concerned with me’.
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