More than 200 people gathered outside the Israeli Consulate Tuesday, protesting Israel’s botched raid this weekend on an aid flotilla headed for Gaza.
The crowd, that included some Jewish protesters, called for the end to what many called an “Israeli apartheid,” WSB Radio reports.
"There needs to be an immediate condemnation of these people," Lisa Adler told WSB Radio during the rally.
Protesters waves posters demanding "lift the blockade of Gaza," and repeated chants: "From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime."
Some said the rally, mirroring protests around the world, was an expected result, despite consulate ambassador Reda Mansour's early prediction that only a small crowd would show.
“There is justifiable anger on the street,” Vanessa Faraj, with the Movement to End Israeli Apartheid, told the AJC before the rally. “That anger breeds action, nonviolent action.”
Reports vary whether nine or 10 were killed when Israeli soldiers boarded one of six ships in the blockade-busting aid flotilla.
But Steven Rakitt, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Atlanta, told the AJC that Israel was justified in boarding the ship.
“They are rightfully concerned about smuggling and weapons going into Gaza ever since Hamas took over,” Rakitt said. “It’s easy to condemn, it’s much more difficult to live with the consequences of not protecting (Israeli) citizens.”
He said Jews in Atlanta have expressed regret for the loss of life, but support Israel’s efforts to protect itself from a Gaza from where he said more than 10,000 missiles have been launched at Israeli targets.
“If Canada were lobbing several thousand missiles into northern New York over several years, what would you expect your government to do?” Rakitt asked.
The confrontation has reopened debate on Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel says the blockade is required to prevent Iranian-backed Hamas from building its arsenal.
Seven Israeli soldiers were among those wounded in the pre-dawn raid, which followed days of warnings.
--The Associated Press and WSB Radio news reporter Pete Combs contributed to this report
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