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Political leaders condemn protest at Nova exhibit in NYC as "repulsive and vile"

Oct. 7 attack survivor invites protesters to Nova Music Festival exhibit
Oct. 7 attack survivor invites protesters to Nova Music Festival exhibit 02:51

NEW YORK -- Leaders are speaking out to condemn a protest outside an exhibit commemorating the victims of the Hamas terror attack on the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7 that sparked the current Israel-Hamas war. 

On Monday night, pro-Palestinian demonstrators lit smoke canisters and flares outside The Nova Music Festival Exhibition in Lower Manhattan, which pays tribute to the victims of the terror attack.

Mayor Eric Adams visited with victim's families there on Tuesday, where he condemned the messages from the protesters.

"You do not call for peace and wave flags of Hamas. You do not call for peace and then come to a memorial site. That's like you are desecrating the graves," Adams said.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries blasted Monday night's protest. 

"The recent protest at the Nova Music Festival Exhibition in lower Manhattan, where some participants chanted antisemitic slogans, endorsed the repugnant actions of terrorist groups like Hamas and celebrated the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians is unconscionable and un-American. The egregious behavior on display designed to justify the killing of Jews has no place in a civilized society. We will not tolerate it," Jeffries said. "New Yorkers of goodwill must continue to fight the malignant tumor of antisemitism with the fierce urgency of now until we crush this cancer so that it never rises again."

Rep. Ritchie Torres called the protesters "anti-Israel bigots" and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine called the demonstration "repulsive and vile."

Representatives Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also blasted the protest. 

"The callousness, dehumanization and targeting of Jews on display at last night's protest outside the Nova Festival exhibit was atrocious antisemitism - plain and simple," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on X. "Antisemitism has no place in our city nor any broader movement that centers human dignity and liberation." 

"I condemn those celebrating the innocents killed on October 7," Bowman wrote on X. "This dark day was the largest attack on the Jewish community since the Holocaust. Celebrating it is antisemitic and unacceptable. People cannot be achieved by weaponizing our tragedies against each other." 

The victims' families say they're struggling to process the public support for terrorists who killed their loved ones.

"It was like they killed me again and again and again"  

Manny Manzuri came across Monday night's protest outside the Wall Street exhibit praising Oct. 7 as he stepped out for food.

"I cannot find the words how I felt when somebody shouting and supporting the people who murder your daughters," he said. "It was like they killed me again and again and again."

The exhibit shows cars burned and shot at in perhaps one of the most stark examples of the death and destruction of Oct. 7. Survivors said it is important for people to see it.

As beats from the Nova Music Festival play inside the exhibit, visitors experience the last moments of life, as more than 300 were murdered on Oct. 7. Among the souls honored are the Manzuri's daughters -- Roya, 22 and Norelle, 25 -- as well Norelle's fiancé, Amit Cohen.

"They couldn't go anywhere and since it was a massive attack, missile massive attack, they got inside the bomb shelter," said Sigal Manzuri, the mother of the murdered sisters.

Hamas terrorists murdered most of the people inside.

"They throw grenade, set fire to shelter, shooting for three, four hours," Manny Manzuri said.

Survivor invites protesters to the exhibit

"When the rockets started, a guy said, 'Why they are angry, let's invite them to dance?'" survivor Tomer Meir said.

That's why Meir says those who were demonstrating outside the exhibit Monday night should visit it instead. He said was saved by Israeli Arabs.

"From the happiness and pure moments in my life I had to run and save my life and my friend's life because terrorists came to kill all of us and they raped our girls and, you know, I saw a lot in that day," Meir said.

Or Gat is brother of hostage Carmel Gat, who turned 40 in captivity.

"We heard that she was doing yoga. She's an occupational therapist and she's a caring person," Or Gat said. "Hope she's waiting for us, she's waiting for us for a deal because it's not possible to do the rescue every day."

"We will speak about them all the time, spread their light, spread their love and, hopefully, hopefully, all this will bring better days," Sigal Manzuri said.

The exhibit ends with a healing space and the message: We will dance again. 

It has been extended another week until June 22.

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