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Pro-Palestinian Protesters Storm City Council Chambers During Symbolic Auschwitz Vote

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was bedlam at the New York City Council on Thursday.

Demonstrators disrupted a deeply moving and symbolic vote, but protest organizers say it wasn't supposed to happen that way.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the balcony inside City Council chambers. For five minutes they disrupted a vote on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

"The council members were shocked," said Jacob Kornbluh, a political correspondent with the website

Kornbluh recorded the protest on his phone.

"I think they stepped over the line," he said.

Councilman David Greenfield (D-44th), whose relatives died in the Holocaust, feels the same way.

"Somebody would engage in an anti-Semitic protest while we are having a conversation about 1.1 million people who were slaughtered during the Holocaust? That's when you decide to protest?" he said.

Protest organizer Rosalind Petchesky, who is Jewish, called what happened a terrible coincidence.

She said the timing was "absolutely not planned one single bit."

Petchesky, an author, MacArthur Fellow, and Professor Emeritus at CUNY said the protest was aimed at the Council Speaker and 14 members who are planning a trip next month to Israel. The trip has been paid for by Jewish groups who Petchesky called anti-Palestinian.

"We oppose Israeli policies of violence; of repression of Palestinians; the entire occupation," she said.

Petchesky and others vowed to keep protesting the trip.

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