You are reading

Pro-Palestinian Signage Up at Center Cinemas in Sunnyside, Many Jewish Residents Cry Foul

Activists altered the marquee sign at Center Cinemas about two weeks ago with a message many find offensive. Property owner John Ciafone said it was done without his permission and he was recently alerted to it. He is taking it down.

June 7, 2021 By Christian Murray

Activists put up a controversial message on the marquee sign at the shuttered Sunnyside movie theater about two weeks ago—and the property owner is coming under fire from many Jewish residents.

John Ciafone, the owner of the vacant cinema at 42-17 Queens Blvd., has been bombarded with e-mails and phone calls in recent days from people protesting the “From the River to the Sea” message that is on the cinema marquee.

The message has been on the theater sign since thousands of people came to Sunnyside for a pro-Palestinian rally, residents say. Many chanted at the rally “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free.”

“Many people are very upset,” Ciafone said, who had no knowledge that the message was there until he was contacted recently. “Many people in the Jewish community have reached out to me. I have been receiving e-mails and phone calls about it.”

The message is a common rallying cry from members of the pro-Palestinian movement, although many pro-Israel supporters say it is a call for the destruction of the Jewish state and erasing its people. They say the message is commonly used by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

“I knew nothing about this until people reached out to me,” Ciafone said. “These people did not have permission to do this. I hear it is very offensive.”

Ciafone said that he has called someone to come out and take the message down. He will be reviewing the video, he said, and apologized that it was up there.

This is not the first time Ciafone’s marquee sign has been targeted.

In January, Ciafone was the subject of the message.

Ciafone, who said he was very offended by the January message, has owned the property since 2012 and planned to develop it. His desire to develop the site led to the controversial closure of the cinema in 2015. The site remains undeveloped.

Ciafone was upset that his signage was targeted once again.

“This is the result of a gang of progressive, anti-development, radicals,” he said. “These are the people who also hate the police.”

The marquee sign at a shuttered Sunnyside movie theater (Queens Post)

email the author: [email protected]

47 Comments

Click for Comments 
James Achilles

This would not have happened in the first place if there were movie titles on the marquee, as there should be, and the property not a vacant placeholder for development mongers.

14
1
Reply
Fox and Evangelic Propaganda at work

Pretty selective on who should receive and not receive Gods Blessing.

3
2
Reply
Mark

I have not seen any pro Israeli signs in our neighborhood. But i seen many pro palestine signs in our neighborhood and beyond. The muslim community and their supporters are a growing population and have the support of being an oppressed minority by many leaders and groups. Even this article talks about it being a pro palestine sign/logo and not anti Israeli.

2
8
Reply
Listen to their chants

If you had heard the chants of support for Hamas and calls for death of the Jews you would say otherwise
This the green and red alliance
Islamists and far leftists who hate western values
I hope fbi keeping and eye on them as anti Semitic attacks by members of the religion of peace are rising

Reply
Concerned DEMOCRAT and Citizen

Hey AOC, can you please state
Publicly that you are not pro Hamas and U do not approve this message. Just do it , no excuses.

28
4
Reply
Nari

“From the river to the sea” is a call for the destruction of Israel and murder of the Jews living there. It has recently started to be chanted by naive America liberals because it’s catchy and rhymes with “Palestine will be free”

Don’t get it wrong though, it is not just a criticism of the Israeli govt’s policy. It is a call for genocide.

10
Reply
OffMyLawn

Tell me youre a racist boomer without telling me you’re a racist boomer….

“This is the result of a gang of progressive, anti-development, radicals,” he said. “These are the people who also hate the police.”

2
8
Reply
no place for bigotry

He should come in the neighborhood once in a while and see what is being done to his empty property. Hey, Jimmy Van Bramer: how do you feel about vandalism?

19
1
Reply
Will

I am a jewish resident of Sunnyside. I’m glad to see that Sunnysiders care about Palestinian liberation, and I hope the sign stays. You have no evidence for your claim that this sign angers jewish residents – you’re just making it up. You don’t speak for jews, and neither does the state of Israel.

34
58
Reply
Joe

You are a fool and either not a Jew or a self hating Jew. Whether you are for or against the Israeli position nobody can say they should be destroyed.

31
11
Reply
nobody

I am a Jew. Accusing another Jew of self-hatred makes you the antisemite. Respect your peers (if you are a Jew) or kindly see yourself out of this conversation.

3
21
Reply
Welcome to America, now behave!

I really do wish that immigrants to this to this country would leave all their political strife, religious wars, cultural rivalries and tribal animosities at home. We don’t need to import your troubles. We’ve got plenty of our own as it is.

62
18
Reply
Mike

The political strife and religious wars you’re talking about is because of the United States. Many immigrants had to come to to America because the USA bombed their countries back to the Stone Age, especially Iraq and Gaza

18
35
Reply
666 is nothing but Gematria. It’s nothing mystical

Mike – You’re absolutely right and please let’s not forget to mention the interference in our nations foreign policy by Christian Doomsday Cults known as Southern Baptist and other Evangelicals who have gotten more and more extreme and pulled further and further into the fairy tales and mysticism of the Book of Revelations.

3
5
Reply
Allow me to retort

How are you on the terrorists of Hamas firing at least 4000 rockets at Israeli civilians? Ok with it?

12
2
Reply
Sick of Fox Misinformation

Re- tort- Hamas and Palestinian liberation aren’t one and the same.

3
9
Reply
Allow me to re-retort

Still didn’t answer the question.

Probably because you can’t answer it honestly without exposing yourself as a supporter of a terrorist organization

4
1
Mike

The political strife and religious wars you’re talking about is because of the United States. Many immigrants were forced to come to America because the USA bombed their countries back to the Stone Age, especially Iraq

1
5
Reply
Justine Marie Vickers

From the river to the sea, Palestine WILL be FREE!✊✊✊
Free, free Palestine!!!

22
65
Reply
History for dummies is a good book

You must have gone to a PUBLIC SCHOOL to come out with that ignorant comment on Israel; Pali politicians routinely go to ISRAEL to get medical treatment including their CHILDREN. In fact, the relatives of Israelis murdered by your FRIENDS THE TERRORISTS have donated their organs to help the children of the people who have killed them. Learn some blanking history.

ABoondy

that whole street will eventually turn into a condo, like the giant one planned in woodside. its only a matter of time.

28
2
Reply
Anonymous

Sure, it will be a condo building with a bank and a nail salon on the ground floor. But that’s way better than how it currently is. Tax breaks for vacant properties need to end.

Reply
Tom

Do something with that property instead of allowing it to be used as a message board for hate groups. Sunnyside is hot now and there are few empty stores. You are hurting the community. Turn it back into a nice theatre. Sunnyside deserves it.

63
9
Reply
Sunnyside home to chaos

Hate speech and vandalism: we can thank the liberal politicians a/k/a progressives for the deterioration of standards in our community. Crime is up, the streets are filthy and many people are leaving. Now, let’s get to the Jew-hating going on in “progressive circles.” they will tell you that their “best friend in college was a Jew” – don’t be fooled by them. They think that anti-Semitism is chic – it isn’t. The guy from Astoria – the assemblyman – who spends time hating on Israel rather than trying to help people in his own neighborhood – needs to be denounced on the floor of the assemblye

51
22
Reply
nobody

Hi I’m a Jew. Not all Jews love Israel. This article’s tone is vaguely antisemitic. Allow me to explain why:

American Jews are first and foremost 100% American. Most of us arrived before Israel was established, and the majority of us do not support the outgoing Israeli government. Accusations of “dual loyalty” and indeed the people who wield this astonishing false equivalence are implying that American Jews are somehow also totally loyal to another country besides the USA. The historical implications of this are why American Jews are being attacked by all sides, regardless of their support or skepticism of the Israeli government. Please acknowledge this difference before it gets more of us hurt.

Thanks for listening to all America Jewish voices, and not just the loudest and most ethnocentric ones. I do hope the editors of this site will realize their dangerous rhetorical mistake address this historically critical distinction.

7
13
Reply
READ BETWEEN THE LINES

You claim to be Jewish. Try that on someone else. I’m not that easily fooled. So I guess the destruction of the largest gathering of Jews in the world would not bother you. Ok, you’ve made yourself understood.

12
1
Reply
Wake up you’re being played.

Destruction of “the largest gathering of Jews in the world” is exactly why Evangelicals push the US to support Israel.

2
3
Reply
Roll back bail reform now

I remember way more vandalism under Giuliani administration. People have left cities for the suburbs all over the Country because of Trumps failure in managing a pandemic. The streets are cleaner now than they were in the 90’s. Fact!

2
7
Reply
Zinsu

For Pete’s sake, man, sell the building and let someone put it to good use.

58
3
Reply
Silence is not golden

Disgusting that Sunnyside has become the center of anti semitism and hate
We are a diverse community
There are elderly Holocaust survivors who live here and saw this disgusting material and heard the chants about two weeks ago
Where are our elected officials ?
Do they seek the destruction of the Jewish state ?

50
21
Reply
Bill

How could they do that without his knowledge and why is he leaving this property unused? Good job by people not just Jewish speaking out. As Jews we want to see a fair and equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian situation not the destruction of the other side. This is the difference between us.

47
8
Reply
Evolve

Killing 10+× as many Palestinians makes the Israelis as bad as hamas. Blood on the hands of both. All over what? Its time to evolve beyond this archaic, superstitious nonsense.

5
14
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-Ed: Beware the Comprehensive Plan, One Plan to Rule Us All

June 10, 2021 Op-Ed By: Emily Sharpe

I met Alicia Boyd in Brooklyn at a meeting to save the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s flora from dark shadows cast by luxury towers. I had gotten a flyer to attend from her colleague when he toured Sunnyside Yards at an event sponsored by the group I founded, “Stop Sunnyside Yards”.