The protest at 19th Street and JFK Boulevard hampered rush-hour traffic as people with Palestinian flags paraded in the crosswalk with every red light.
The crowd included members of the Temple University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine Philly.
Anwar Jabbarin, 51, of Northeast Philadelphia, wore a kaffiyeh headdress, a long robe, and a sandwich board plastered with a map of the Mideast showing borders before Israel was created in 1948.
Aymen Ibrahim, 20, a Temple biology major, carried a sign that read, "Don't Do What Hitler Did to You."
"There is a right for Israel to exist. I am not debating that," he said. "But the violence is disproportionate. It's an eye for an eye, not a village for an eye. It's unfair, cruel, and it has to stop."
Betsey Piette, a board member of Playgrounds for Palestine, a Yardley-based program that sends outdoor equipment to Gaza and the West Bank, said she hoped the demonstration would lead to "more coverage" of the Palestinian point of view.
Many protesters criticized what they perceived as a pro-Israel bias in the mainstream media.
Piette said U.S. foreign aid to Israel, approximately $3 billion a year, should not be used to harm Palestinians.
Stuart Sockol, 57, a customer service representative, said, "It makes me unhappy that money is spent for bombs and killing, and not spent to feed poor Guatemalan kids who are knocking at our door."
Seeing two demonstrators trampling an Israeli flag, Sockol got angry.
"I want somebody to come out here and advocate for peace," he said, "not for one side or the other."