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Thousands take to the streets to show their outrage
Protesting the Israeli assault

August 11, 2006 | Page 19

AS ISRAEL ratcheted up its attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, protesters in cities across the U.S. turned out to demand an end to Israel's brutality.

--In Portland, Ore., a crowd of 1,000 turned out to the city's Pioneer Square July 30 to demand an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid following Israel's attack on the Lebanese city of Qana. The protest was called by Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights and other Lebanese and Palestinian groups.

Mazen Malik, from the Palestinian Arab American Association, pointed out that more children than combatants were being killed, and drew attention to the scandal of humanitarian convoys being bombed by the Israeli military.

"The U.S. and Israel talk about peace," said Paul Aranas, a candidate of the Pacific Green Party. "Lets talk about their 'peace.' Massacres in Sabra and Shatila--what peace?...Bombing of civilians in Lebanon--what peace? They can bulldoze houses, shoot little children, but they will never, never take away the spirit of the Palestinian and Lebanese people," he said.

--In New York City, as many as 3,000 turned out August 5 for a rally at Times Square followed by a march to the General Electric building on 50th St. and 6th Ave. to protest GE's manufacturing of F-16 engines, which are used to drop bombs in Iraq and Lebanon.

Protesters chanted "Palestine and Lebanon will be free!" and "No justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East!" The rally was sponsored by the International Action Center, Al-Awda, New York City Council Member Charles Barron and others.

--In San Francisco, approximately 300 rallied outside of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office, decrying her total support for Israel. Speakers from the Arab, Muslim and progressive communities spoke out against Israeli war crimes and the attempt to destroy Hamas and Hezbollah Protesters then led a spirited march to the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle a few blocks away, chanting against the Chronicle's racist coverage of Israel's war.

-- In Amherst, Mass., about 150 turned out to the Amherst Common August 2. The rally was called a week earlier at a forum on the Middle East by Hassan Awaisi, a local high school student with family living in Lebanon.

Members of SAGE, the American Friends Services Committee, Traprock Peace Center and others turned out. Awaisi read reports and showed pictures from his relatives in Lebanon detailing the massive destruction and suffering Israel has caused. Unfortunately, the call for the rally condemned both sides--asking people to "stand in solidarity with civilians in Lebanon, Israel and Gaza caught in the middle of the conflict" and calling for an end to violence on both sides.

--In Toledo, Ohio, more than 150 people turned out during a sweltering heat wave July 29. At least a dozen of the rally participants had just returned from Lebanon, and described witnessing atrocities by the Israel Defense Force. Local organizers are planning another demonstration and march for August 13.

--In New Haven, Conn., more than 100 demonstrators gathered August 5 to protest the attacks on Lebanon and Palestine at a demonstration called by Connecticut United for Peace. The crowd marched through the center of New Haven, chanting "Stop bombing Lebanon! Stop bombing Gaza!" and "No justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East!"

Ralph Ferrucci, who is running as a Green for U.S. Senate against the highly publicized candidates Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont, pointed out that although Lamont is the supposed "antiwar candidate," he supports U.S. involvement with Israel. Nativo López, president of the Mexican American Political Association and a leader in the immigrant rights movement, spoke about making the connection between the assault on the Lebanese and Palestinian people and the attacks on immigrants here in the U.S.

--In Ventura, Calif., a week of antiwar outreach kicked off June 29 as 50 people paraded down the sidewalk on Main Street and around a farmers' market chanting antiwar slogans and waving peace flags. The march was sponsored by the International Socialist Organization, ANSWER, Ventura County for Democracy, the Green Party of Ventura County, Veterans for Peace and more.

During the week, activists from the Peace Coalition of Greater Ventura also hosted a local "Troops Home Fast" in connection with the national hunger strike initiated by Code Pink. On August 4, approximately 30 people turned out to an antiwar vigil sponsored by ANSWER. Organizers are planning to caravan to Los Angeles on August 12 for a mass march against Israel's war crimes.

--In Providence, R.I., more than 30 activists attended a panel sponsored by the International Socialist Organization, Rhode Island Community Coalition for Peace, Providence Nation of Islam, and Rhode Island College Students for Justice in Palestine.

Nada Samih of Students for Justice in Palestine spoke of both the plight of ordinary Palestinians and the difficulties organizing solidarity in the U.S. Gaza has become like "whole generations in the Warsaw Ghetto" due to the decades of occupation, she told the audience.

Paul Dean, Patrick Dyer, Alden Eagle, Robin Hodges, John Osmand, Wayne Standley and Corrie Westing contributed to this report.

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