Protesting Israel's assault on Gaza

ACTIVISTS ORGANIZED emergency responses in several cities last week to protest Israel's deadly assault on Palestinians in Gaza.

-- In San Francisco, more than 200 people attended a spirited rally on March 7 outside the Israeli consulate. The protest was organized by the American Muslims for Palestine, the Muslim American Society, the Free Palestine Alliance, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, ANSWER Coalition, the Muslim American Society-Freedom Foundation, the General Union of Palestine Students and Muslim Student Associations of the Bay Area.

A young and multiracial crowd, including many Arabs and Palestinians, chanted, "From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime!" and "Stop bombing Gaza! Stop killing children!" A small number of Zionist, pro-Israel forces across the street were drowned out by the chants supporting Palestinian rights from our side.

Speakers drew comparisons between the Iraq occupation now going on five years and the U.S. funding of Israel, which pays for the F-16 planes and bombs pounding the people of Gaza. Organizers encouraged all to attend a March 19 antiwar demonstration where a contingent of Arabs and Palestinians will march.

-- In Los Angeles, some 200 protesters gathered outside the Israeli Consulate on March 7 to hold a prayer vigil, demonstration and march against the latest attacks on Gaza. Many protesters were from local college Muslim student organizations.

During prayers, the imam described the struggle in the U.S. as a "struggle of the tongue"--to speak out about the apartheid conditions faced by Palestinians. About 50 pro-Israel counterprotesters gathered across the street.

-- In Chicago, 70 antiwar activists demonstrated in solidarity with Gaza outside a fundraiser for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on March 10. Activists from ANSWER, the Campus Antiwar Network, Students for a Democratic Society, the International Solidarity Movement, the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and others protested for more than an hour in the cold.

-- In Champaign, Ill., about 30 students and community activists protested on March 3 on the main quad at the University of Illinois against Israel's war crimes in Gaza.

Protesters included members of Students for Justice in Palestine, the Campus Antiwar Network and the ISO, who chanted, "End the siege on Gaza" and "No justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East" and then took part in a speak-out.

Eric Heim, Ragina Johnson, Graham Shaw and Sarasvati Ting contributed to this article.