Showing solidarity with Gaza
Activists report on protests in cities around the U.S. against Israel's Gaza assault.
PROTESTS IN cities across the U.S. continued against Israel's devastating assault on Gaza.
-- In San Francisco, 400 people gathered in front of the Israeli consulate on November 19 to support the people of Gaza. This was San Francisco's third protest in five days in response to Israel's attack on Gaza and its more than million and a half residents.
Organizations represented were Palestinian Youth Network, Al-Awda, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and ANSWER. Protesters carried signs which read: "Zionism = Crime" and "End U.S. aid to Israel."
After a few speeches in front of the consulate, the crowd marched down Market to Union Square. With Saks Fifth Avenue as a backdrop, the assembled crowd chanted, "Stop your shopping. Bombs are dropping."
Israel has targeted media, apartment buildings, banks and infrastructure, giving the impression that there is nowhere to hide. Protesters chanted their indictment of both the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. President Obama, charging them with genocide. Nimit, an educator in the Bay Area, who recently traveled to Gaza and the West Bank, said, "It's time Palestinians stand up."
"Every U.S. and Israeli administration says Israel has the right to defend itself," said Palestinian Youth Network's Loubna Qutami. "We say it has nothing to do with national defense. We say it's genocide." Invoking the spirit of the Arab Spring, she said, "Arab people are ready to live with dignity in their homelands." Qutami called the current assault "a flashback to 2009," adding, "we don't want to do this another three years from now."
"After the election, Obama wasted no time showing his true colors when it comes to peace in the Middle East," said the ISO's Jeff Boyette. "Obama doesn't see Palestinians as people. He doesn't see Palestine as a state that has the right to defend itself."
-- In San Juan, Puerto Rico, people showed their solidarity with the Palestinian people in a protest of about 300 people on just two days' notice organized by Mothers Against War. Activists protested in front of the Federal Court to denounce the U.S. military and political aid to the government of Israel. The rain didn't stop the spirit of angry activist who marched and chanted, "Todos somos palestinos" or "We are all Palestinians."
-- In Dallas, 250 people rallied and marched through downtown on November 23 in solidarity with Palestinians in the wake of the attacks on Gaza. The rally was organized by North Texas Boycott, Divest, Sanction (NTBDS) and the Dallas-Fort Worth Palestinian Activist Network (DFW PAN).
Attendees of the Palestinian American Youth League annual conference joined the march, stopping at major news centers and rallying outside the local FOX News affiliate and the offices of the Dallas Morning News to call out both for the lies in their reporting the Gaza massacre.
DFW PAN has been an integral tool for organizing pro-Palestinian events throughout North Texas, including organizing marches and rallies and hosting speakers and forums. Participants in the rally and march included NTBDS, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Denton Anti-War Network, the Palestinian American Youth League, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.
In a show of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, two striking workers with OUR Walmart joined the rally and march, having been on the picket line outside their stores since the previous evening.
-- In Austin, students at the University of Texas and community members stood in solidarity with the people of Gaza on November 17 and 19, and against U.S. aid to Israel. The U.S. provides Israel $3 billion in direct foreign aid every year, or $8.5 million a day in military aid.
Though Israel's countless war crimes have been well documented, the U.S. government has not ceased its generous aid to Israel, and instead has increased the flow of taxpayer dollars.
With the U.S. as the increasingly isolated power behind the beast, the struggle for a free Palestine is contingent on communities, such as University of Texas students, organizing and pushing the struggle against U.S. support of Israeli occupation. The best way for us as students to organize locally is to take up the global call for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli occupation.
-- In Northampton, Mass., some 100 protesters marched to city hall on November 18 in a rally organized by the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Palestine (WMCP) after a screening of Five Broken Cameras, a documentary by Emad Burnat about Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, drew a packed crowd at Hampshire College.
"This needs to stop. Enough! I've lived with it my whole life," said Caroline Katba, a student at Amherst College who is from Gaza City, addressing the crowd. Omar Dahi, professor of Economics at Hampshire College and member of WMCP, tied the violence to a larger pattern of Israeli occupation and siege.
"Gaza has been made into a prison and has been slowly starved for the past six years, and that is everyday violence," said Dahi. "We should be demonstrating every day...against this type of violence." Dahi also called on protesters to pressure Democrats, including newly elected Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, to stop supporting "the Israeli death machine." Next steps include campus teach-ins and rallies at area colleges.
-- At Stanford University, some 40 students, faculty, and allies organized a sit-in to show their solidarity with Gaza. Students cut off traffic, forcing walking and biking traffic to maneuver around the wall of students and read our flyers. The action turned into an assembly where people were able to talk about the occupation and killings in Gaza and the need to push for divestment at Stanford.
Despite the rain, protesters' energy was very high, and there is hope that this might translate into more sustained momentum for the divestment petition organized by Students for Palestinian Equal Rights. The Gaza coalition that organized the sit-in is planning an action for November 29 that is a part of a coordinated day of action throughout California campuses.
-- At the University of Houston, some 30 protesters attended a rally against Israeli aggression in Gaza on November 20, hosted by the ISO in conjunction with the Students for a Democratic Society. Protesters chanted of "Free Palestine!" and several students gave passionate speeches and voiced their concerns.
-- In Corpus Christi, Texas, Palestinian students and members of the Muslim Student Association at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted a demonstration of about 15 people in solidarity with Palestine.