Bringing the Palestine struggle to Queens

September 4, 2014

Mehrana Ali reports from Queens on organizing in solidarity with Palestine.

MORE AND more people in New York are starting to express their anger at Israel, its war on Palestine and the U.S. government's complicity in that war.

Many protests have taken place in prominent spots in Manhattan since Israel's so-called Operation Protective Edge began in July. But now, residents of other boroughs of the city are beginning to organize locally and make their voices heard.

For example, on August 17, the group Queens Families Speak Out organized a rally and march of about 20 people to go around Astoria, voicing their support for Palestine and spreading the word to local businesses about ways to boycott Israel.

This gave ordinary people in Astoria, who are appalled by Israel's unjust violence and fed up with the American government's unanimous support for Israeli apartheid a chance to take matters into their own hands. The slogans heard on the streets that day were: "Free, free Palestine, long live Palestine!" and "Not a single nickel, not a single dime! No more money for Israel's crimes!"

People in Queens march for justice in Palestine
People in Queens march for justice in Palestine (Queens Families Speak Out)

Some local businesses stood in solidarity with Palestine, putting up large posters in red, green, black and white to call for Palestinian freedom. Many shopkeepers took flyers informing them about the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel--especially why they should boycott Israeli corporations and products, such as the infamous Sabra and Tribe Hummus.

Earlier, on July 30, about 150 community members came together in Jackson Heights in Queens for a rally and march to Rep. Joseph Crowley's office, where demonstrators protested his blind support of Israel. The protest caught the attention of local residents and set an example for people who support Palestine, but might not have always felt confident expressing their views outside their homes.

Out of this protest, another group, Queens for Justice in Palestine, was formed, with the goal of putting more pressure on senators and members of Congress, who are clearly not representing their constituents. Another goal is to start BDS activity locally.

Later, at the August 17 protest in Astoria, members from Queens for Justice in Palestine met with members of Queens Families Speak Out and joined them in the rally--the two groups are now collaborating to organize future events.

Slowly but surely, the world is beginning to see Israel's true face, despite the media's attempts to hid its crimes and spread its propaganda. People are beginning to find out the truth--and to connect with each other in order to speak out and organize.

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