Worldwide solidarity with Gaza

Often the corporate media use the term “international community” to give weight to an opinion that is really the opinion of a handful of imperialist heads of state — from the U.S., its major NATO allies and Japan. Since the Israeli assault on Gaza began, the real international community is coming out into the streets, sometimes defying police violence, to show its solidarity with Gaza and Palestine and protest.

These protests and their acceptance by many others in their regions showed the growing support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, and growing solidarity with Palestine.

Thousands came out in Istanbul, Turkey, at 1:30 a.m. on July 18 to besiege the Israeli Consulate, facing water cannons wielded by police. Pro-Palestinian activists waving Turkish and Palestinian flags chanted, “Hail to the resistance from Istanbul to Gaza!” “Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine!” and “Strike, strike, Hamas! Strike against Israel!” (Russia Today, July 18) Another demonstration in Ankara, the capital, attacked the Israeli Embassy, fighting with police to do it.

The French government took the extraordinary step of outlawing pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Despite threats of prison and fines, organizers estimate that up to 10,000 people attended a rally in central Paris. In the city’s northern suburb of Sarcelles, young demonstrators erupted in rebellion against the ban to show solidarity with Gaza. Police arrested 38 for their alleged participation in the protest. (RT, July 20)

On July 18, the Filipino mass movement organized a solidarity protest as a reaction to the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Even though the country is paralyzed after being hit by Typhoon Glenda, the movement managed to gather about 200 people, including trade unionists; health workers; international delegates from the U.S., south Korea, Cambodia and Belgium; human rights activists; and religious groups. During a short rally in the Mendiola area of Manila, Philippines, the speakers not only targeted the Israeli government but also underlined the role of the U.S.

Mass demonstrations took place July 17 in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and other Indian cities and in Srinagar, in Indian-ruled Kashmir. People held protests outside the Israeli embassies in Seoul, south Korea, and Beijing, China. Thousands also demonstrated in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, on July 18.

Demonstrations were held in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa; in Cairo, Egypt; in Rabat, Morocco; and in Tunis, Tunisia, denouncing the Israeli assault and saying, as they did in Tunis, “We are all Gaza.” (Al-Jazeera, July 19)

In Europe, in addition to France, mass demonstrations were held in Athens, Greece; Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Vienna, Austria; Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Stockholm, Malmo and six other cities in Sweden, and then on July 19 at the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm. Mike Powers writes us that with the corporate media trying to stir up anger for sanctions against Russia, lots of people in Stockholm are wondering, “What about sanctions against Israel?”

There were also demonstrations in Brussels, Belgium, and in cities all across the Spanish state, as we reported last week in Workers World. One of the biggest of the European demonstrations took place in London, England, where, according to the Huffington Post, some 15,000 people marched on July 19 in a march that gathered people from all over the island. There were also demonstrations in Dublin, Ireland.

Just as in the U.S., there were demonstrations to the north from Montreal in Quebec to Vancouver, B.C., Canada. In Australia, there were pro-Gaza demonstrations in Perth, Canberra and Melbourne on July 19 and in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide on July 20. More than 1,000 people held a similar protest in Auckland, New Zealand.

While the Israeli state still has the full backing of the major imperialist oppressors — the so-called international community — its war crimes in Gaza are diminishing the number of people who might previously have been misled. The organization “Jews Against Genocide,” which includes Israeli Jews, held demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and before Israeli embassies and consulates in Madrid, San Francisco, Stockholm and Copenhagen — with more scheduled. They set aflame dolls covered in red paint before the holocaust memorial museum on July 12.

Another people displaced by a settler-state, the Diné (called Navajo) people, held a protest in Window Rock on the Diné Reservation in Arizona on July 17 against “the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian region of Gaza and Navajo President Ben Shelly’s partnership with the state of Israel outside the Navajo Council Chambers.” (Navajo Times)