New York protests Gaza siege

WW photo: Joseph Piette

WW photo: Joseph Piette

New York, Aug. 9 — Once again, midtown Manhattan became the setting for a powerful demonstration of solidarity with the people of Gaza today.

Even as many angry thousands rallied outside CNN headquarters at Columbus Circle and then marched across town to fill the United Nation’s Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Israel was once more launching missiles at the densely populated strip of land that houses 1.8 million Palestinians.

At one point, the densely packed march emblazoned with many banners and signs stretched from Fifth to Lexington avenues, nearly half a mile.

Today’s protest was called by a quickly formed coalition which brought together many communities that have been struggling for freedom and justice, from the Palestinian diaspora to the African-American movement to immigrants from elsewhere in the Middle East, Latin America, the Philippines, Korea and Pakistan. Several Jewish organizations that oppose the Israeli Zionist state participated, including an Orthodox delegation that walked all the way from Brooklyn in order to keep the Sabbath.

Among the notables speaking at the rally were African-American educator Cornel West, journalist Chris Hedges and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Sara Flounders of the International Action Center, a co-chair of the rally, was widely credited with pulling it together.

Other speakers included Lamis Deek of the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition; Joe Lombardo of the United National Antiwar Coalition; Brandon Davis from Jewish Voice for Peace; Raja Abdulhaq of American Muslims for Palestine; Michael Letwin of Labor for Palestine; Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report; Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights; Susie Abdel from Students 4 Justice in Palestine; Larry Holmes of the Peoples Power Assembly; and Bill Dores of the IAC.

Parallels were drawn between Israel targeting children and the cruel treatment migrant youth from Central America get at the U.S. border. Marchers also brought up the police chokehold killing of Eric Garner as an example of the brutality of occupation forces in oppressed communities, from Gaza to New York.

While the demands for Israel to stop its assault on Gaza were paramount, the demonstration strongly affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to their homeland and assailed the U.S. for arming Israel to protect imperialist interests in the region.