U.S. protests in solidarity with people of Gaza
As people of conscience around the world condemn the genocidal Israeli invasion of Gaza, protesters inside the U.S. are among those raising their voices for an immediate end to the Zionist war offensive. Many are well aware of — and angry about — the fact that U.S. taxpayer dollars fund Israel’s weapons of mass destruction and that the U.S.-backed policy toward the Palestinians is what spurs on the terrorist actions of the racist Israeli apartheid state.
Many of these protests were part of the July 17-25 national week of coordinated actions demanding “Stop the War on Children! From Gaza to the U.S./Mexican border!” initiated by Al-Awda NY — the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; the May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights; the International Action Center and the People’s Power Assembly.
Demonstrations took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C., Boston, as well as in other cities and areas large and small across the country. In Window Rock, Ariz., members of the Navajo (Diné) Nation rallied and marched in solidarity with Gaza. (Navajotimes.com, July 17)
Here are reports on some of the actions that Workers World Party and other organizations took part in across the U.S.
More than 10,000 marched in Chicago on July 20 to condemn Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza. The protest began with a die-in of young people who held the names of Palestinian civilians killed in the Israeli onslaught. The names of all the dead — over 400 at the time — were read.
The marchers filled the streets for 10 blocks with a sea of Palestinian flags. “After two weeks of protesting, this is the largest protest in Chicago and the largest in the country so far,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, of the U.S. Palestine Community Network, who co-emceed the rally.
In New York City hundreds of mostly Arab youth arrived in Times Square on July 17 just as the news ticker above them announced that the Israeli military had begun the ground invasion of Gaza. The demonstration was one of a series of almost daily protests in Midtown Manhattan and quickly it began swelling to thousands.
The rally was unique among the week’s actions because it linked together two crises destroying the futures of millions of young people. The demonstration was called under the slogan “Stop the war on children, from Gaza to the U.S./Mexican border.”
Numerous Latino/a organizations linked the massive dislocation caused by past U.S. wars to the crisis of tens of thousands of dislocated refugee youth today on the U.S.-Mexican border with the U.S.-supported racist policies of Israel. Every speaker raised their total solidarity with Gaza under such a brutal military offensive.
On July 18 in Buffalo, N.Y., about 1,000 people — mainly Arab youth — mobilized in solidarity with Palestine. Speeches demanded an end to the occupation of Palestine, to cease all U.S. aid to Israel and to stop the current massacre on Gaza, part of ongoing genocide against Palestinians.
Participants expressed support for the brave Palestinian resistance with placards saying “Resistance is a right!” and “Salute the resistance in Gaza!”
The huge crowd repeatedly circled Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo, while cars sporting Palestinian flags also circled on the street surrounding the square. Then, when the crowd advanced across the street to the wide steps of City Hall, they occupied the full width of the sidewalk and street in front as well as covering the steps. The police were then forced to halt all vehicular traffic in the square.
The protest marked the first day of ground assaults by Zionist occupation forces into Gaza. Just two days before, the U.S. Congress had approved over $350 million in additional military aid to Israel. In the first half of 2014 alone, the U.S. has already supplied over $3 billion to Israel.
In Atlanta, chants of “Israel out of Gaza now!” echoed off the buildings as Palestinians and others protested in front of the Israeli Consulate on July 18. For the third week, the demonstrators took to the streets. The lead 40-foot banner in the colors of the Palestinian flag stated “Israel, Can You See Us Now” while other signage demanded “No U.S. funding for Israeli occupation” and “Self-determination for Palestine.”
Hundreds demonstrated in front of Atlanta’s CNN headquarters on July 5 and July 12 to decry the media’s uncritical coverage of Israel’s continued violations of international law and apartheid-like system in the occupied territories.
Palestinian and Arab women are playing a leading role in organizing the actions each week. Young people in general provide the energy and nonstop chanting. More actions are planned at CNN and the Israeli Consulate in the coming week.
In Milwaukee on July 19 some 500 people rallied in front of the Federal Building and then marched to the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who just okayed U.S. taxpayer funds for Israel. Demonstrators temporarily took the street, but then mounted police pushed families and other protesters back onto the curb.
The crowd marched back along Wisconsin Avenue for a final rally at the Federal Building. Reflecting on the turnout of so many families with multiple generations present, Azmi Aladdin said, “My grandchildren will still be protesting years from now, but someday we will be free.”
In downtown Raleigh, N.C., on July 19, hundreds of Palestinians, their families and supporters — including many youth and students — came out to denounce the U.S.-Israeli bombing and invasion. Demands included an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from Gaza and that the U.S. stop funding Zionist Israel.
In Tucson, Ariz., about 50 people gathered in blazing heat on July 18 during evening rush hour to demand an end to the U.S.-funded Israeli assault. The demonstration brought together activists from Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, the International Action Center and other groups. Passersby and traffic responded with honks, raised fists and waves of support.
In Philadelphia, for the second week in a row several hundred Palestinians and their supporters demonstrated July 18 outside the Israeli Consulate. The midday rally confronted a smaller pro-Israel demonstration across the street until finally taking over all four corners and blocking traffic. The rally ended with a march through Center City.
In Rhinebeck, N.Y., a small town in the Hudson Valley, a half dozen people came to show solidarity with Gaza and were joined by another nine supporters, people who had been shopping at the nearby farmers’ market. “Free Gaza” and “Stop the killings” were among the signs held.
John Catalinotto, WW Buffalo staff, Fightbacknews.org, Sara Flounders, Dianne Mathiowetz, Bryan Pfeifer, Betsey Piette and Paul Teitelbaum contributed to this article. WW managing editor, Kris Hamel, wrote the introduction to this round-up.