Demonstrations were swiftly organized in cities around the United States in opposition to the U.S. declaration on Dec. 6 that it would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and in solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people in the face of this decisive attack. Workers World Party members actively participated in many of these actions. The following are reports from some of them.
On just two days’ notice, 4,000 to 6,000 people came to a Times Square rally in New York City on Dec. 8 to “Say NO to Trump’s recent move of ‘recognizing’ Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” as the call of NY4Palestine put it. NY4Palestine is a coalition of Palestinian support groups in the New York City area. The protesters were mainly Arab; whole families came, from mothers carrying infants in their arms to grandmothers. It was a very political protest with sharp slogans: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine!” “Israel — tool of U.S. imperialism!” and “Long live the Intifada! Free, free Palestine!”
After the rally at Times Square, the crowd marched uptown to the Trump Hotel at Columbus Circle, where another rally was held. Twitter posts show protests continuing on the subways both coming from and going to the demonstration.
Thirty years to the day after the declaration of the first Intifada, or uprising, hundreds of activists took to the streets of Philadelphia in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Led by Palestinian activist Susan Abulhawa, the crowds expressed outrage at Donald Trump’s decision to build a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
The Dec. 8 protest was initiated by the Philadelphia International Action Center and endorsed by CAIR-PA (Council on American-Islamic Relations); Philly BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions); Food not Bombs; Philly REAL Justice; the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Workers World Party; the Black Alliance for Peace; MOVE; the Party for Socialism and Liberation; and Brandywine Peace Community.
Abulhawa stressed that the fight to free Palestine is the same as the struggle to get rid of the paramilitary occupation forces that terrorize, assault and murder Black and Brown people in the United States. Lamont Lilly, the WWP 2016 vice presidential candidate, echoed this sentiment: “Across the sea we call the U.S. Marines, Special Forces and Army the military. Here we call them the police, the sheriffs, the FBI. But they are the same state apparatus terrorizing oppressed people.”
Pam Africa, representing ICFFMAJ, spoke on the need for solidarity between Black communities facing oppression in the U.S. and Palestinians under occupation by Israel. The rally ended with chants to “Free Mumia!”
Protesters marched around City Hall, taking the streets and blocking traffic. As night fell, marchers chanted slogans in English, Spanish and Arabic, and the words “Israel is a terrorist state!” and “End the occupation now!” echoed off the stone edifices in Center City. A handful of young Palestinian activists climbed onto the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo as the crowd began to disperse and hung a sign around his neck reading, “Hands off Jerusalem!”
People came out Dec. 8 in front of the federal building in downtown Rochester, N.Y., to protest Trump’s decision. A number of groups helped the local Palestinian community organize the rally, including Christians Witnessing for Palestine, Jewish Strike for Peace and Workers World Party.
Activists from the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., branches of WWP attended a Palestine solidarity demonstration directly in front of the White House. The protest was called by American Muslims for Palestine.
About 500 people came out in Detroit for a militant action organized by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network-Detroit and led by Palestinian women and youth.
The demonstration was notable for linking the struggle against the occupation and destruction of Palestine by Israel with the displacement of the oppressed community of Detroit, W water shutoffs and foreclosures there have been spearheaded by the same banks and imperialist interests that fund the Israeli occupation. Rally organizer Julia Kassem noted how Trump has been joined by Democratic Party leader Chuck Schumer in the call for moving Israel’s capital to Jerusalem.
The demonstrators marched from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius in the center of downtown Detroit, chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” At a, rally, Abayomi Azikiwe from the Moratorium Now Coalition expressed the solidarity of Detroit’s African-American community with the Palestinian struggle, and Joe Mshahwar from Workers World Party linked the struggle against Israeli occupation with the ongoing battle of Syria against U.S. imperialist intervention.
About 1,000 protesters rallied at Chicago’s federal plaza the evening of Dec. 7, angry at Trump’s imperialist, racist and insulting designation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The action, which included a march to the Israeli Consulate, was organized by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine.
Tourists visiting San Antonio’s Alamo on a warm sunny Sunday, Dec. 10, were greeted with loud chants of “Trump, Trump, you will see! Palestine will be free!” from activists across the street at the federal building. Cars driving by honked support, tourists began videoing the action and even a few Alamo visitors joined in.
At the rally, speakers condemned Trump’s announcement and told of the horrors going on in occupied Palestine. The overriding opinion was that no U.S. president has the right to declare a capital in another country.
Students from the University of Texas at San Antonio said it was imperative that students stand up for people in Palestine and denounce Trump’s proclamation.
Judy Lerma, an organizer for National Nurses United and speaking for Workers World Party, said, “The Palestinian people suffer from lack of medicines, inadequate health care, the worsening of existing health conditions and the creation of new ones, not the least of which are injuries caused by the military violence perpetrated by the Israeli terrorists who are bought and paid for by the U.S. government.”
A representative of Jewish Voice for Peace, Judith Norman said, “This issue is not about Jews versus Muslims or Christians. It’s about a colonialist oppressor and the people who have been subject to a brutal and illegal occupation.”
The protest and rally were organized by University of Texas-San Antonio Students for Justice in Palestine, local chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and San Antonio for Justice in Palestine.
Members of the International Action Center and Workers World Party participated in two demonstrations in Los Angeles on Dec. 10. In the first, at the Westwood Federal Building, several hundred people participated in a solidarity with Palestine rally led by Al-Awda.
The second was an International League of Peoples Struggle coalition event, of which the International Action Center is a part. That event, marking International Human Rights Day, was a protest and march from the Downtown Federal Building to the Downtown Detention Center and included the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador; School of the Americas Watch; Human Rights Alliance; the Filipino organization BAYAN-USA; California for Progress; Puerto Rican Alliance; Korean Peace Alliance; American Indian Movement Southern California; and more. All made solidarity with Palestine a primary focus while pledging solidarity with all targets of U.S. imperialism — from South Central and East LA to Honduras, the Philippines and Korea.
Hundreds took to the streets of San Francisco on Dec. 9 in response to a call by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center; the General Union of Palestinian Students of San Francisco State University; and American Muslims for Palestine. Marchers demanded hands off Jerusalem; U.S. out of Palestine; no to white supremacy here or in our homelands; boycott, divest and sanction Israel; and end the colonial occupation of Palestine.
Starting with a rally at United Nations Plaza, they marched, led by Palestinian youth, down Market Street to the Embarcadero, where they held a second rally. Chants included, “From Palestine to Mexico, the border walls have got to go!” and “There is only one solution: Intifada/revolution!”
Sharon Black, Gene Clancy, G. Dunkel, Terri Kay, Ted Kelly, Andrew Mayton, John Parker, Gloria Rubac, Jeff Sorel and the WW Detroit bureau contributed to this article. Photos: Joseph Piette in Philadelphia; Pancho Valdez in San Antonio; Sharon Black in D.C.; Scott Scheffer in Los Angeles; Terri Kay in San Francisco; John Catalinotto in New York City.