Massachusetts solidarity with Palestine

Fawaz Abusharkh of the Palestinian House of New England leading marchers through Salem, Massachusetts, Nov. 4, 2023.


The greater Boston area experienced a weeklong upsurge of actions for Palestine culminating on Nov. 4. 

Cambridge cops, state cops and agents of Homeland Security brutally attacked nearly 200 peaceful protesters who showed up in the early morning rain at the North American headquarters of Elbit Systems on Oct. 30. The corner behind Cambridge City Hall has been the scene for weeks of courageous civil disobedience by Palestine Action and the #ShutElbitDown coalition. The groups have exposed Israel-based Elbit’s design and manufacture of illegal weapons — such as white phosphorus and drone bombs.

Police surrounded, charged, tackled, beat, pepper-sprayed, slammed people over metal barricades and into plate glass windows, and arrested multiple protesters on frame-up charges — all live streamed by @Pal_ActionUS. The Israeli-trained Cambridge force — imbued with a sense of impunity following their exoneration by the district attorney in October after pumping five bullets into the chest of 20-year-old Bangladeshi student Sayed Faisal during a medical crisis — has vowed to protect Elbit Systems from further disruption. That day, business was completely halted and Elbit was shut down completely.

Across the Charles River at the JFK Federal Building in downtown Boston, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers from throughout the city staged a die-in. They demanded that Democratic Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey end their indefensible silence about Israel’s bombing of Gazan hospitals and ambulances — targeting their Palestinian healthcare worker counterparts.

This protest began daily actions inside these senators’ offices by Jewish Voice for Peace, Massachusetts Peace Action and growing numbers of supporters. Dozens of people were arrested for simply insisting that Warren and Markey call for a cease-fire. By Nov. 3, these high-ranking, ruling-class foreign policy and banking decision makers reluctantly issued a toothless press release. This was timed with President Biden’s call for a “pause” in the war while funneling billions of dollars more for Israeli weaponry.

Students demand universities divest

Throughout the week, thousands of students at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern, Brandeis and Boston University staged walkouts, sit-ins, rallies and marches, many targeting their administration’s financial and political ties to the military-industrial complex and apartheid occupation forces in Palestine. 

Hundreds of activists with this campus movement for Palestine filled buses from Roxbury Community College to travel to the Nov. 4 mass march in Washington, D.C.

Over 300 people, outraged by the horror in Gaza, rallied and marched through the streets of Salem, Massachusetts, on Nov. 4. Many among the throngs of tourists — drawn by this city’s history of executing “witches” in the 17th century, which was fueled by settlers’ frenzy to occupy the land of New England’s Indigenous inhabitants raised their fists in support of the Palestinian-led marchers. Some even joined the march.

The emergency-formed Northshore for Palestine coalition marched to U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s district office, demanding he cease and desist from his warmongering support for Israel’s crimes. Leaders of the North Shore Labor Council provided security on the streets, and United Steelworkers Local 8751 — representing Boston school bus drivers — provided a sound system for many powerful community voices, all demanding an immediate end to U.S. support for Israel.

As Fawaz Abusharkh of the Palestinian House of New England put it to the assembled media: “You are bombarding a concentration camp that has 2 million people with nowhere to go. You’re bombing the hospitals. You’re bombing the schools. You’re not letting aid in or people out … I don’t know what else could even be called genocide if you don’t call this genocide!”


Steve Gillis

Published by
Steve Gillis

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