Boston — Following a months-long campaign by a coalition of organizations outraged by U.S. support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza, on Jan. 29 the Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Council finally bent to mass community pressure. The council unanimously voted to resolve: “That the Cambridge City Council go on record expressing its support for an immediate, negotiated ceasefire by both Hamas and Netanyahu Administration, urging the release of all hostages, and calling for the urgent implementation of humanitarian aid.”In November 2023, the same nine-member council had voted a majority “no.” The revote was a resounding defeat for pro-Zionist forces after two more months of daily mass slaughter and televised war crimes.
In neighboring Somerville, City Council passed a similar “ceasefire” resolution three days earlier.
Cambridge city authorities did everything in their power to stop the vote. The day prior, they abruptly closed the City Council meeting to in-person attendance, moving hundreds who had signed up for public comment to Zoom.
When a large crowd showed up in defiance, chanting with signs — organized by Palestine House of New England, Palestine Youth Movement, Muslim Justice League, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology students for Palestine, Mass Peace Action and many Cambridge residents — Cambridge police arrived in force, drawing their zip ties to intimidate people. Many regrouped at nearby Palestinian coffee shop Andala and testified for over three hours remotely.
When force failed, Zionists on the council demanded and won onerous late-night amendments, including the false and racist assertion that Gaza’s democratically elected government is a “terrorist organization.”
Cambridge, where a “Black Lives Matter” banner hangs above City Hall’s entrance, is where police were recently exonerated for pumping five bullets into the chest of 20-year-old Sayed Faisal during a medical emergency on Jan. 4, 2023. (workers.org/2023/01/68535/)
Cambridge is where dozens of Harvard and MIT students are currently on disciplinary trial for peacefully protesting genocide in Gaza, and where Claudine Gay, Harvard’s first Black woman president, was terminated from that position by the Harvard Corporation in early January for not being Zionist enough. (workers.org/2024/01/76094/)
Cambridge City Hall was also the site on Oct. 9 of Boston’s first mass rally and march against Israel’s genocidal bombing. That day, marchers targeted the North American headquarters of Israeli drone and missile maker Elbit Systems, one block from City Hall. Now, Cambridge police and U.S. Homeland Security guard Elbit with rooftop snipers and barricades after charging several brave Palestine Action U.S. activists with felonies for spray painting its façade. (workers.org/2023/10/74042/)
Palestinian leader testifies
Ahmad Kawash, decades-long Cambridge resident, leader of Palestine House of New England and a founder of the Boston Coalition for Palestine, testified at the November City Council hearing. He put the struggle for a ceasefire resolution and its contradictions into perspective during an interview with Workers World newspaper: “After 75 years, we’re still protesting for human rights, for basic necessities, for freedom, the right to return and to stop the occupation, apartheid and genocide.
“After 75 years, the media continues to be one sided, to be on the side of the oppressor, but there is something they cannot hide — the truth. The truth is being shared through various outlets on the ground in our beloved Palestine. It is our job to continue to expose the truth of what the state of Israel has done to the Palestinians.
“We rise to let our voices be heard that what Palestinians have gone through now and every day for the past 75 years is a crime against humanity. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Gaza, and we won’t stop fighting until we are no longer oppressed.
“The failure in November did not prevent us from continuing the struggle in the street and with the councilors, by phone or in person, until we achieved this modest victory. I congratulate everyone. True victory will be when the occupation is defeated and the siege on Gaza is lifted.”