Protests take place throughout U.S./Israeli attack on Gaza
People in U.S. break through media blockade, take to the streets
Throughout the latest U.S.-backed Israeli assault on Gaza (Nov. 14-21), protesters took to the streets throughout the United States and of course around the world. Below are reports and photographs covering just some of the protests that took place in the United States.
SLIDESHOW: Across the U.S., Nov. 14-20
SLIDESHOW: San Francisco, Nov. 16
SLIDESHOW: Los Angeles, Nov. 15
SLIDESHOW: Los Angeles, Nov. 18
SLIDESHOW: Los Angeles, Nov. 20
SLIDESHOW: Chicago, Nov. 15
SLIDESHOW: Chicago, Nov. 19
Jasmine Delgado, a UCLA student, made her position clear to Liberation News: "I'm here to denounce the apartheid state of Israel and demand an immediate end to the bombing and killing of innocent people."
Also in attendance was Gisela Santiago, a student at CSULB and an organizer for Women Organized to Resist and Defend, who said: "I'm here today to stand in solidarity with the civilians who have been killed by the U.S.-funded Israeli military. The U.S. government funnels billions of dollars a year to the Israeli military, which in turn uses that money to kill innocent women and children. We demand that our tax dollars instead be used to fund people’s needs here, like jobs, healthcare and education."
Speakers at the rally included Taher Mutaz Herzallah of the Irvine 11, Sofia Azeb of the Palestinian American Women’s Association, a representative of the Shura Council of Southern California, and Estee Chandler of Jewish Voices for Peace. The protest ended with a pledge to continue fighting to lift the siege of Gaza and free Palestine.
The movement in solidarity with Gaza continued on Nov. 18 when a pro-Israel rally, organized by the notoriously violent and reactionary Zionist coalition Stand With Us, was met with militant resistance from over 250 students and workers at a counter-protest organized by Al-Awda and the ANSWER Coalition. Pro-Palestinian protesters left feeling victorious, vowing to continue the struggle in solidarity with the resistance in Gaza.
Protests continued in Los Angeles, including on Nov. 20, and in other parts of Southern California, including San Diego.
In the new wave of Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip, activists in San Francisco organized a two-day emergency demonstration to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who are living in terror due to the indiscriminate shelling by Israeli airstrikes.
On Nov. 15, a solidarity protest was held at 5:15pm in front of the Israeli Consulate on Montgomery Street. People chanted “Occupation is a crime, Free, free Palestine” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes.” A much smaller number of Zionist counter-protesters stood across the street.
On Nov. 16, about 500 people showed up to a demonstration cosponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, AROC and Code Pink, among many other groups. Despite the rain, the turnout was massive and the crowd was vibrant, their chants echoing blocks away. Again, a much smaller number of Zionist counter-protesters stood across the street, flanked by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
As the crowd got bigger and more energetic, the people decided to march and took to the streets in a large group chanting “Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry, Palestine will never die” and “Free, free Palestine, long live Palestine, long live the Intifada, Intifada, Intifada.” The crowd held a final rally in Union Square. A group of people were still energized and decided to march back to the Israeli consulate and held a general assembly in which they decided to hold another action the next day.
Protests continued in San Francisco, including on Nov. 19, and in other parts of Northern California, including Sacramento.
People came together in New Haven to protest the Israeli siege and bombing of Gaza on Nov. 17 in a protest initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and participated in by the Muslim American Society, CT United for Peace and the Middle East Crisis Committee, among others.
The rally started on the steps of the U.S. District Courthouse. Speakers from numerous groups addressed the crowd and shared the importance of supporting the Palestinian people against the terrorism of the Israeli occupation now and always.
The majority of people were Palestinian or other Arab people who came because of the horror of the Israeli attacks on their brothers and sisters at home. People traveled from every corner of Connecticut, some from schools and mosques, to attend the rally.
A spontaneous march took off to the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Center in downtown New Haven, chanting, "Long live Palestine!" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!"
Party for Socialism and Liberation member Norman Clement addressed the crowd and people waiting for the bus outside the recruiting center, saying: "As we stand here today, we're talking about billions of our tax dollars going to the Israeli government to fight against our brothers and sisters in Palestine, to fund the genocidal destruction of a whole people. But we stand here today, we know there are so many people in the United States who don't have work, who don't have jobs, who we can afford to live. We're here to say that we need this money here, not to be used for wars and genocide." He also made the parallel between the Israeli campaign of genocide against the Palestinian people and the genocide against Native Americans that took place in the United States.
Priscilla Lounds, a veteran and member of March Forward!, the veterans and service members affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition, spoke outside the recruiting center about her experience, saying: "If we brought the troops home and closed down those bases, that money could be used to create jobs, hire more teachers and provide college for our young men and women so they don't feel they have to kill and give away their soul to educate themselves. The education you receive after signing the forms in this office is an education that will destroy your soul."
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
On Nov. 15, hundreds of people gathered at the White House after marching from the State Department. The protest was coordinated with others taking place across the country and around the world in support of the people of Gaza.
Mostly young Arab people, the protesters were determined to bring a message to President Obama and the world: We in the United States will not be silent as Israel continues to receive billions in military aid to murder and oppress Palestinians. Individual activists were joined by various organizations, including the ANSWER Coalition.
At the White House, there was also a counter-protest of Zionists. Heads held high, the pro-Palestine protesters chanted loudly, militantly and continuously for the freedom of Palestine. The pro-Palestine contingent swelled dramatically with even more families and passers-by joining to honor those that have died or been injured since the Nov. 14. Protesters holding a candlelight vigil formed a line surrounding the crowd.
The protest was organized on social media by young people and students from across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
The following day, a large group again rallied in front of the White House to demand that the U.S. end military aid to Israel and that the war on Gaza come to an immediate end. The rally followed an energetic march from the State Department that drew in passers-by. Protesters were very diverse, including Palestinians, Egyptians, veterans, and families with young children.
March Forward! co-founder Mike Prysner spoke at the rally about his experience learning about war in the Middle East firsthand as a soldier. "The people of the United States have nothing to gain from the death and destruction of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and across the Middle East," he said. "The United States does not bring democracy to the Middle East, it brings war and terrorism."
Chants demanded an end to the air strikes and freedom for the Palestinian people. Protesters condemned President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for acts of genocide against the Palestinian people, and vowed to continue to organize solidarity actions. The action was promoted broadly through social networking and joined by a wide range of organizations, including the ANSWER Coalition, George Mason and George Washington University Students for Justice in Palestine chapters, Code Pink, numerous Arab and Muslim community groups, and their allies.
Protests continued almost daily. On Nov. 18 there was a protest outside the Israeli Embassy, on Nov. 20 there was another march from the State Department to the White House, and on Nov. 21 there was a protest outside of the White House.
Boca Raton and Gainesville
On Nov 15, Students for Justice in Palestine and the ANSWER Coalition responded to the latest U.S./Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people in Boca Raton with a protest at Florida Atlantic University the morning after the bombing of Gaza began.
In Gainesville on Nov. 15, Students for a Democratic Society in coalition with Students for Justice in Palestine counter-protested a pro-Israel event. Supporters of Palestinian rights shouted chants such as "Free Palestine" and "From the river to the Sea, Palestine will be Free."
Then on Nov. 16 in Turlington Plaza, student activists from SDS and SJP rallied in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Speeches by the students gathered in Turlington Plaza denounced the Israeli government and expressed opposition to the latest wave of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
On Nov. 17, hundreds of people turned out for the demonstration in solidarity with Gaza that was called by the Right of Return Coalition. SJP chapters from multiple campuses, the ANSWER Coalition and One Struggle also joined in on the organizing for the demonstration in front of the Federal Courthouse on Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
Symbolic of the relationship between the United States and Israel, the Fort Lauderdale Police and the Federal Protective Service blocked the entrance to the sidewalks in front of the courthouse to defend less than a handful of racist, pro-Israeli counter-demonstrators. The cops continued to cross the street during the protest to demand the sidewalk be cleared and then that a bus stop remain clear. Finally, when the cops shut down the sound system, the protesters marched up and down Broward Boulevard chanting all the more loudly for the defense of the Palestinian people.
Students and community activists came out to the Emergency Action for Gaza on Nov. 19, meeting at the Integration statue on the Florida State University campus. Another group gathered to watch the speeches and chants as the protest began.
The rally then marched through campus and Oglesby Union with Palestinian flags, signs, and chants, such as "Viva, viva Palestina!" and "Free, free Gaza! Free, free Palestine!" The march attracted the attention of large crowds.
At the end of the march a large banner reading "We say NO to Israeli occupation" was unfurled from the Woodward parking garage overlooking the Union. Back at the Integration statue, a large gathering of people engaged in excited discussion that lasted for the next two hours.
Demonstrations also gathered in Tampa, Orlando and other major urban centers around the state.
In Chicago over 500 people, the majority of them students and youth, came out on Nov. 15 to stand with Gaza. The protest was held in front of the downtown Obama headquarters.
Demonstrators formed a massive block-long picket, shutting down the sidewalk. The most popular chant was, "Hey Obama, you will see, Palestine will be free!"
Speakers at the closing rally included John Beacham, the coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition in Chicago. He said, "This newest Israeli attack on Gaza, fully supported by the Obama administration, shows once again that the biggest supporters of terrorist violence against civilians in the world today are in Washington and the Pentagon. We stand with people of the Middle East in their struggle against U.S. domination and Israeli apartheid. We will continue to build a movement in the United States that stands with all those targeted for elimination by the U.S. government."
The protest was organized by American Muslims for Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group, Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network. The endorsers were the ANSWER Coalition, Anti-war Committee, Committee Against Political Repression, Coalition to Protect Peoples Rights, American Friends Service Committee, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, SJP-Loyola, SJP-UIC and SJP-Depaul.
Another protest took place in Chicago on Nov. 19.
On Nov. 17, people in Baltimore joined the millions of people worldwide who are demanding the end of the Israeli escalation of aggression against the Palestinian people at a protest initiated by the ANSWER Coalition. The demonstration in Baltimore’s downtown Inner Harbor drew supporters from around Maryland who came to show solidarity with the heroic people of Palestine.
The loud, militant protesters chanted: “Killing children is a crime” and “Stop Israel’s war machine.” They made it clear that support for the Palestinian people against the racist state of Israel and the U.S. government that funds it with aid continues to grow in numbers and strength as Israel’s unprovoked atrocities in Gaza continue.
The demonstration drew a large group of protesters of all nationalities and ages. Many of the young people in the crowd were students from area high schools and colleges.
Palestinian activist Zahi Khamis told the crowd: “The Palestinians will never, ever surrender to Israel. It’s been over six decades and the resistance is only growing.” Speaking about the unwavering U.S. support for Israeli aggression, he added, “We have seen Obama support Israel again and again as Israel slaughters our children.”
The protest received a great amount of support from people walking and driving by. The working-class people of Baltimore and around the world will continue to fight for Palestine to be free.
Hundreds of students, activists and community members braved the cold in Boston on Nov. 15 to show support for the people of Palestine. The demonstration was called by Boston-area student activists in the Students for Justice in Palestine movement and supported by many other progressive and anti-war organizations.
The protest began at Copley Square and quickly turned into a march. At the onset, a small group of counter-protesters were quickly outnumbered by the hundreds in support of Palestine. Waves of chants, such as "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "Resistance is justified, when people are occupied," were heard throughout the crowd.
Demonstrators marched through downtown Boston to the Israeli Consulate, where they were met with a line of police officers protecting the consulate doors. Chants of "Free, free Palestine!" and "Gaza, Gaza, don't you cry, Palestine will never die!" echoed loudly at the militant protest in front of the consulate. An outraged Palestinian man got on the bullhorn and yelled to the crowd: "I have family there! Why is Palestine the only place that doesn't deserve human rights?"
The demonstration marched back to Copley Square, ending with more energetic chants and a vow to continue to hit the streets in protest in the coming days until the siege on Gaza ends.
Protesters again took to the streets on Nov. 16 and Nov. 20.
A rally in front of the University of New Mexico drew local media and community attention during rush hour on Nov. 17. Community members held signs reading “Let Gaza Live – End U.S. Aid to Israel” and chanted “Occupation is a crime, stop the killing, stop the crime.”
Anti-war student activists, activists with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and a large number of activists from the Muslim community held placards from the ANSWER Coalition - New Mexico, along with Students for Justice in Palestine signs.
ANSWER organizer Joel Gallegos told the crowd: “We want to share solidarity with the people of Gaza and Palestine as a whole.” Danya Mustafa, with Students for Justice in Palestine, explained the role of U.S. funding to Israel’s genocidal siege against Palestine: “We are not distant from the problem, our tax dollars go to this. The Palestinian people are the most oppressed people in the world. … Corporations profit from the occupation of Palestine. We will be active to stop Israeli apartheid.”
Chants rang out while ANSWER volunteers signed up community members to stay involved in the struggle. Another rally was announced for the following day to keep up the momentum.
ANSWER New Mexico organizer Preston Wood emphasized the profit-driven U.S. military interests in the region: “As Israel sends bombs and rockets over Gaza, we have to get together to mobilize in the streets. The Israeli occupation is a catastrophe for the people of Gaza and the West Bank.”
As Palestinian families and youth in solidarity with Palestine arrived, there were also Palestinian flags being raised and a large sign was lifted that read “Boycott Israeli Apartheid.” The crowd spiritedly continued the chants into the evening, as many students and members of the community stopped in support and honked in passing cars.
“The people of Gaza are important and the people of Albuquerque are important. Together we can have justice. Without justice there is no peace,” Stop the War Machine organizer Bob Anderson said.
New York City
Hundreds gathered on Nov. 15 in front of the Israeli Consulate, just a few blocks away from the United Nations, to demonstrate their outrage at the latest assault on Gaza. Assembling on one day's notice, the crowd was mainly filled with young people of all backgrounds, many of whom had learned of the protest through social media. Speakers, representing a wide range of organizations, emphasized how this assault is only the latest in a long list of crimes committed by the occupation.
Scores of Arab youth, many of whom have family in Palestine, led a militant spontaneous march to Times Square at the conclusion of the rally. Along the way, many of the working-class commuters we passed eagerly took flyers, and expressed their indignation at Israel's ruthless airstrikes. The rally was initiated by American Muslims for Palestine, Al-Awda - NY, and endorsed by dozens of others, including the ANSWER Coalition.
Protesters repeatedly pledged to return to the streets as long as the bombing continues, and did return daily to the Israeli Consulate through Nov. 20.
Mobilizing rapidly in response to the Zionist attack on Gaza, the Syracuse branch of the ANSWER Coalition organized a demonstration in front of the Federal Building in the heart of downtown Syracuse on Nov. 16. Community members came out during the day to stand against Israeli war crimes, including two Palestinians from Gaza.
A testament to the importance of carrying the struggle into the streets, after asking for a placard, Khadijah Osbourne, a registered nurse, said that she spontaneously joined the protest after driving by on her way to work. She continued: “Gaza has been on the news and on my mind. I was thankful to see people here standing up for what is right, and thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to join them.’”
Students from nearby schools also participated in the protest. ANSWER organizer and Onondaga Community College student Garrett Boak circulated a petition in support of Palestine, which already had over 100 signatures from fellow students.
Speaking about why she was out in protest of the latest Israeli attack, Syracuse University student activist Nikeeta Slade said, “I came out to the protest to show solidarity with Palestinians who have been and continue to be mercilessly killed by Israeli apartheid, and to show the American government that their unbridled support to Israel means that they too have the blood of innocent Palestinians on their hands.”
Local anti-war activists organized a picket line on Nov. 19 at the Vance Memorial in Asheville. Protesters chanted loudly with a message that echoed off the walls of the banks across the street during the busy downtown are at lunchtime. Passers-by stopped and joined the protest once they saw it in action.
The demonstration put forth the message that Zionism is racist oppression. Protesters linked the struggle in Palestine to struggles for justice worldwide, including in North Carolina. These messages were well received during talks and speeches.
Several events were held in Philadelphia on Nov. 16 in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
In the first action of the day, protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate at in the early afternoon to express their outrage at the murderous attack on Gaza. A smaller crowd of supporters of Israel gathered across the street, holding racist signs associating the Palestinian people with terrorism. To the hypocritical chants of “Peace now!” from the Zionists, supporters of Palestine responded “Resistance is justified when people are occupied!”
Later in the afternoon, a standing-room-only crowd packed a lecture hall at Temple University to hear Noura Erakat, a Palestinian law professor, deliver a teach-in about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Professor Erakat reviewed the history of Israeli colonial expansion and the role of the settlements in the West Bank play as part of this larger project.
Finally, protesters returned to the Israeli consulate for another demonstration against the atrocities in Gaza. Favorite chants included “Obama, Bibi, you will see, Palestine will be free!” and “Israel, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!”
Supporters of Palestine in Philadelphia plan to continue actions in solidarity with Gaza.
People came out to the Federal Building on Nov. 15 to protest the U.S.-backed Israeli assault on Gaza. Initiated by the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Voices of Palestine, the ANSWER Coalition and other organizations mobilized. In attendance were young people new to Palestine solidarity work, including many from the Occupy movement, as well as more experienced organizers. Tim, a young animal rights activist, told this reporter that he had never come to a Palestine solidarity demonstration before, but he felt compelled to take action against such injustice.
Rush hour drivers honked in support as they drove by, and hundreds of flyers were distributed to workers waiting for their buses. As the sky became darker, a group of young Muslim women from the University of Washington began to lead the crowd in chanting “Free, free Palestine!”
On Nov. 17, a group of mostly different people turned out again to the regularly scheduled, twice monthly “Save Gaza” vigil in downtown Seattle despite wind and rain.
Protests continued throughout the bombing, including a noon-time protest on Nov. 19 at the University of Washington and banner drops across town.
Contributors to this report: Doug Kauffman, Salma Elshakre, Chris Garaffa, Heather Benno, Jeff Martin, Eric Bilbo Brown, John Peter Daly, Bryan Ellis, John Beacham, Roger Scott, Jennifer Zaldana, Aintschel Siqueiros, Ben Becker, Collin Chambers, Noah Harbin, Walter Smolarek, Jane Cutter