Yesterday, at the protest against US arms to Israel, I heard anti-Palestinians shouting about the terrorists, Hamas. I also heard very beautiful verses of humanity from Muslims and Jews. Is it really about Allah or the Almighty at this point because neither Zionists or Hamas is about God, rather than about mankind’s evil. For the first time, in the nine months I have lived in New York City, I ran into friends while walking the streets of Manhattan.
Originally printed at OpEd News
From the Rivers to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free
On Wednesday, July 9, 2014 New York City was one of many cities, globally, who held emergency protests in support of Palestine. Two rallies were coordinated: the first, “A Rally Against US funding of Israeli Terror” began outside the Israeli consulate in the city’s east side. Merging the rallies together, approximately 4,000 people marched to the News Corporation head quarters in the second rally, “For Accurate Media Coverage.” News Corp is home to Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post, FOX News, and Wall Street Journal.
Mainstream media was widely absent in a rally calling for media transparency. CBS local news was present and drummed up a West Side Story styled duel, reporting pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters both calling for a truce. CBS reporter Jessica Schneider fails to take notice of the size of pro-Israel protesters, 200 people at most, which quickly dispersed. It is unclear whether or not counter-protesters were calling for an end to all conflicts. What appeared to be a young man dressed as a rabbi was seen on the side of the Israel protesters shouting racial slurs. It was apparent that the protest was largely a rally against the settlement of Palestine and murder of its people. The people in New York City had something to say:
Free, free Palestine / End the occupation now / From the rivers to the sea / Palestine will be free!
Support from Jewish Community
“I’m here for humanity, because we are supposed to help everyone. Jews are forbidden to occupy holy land. Jews are forbidden by the Almighty to have a state of their own and are commanded by the Almighty to be in exile, subservient to the nations of the world. Before 1970 we were living in peace with Muslims. Muslims were helping Jews. ” – Rabbi Joel Eidlisz of Boycott Israel. Eidlisz references Deuteronomy 4:25-27.
Among those who spoke was journalist and author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, Max Blumenthal:
Because I am a Jew who happens to not like Israel acting out…. I have been labeled an anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew…. Change our media which is presenting this as a cycle of violence. It is not a conflict, it’s a conquest. It is an illegal conquest. We are not the extremists. The extremists are the people who believe in an ethnically pure Jewish state…. The extremists are the people who have demolished 27,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.
Conquest, Not Conflict
Israel and Hamas began this latest round of fighting after a spike in tensions fueled by the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers hitchhiking in the West Bank and what is suspected to be the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by Israelis. 53 people were killed in Gaza on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. More were killed at the same time as the rallies in NYC were taking place bringing the total this week to 88. Among those killed, at least 21 were aged 16 or younger. The youngest victim, 18-month-old Mohammed Malakiyeh, was killed along with his 27-year-old mother. The oldest victim, 80-year-old Naifeh Farjallah, was killed in an air strike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.
The single deadliest strike killed eight people Tuesday in southern Gaza when Israel bombed a home in the city of Khan Yunis. Attacks have been carried out by F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, and drones. No Israelis have been reported killed.
Hamas, an organization based on Islamic fundamentalism, has governed the Gaza strip since 2007 after gaining momentum in the 1980s. Zionism, a movement that believes in the creation of Jewish homeland defined as the Home of Israel was founded in 1896. The movement was eventually successful in establishing Israel on May 14, 1948 as the homeland for the Jewish people. A series of laws passed by the first Israeli government prevented Palestinians from returning to their homes, or claiming their property. They and many of their descendants remain refugees. The expulsion of the Palestinians has since been widely, and controversially, described as having involved “ethnic cleansing”.
Why the US Should Stop Aiding Israel
Fatin Jarara of Al-Awad, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition said:
At minimum, the US should stop sending aid to Israel. First step is to stop funding the war against Palestine. 400 tons of explosives have been dropped on Gaza with very little warning. The people have no place to go and can not protect themselves. This has been going on far too long.
Over the past 60 years, Israel has absorbed close to a quarter-trillion dollars in aid from the United States. Last year alone, Washington sent some$3.1 billion in military aid, supplemented by allocations for collaborative military research and joint training exercises. The United States covers nearly one quarter of Israel’s defense budget.
The United States’ support for the Israeli operation appears conditional, Israeli analysts said, as Washington called for “restraint from both sides.” On Wednesday, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal offered to renew the 2012 ceasefire based on three conditions: an end to the Israeli offensive, the release of prisoners initially freed under a prisoner swap but recently re-arrested in Israeli raids, and Israeli respect for the Palestinian unity government. Israeli officials have rejected Meshaal’s terms and vowed to continue the attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
Today we expanded our operations against Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza. We’ll continue to protect our civilians against Hamas attacks on them. Now, Hamas, by contrast, is deliberately putting Palestinian civilians into harm’s way. It embeds its terrorists in hospitals and schools and mosques, apartment buildings throughout the Gaza Strip. Hamas is thus committing a double war crime: It targets Israeli civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.
Marching among protesters was peace poet Luke Nephew. “I feel very full of emotion right now. I haven’t been to any actions for Gaza since I’ve been back from Palestine. The Palestinian people offered me the warmest and most generous hospitality I’ve received any where in the world. They, like their struggle, are profoundly human,” said Nephew. Nephew was in Palestine in March, 2013 before being deported from the country in April, 2013.
Cities continue to protest against bombings in Palestine. The next global day of action is on July 11, 2014.