Global protests against the US-Israel war against the Palestinian people intensified Wednesday following the Tuesday bombing of the Al-Alhi Arab Hospital, in Gaza City, by the Israeli military. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 471 people were killed in the explosion and 314 others were injured. At least 28 people remain in critical condition.
While the US, Israel, and their stenographers in the Western press seek to stampede public opinion into supporting the ongoing genocide against the people of Gaza, millions of people have taken to city streets, capital buildings and embassies to demand an end to the slaughter.
In Washington D.C., daily peaceful protests have resulted in nearly 400 arrests in the last 72 hours. On October 16, approximately 1,000 demonstrators organized by two Jewish American groups, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and IfNotNow, demonstrated near the White House in protest of the Biden administration’s continued support for Israel. Jewish and other anti-war protesters congregated at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW where they sang songs calling on President Biden to issue a ceasefire.
According to a US Secret Service spokesman, 49 people were arrested when protesters blocked the presidential entrance at the corner of 17th Street and New York Avenue—33 people on suspicion of unlawful entry and another 16 for allegedly incommoding.
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“Led by American Jews connected with IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, today’s action represents a growing wave of Jewish, progressive, and youth leaders calling on President Biden to de-escalate the conflict, restrain Israeli aggression, and ensure the safe return of Israeli civilian hostages,” IfNotNow said in a statement to Newsweek.
On Wednesday, IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace organized thousands more protesters who peacefully demonstrated outside the Cannon Office Building on Capitol Hill. According to JVP, 350 protesters, including two dozen rabbis, participated in the sit-in of the building, which lasted for over four hours, while thousands more protested outside.
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Protesters filled the building with deafening chants of “Ceasefire now!” and “Not in our name!”
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A US Capitol Police spokesperson told NBC News Wednesday evening that “close to 300” people were in police custody. According to the police, every single protester went through security checkpoints before peacefully entering the building. While the building is open to the public, protests or demonstrations are not allowed inside the building.
“We warned protesters to stop demonstrating and when they did not comply we began arresting them,” US Capitol Police said in a statement posted to Twitter/(X).
Hundreds march in downtown Las Vegas: “I think we’re no longer being shy about calling it genocide.”
On Tuesday night, over 500 people of all races and ethnicities held a rally and march in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, demanding an end to the Israeli genocide and freedom for the Palestinian people. While people of all ages attended there were many young people as well, with a large percentage of the protesters wearing masks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and avoid state surveillance.
Hundreds of anti-war and pro-Palestinian protesters in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 17, 2023.
In addition to hundreds of flags and keffiyeh scarves, protesters brought homemade signs denouncing the US role in the ongoing massacre and refuting lies proffered by the US and its Zionist stooge to justify the slaughter.
“The US lied about Iraq. The US lied about Syria. The US lied about Afghanistan. The US and Israel are lying about Gaza. No babies were beheaded and no women were raped. They want to justify the Genocide,” read one sign. “End US aid to Israel,” read another, “Your tax $$$ funds apartheid.”
A much smaller contingent—numbering less than 150—Zionists and fascists counter-protested the rally with chants of “IDF! IDF! IDF!” and “USA! USA! USA!”
While the rally was promoted by the Democratic Socialists of America, no prominent DSA members, or Democratic Party politicians, deigned to come to the rally to show their support or oppose war crimes.
Refuting bogus claims of a “socialist takeover” of the Nevada Democratic Party two years ago by DSA-friendly press, every single major Democratic elected official in Nevada has fully backed President Biden and the Zionist state of Israel in their present ethnic cleansing campaign.
Last week, Democratic Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto joined 12 other senators in penning a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding the State Department freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets that the US had previously stolen. The senators’ letter, which was also signed by so-called “progressives” Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Republicans Joni Erst (Iowa) and Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Krysten Sinema (Arizona), also called on Blinken to work with the bipartisan group of senators in support of Israel.
“We look forward to working with you to assist Israel in its time of need and ensure it has the resources and tools need to defend itself against Iranian-sponsored terrorism,” they wrote.
While capitalist politicians are champing at the bit to provide Israel with all the money it needs to exterminate the Palestinians, Jacob, a protester at the rally, told WSWS reporters, “It’s upsetting for, you know, progressives, because, a lot of people look to [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and others, as progressives, and it’s not always the case. Especially when we’re backing up ... It’s a genocide. Palestinians are not allowed to move. Legally, they’re a part of Israel. It’s a region in Israel. But we allow this genocide of this marginalized group of Palestinians because they’ve had to hold over from the Holocaust and justifications on that.”
“If ‘progressives’ are there for the oppressed people,” Jacob added, “We have to be there for Palestine.
“[Israel] is bombing the escape routes as well. Intentional or not, I believe it was 70 people that died, 70 people. I think it’s a war crime.
“I think in the past we’ve been shy about calling it genocide and I think we’re no longer being shy about calling it genocide. Palestinians are not able to move around in what is often cited as the world’s most peaceful country, when in reality Palestinians live in the world’s largest open-air prison.”
Asked what he thought about a joint strike between teachers, students and hotel workers in Clark County (Las Vegas) to demand an end to the war, Jacob responded, “We are divided into our own little struggles so we’re not united together to fight this system that is oppressing all of us. When it comes to, are you talking about a general strike? Well, I think that would be a good start. That would be a fantastic start ... Something that has to be planned for, obviously. Yeah, that’s a huge part of the struggle. Everybody’s struggling with making rent, getting groceries, getting medications. Yes, a general strike would be fantastic.”
Thousands in San Diego, California protest Israeli genocide: “From Mexico to Palestine these walls got to go”
On Sunday some 5,000 people held a powerful demonstration at the County Administration building in San Diego, California. The role of militarized borders was not lost on the rally where signs called for an end to walls “From Mexico to Palestine.”
The mainstream media has attempted to downplay the size of Sunday’s rally, with outlets such as the San Diego Union Tribune claiming only 500 attended. In reality closer to 5,000 demonstrated.
A protester at the rally, Cindy, told WSWS reporters, “Our political leaders are putting different statements out that don’t align with my views with what I would like to happen. We’ve already been giving Israel billions of dollars for decades ... So I just wanted to come out with people who felt the same way. Even though my representatives and my senators aren’t taking my calls, or if it’s not enough, at least they’ll see the protests.
“The role of the media is very one-sided, they quickly started going with the narrative, like, they’re terrorists, that they are this and that, but it’s like, once I started hearing that term thrown around, it’s like, are we not going to talk about the last 75 years? Are we not going to hear about the past 15 years? It’s very biased. And then after that, you started hearing these claims of like, babies being decapitated, but there was no information. All the sudden, even new, major news outlets right now are having to backtrack what they said, because they are now realizing it was not true. But now some already have this perception that they’re savages and terrorists and especially knowing how the US was shortly after 9/11.”
Ashley spoke to the importance of social media in breaking through the propaganda and one-sided narrative of Washington: “What helped me to understand is that we are seeing a lot of people in Palestine show what is actually happening through TikTok. ... you see the innocent people, they are suffering and they are actually sharing their real stories. That is how I learned about what was happening.”
Cindy added, “I’ve had the privilege of having really great professors when I went to San Diego State, a few of them being of Jewish heritage, and they would always make their position known. Most of them did not support the State of Israel because they were well-informed.
“I’m here to protest against the actions of the state of Israel. I understand that it’s not a reflection of all the people there, I’m sure that they are also not wanting to see people be displaced or murdered. And there were actually a few testimonies, I saw men and women that had lost their families. And they said, ‘I don’t want their death to be used to further harm others.’
“I think that’s really important and knowing that, you do not have to be an expert, but as long as you are willing to learn and reach out for verified information or people who are on the ground, that is gonna do a lot more than either being silent, or just kind of going with the narrative that you see on TV.”
Thousands march in Austin, Texas: “Netanyahu you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!”
On Sunday, October 15, over a thousand people marched from the Texas state capitol building through the streets of Austin to protest Israel’s criminal war against Gaza. At the same time thousands marched through Dallas and Houston.
The protest began with a rally at the gate to the state Capitol building before participants marched down Congress Avenue. Well over a thousand people could be heard chanting “Netanyahu you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “from Palestine to Mexico, all the border walls must go.” Masking was encouraged and KN-95’s provided by the organizers. The rally demanded an immediate end to funding and arms shipments to Israel.
One protester carried a sign with Joe Biden’s face photo-shopped over a photograph of Colin Powell wagging his infamous vial of anthrax before the UN while claiming that Iraq had obtained weapons of mass destruction, drawing a parallel between the lies used to justify the sociocide of Iraq and the now-debunked claims of Hamas decapitating babies.
The international character of the event was evident; participants were drawn from every racial, ethnic, and religious background. A member of a Filipino student group denounced US militarism and its support for the Marcos dictatorship in its former colony, emphasizing the hypocrisy of Israel’s claims of “self-defense.”
The protest was staged against the backdrop of ongoing repression and intimidation of those who have spoken out against the genocide of the Palestinians. Three days before the protest, in an event largely unreported in the media, a group of three middle-aged men walked onto the University of Texas campus and attempted to disrupt a meeting hosted by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee of Austin.
The men harassed the student organizers while trying to enter the room. Students claim the men threw flyers at their faces and called them terrorists. One of the men shouted, “next week I’m in Israel, killing Arabs, motherf***ers.”
As of this writing, the University of Texas administration has not taken any action to address the incident. In contrast, earlier in the week, the administration had sent out an email promising to “protect Jewish students against hate,” while saying nothing about the safety of Palestinian students.
When the march circled back around to the steps at the gate of the Capitol building, one member of the crowd started a chant of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
The organizers, however, informed him and the rest of the crowd that the event was over. As with the multi-racial protests against violence and murder by the police in 2020 and 2021, there exists a burning desire within the working class and youth to see the fight for the democratic rights of Palestinians through to the end. But the great danger is that, without a revolutionary and international leadership, that is a socialist one, this opposition will be redirected back into the dead end of racialist politics and ultimately the Democratic Party, as were the protests against police violence.
Protests against US-Backed Gaza genocide continue in New York City
Thousands of workers and youth gathered in Queens, New York City, Wednesday evening to protest the unfolding genocide in Gaza, hours after US President Joe Biden concluded discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indicating full US backing for a ground invasion. Earlier that day, hundreds of students, faculty and staff joined a protest at the Graduate Student Center of the City College of New York (CUNY) in Manhattan.