On August 9, a few hundred protesters and several organizations held a rally to raise awareness about the continued onslaught on the Palestinian people by the Zionist Israeli government.
The event was hosted by the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which included the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and Students for Justice in Palestine. Speakers for the groups raised awareness of the fact that over 40 people were killed in recent airstrikes in Gaza. Just hours prior to the protest, three people were killed and over 30 were injured during an airstrike on the Palestinian city of Nablus. Over 300 people were injured as well.
One speaker noted that of the two million or more people who reside in Gaza, nearly 60% are children. According to Al Mayadeen, the Palestinian Health Ministry announced that the death toll of Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation forces in 2022 rose to 129, including at least 34 children. Fifteen or more children were added to this total in the past week as a result of the genocidal attacks on Palestinian cities.
These attacks on the Palestinian people show the depravity of the racist occupying government and the West’s direct hand in the death and destruction. The Israeli government and media have been warning for weeks of an imminent “jihadist” attack on Israelis in the occupied settlements near Gaza, but have offered no evidence of such racist accusations. Despite this, and with direct funding and military training from the West, Israel has continued its decades-long ethnic cleansing project.
One speaker noted the hypocrisy of the U.S. government’s response, or lack thereof, to the Israeli airstrikes. Nearly $3 billion is given to Israel by Washington annually for military assistance and for the Iron Dome, which was created to deter these supposed attacks on Israeli settlements.
Meanwhile, the millions who live in Palestine are confined to what is practically an open-air prison on one-fourth of the area Palestine held before the British mandate that established the Zionist colony of Israel. Five million people live in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, creating some of the highest densities of human populations in the world, and also leaving them extremely vulnerable to Israeli attacks.
After the initial speak out, protesters took to the streets and marched along busy streets in the downtown area. One speaker led the crowd to the chant of “From Chicago to Palestine, torturing people is a crime” to illustrate the fact that many law enforcement agencies, including the Chicago Police Department, have sent officers to cross-train and receive weapons and tactics from Israeli Defense Force officers.
Police have become an occupying force in many U.S. cities, which is not something lost on Chicagoans who have protested against police killings in the city and the former “black site” that operated at Homan Square on the west side. Understanding the connections between U.S. police brutality and the Israeli occupation, both of which are central to the imperialist agenda, is key to assessing how to resist and fight back against them.
After the march concluded, speakers from the USPCN concluded by thanking protesters and reminding them that “when people are occupied, resistance is justified.” Despite the efforts of western and Israeli media to paint the Palestinians in a racist light, the people of Gaza and the West Bank have resisted for decades — despite the many blockades, apartheid checkpoints, and countless martyrs immortalized in the resistance. The Palestinian people have captured the attention of millions regardless of the false narratives and will continue to inspire and lead the charge in the global anti-imperialist struggle.