In response to a call from Palestinian groups, activists in U.S cities participated in a “Day of Rage” on July 1 to protest Israeli plans to annex the Jordan Valley the Zionist application of sovereignty over illegal “Israeli” colonies in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
In U.S. cities and towns, Palestinians and their supports found ways in the midst of a pandemic to make clear that the Palestinian struggle for liberation will continue, and support for it will grow. Car and bike caravans and marches connected the struggle for self-determination for Palestinians to the same struggle for African Americans. Here’s what took place in cities across the U.S.
Over 500 cars joined a “Day of Rage” caravan in San Francisco. Gathering in front of City Hall, a flatbed truck with a booming sound system echoed across Civic Center park with chants by young Palestinian activists. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” bounced off buildings in San Francisco as the caravan wound through the Tenderloin District going through the shopping center of Union Square. Hundreds of people and bicyclists joined the cars as it drove through Chinatown and then ended up in front of the Israeli Consulate. The five traffic lanes of Montgomery Street for over three blocks became a parking lot for hundreds of cars.
Sitting on their cars, waving Palestinian flags, holding signs of resistance and chanting slogans of liberation, people cheered as the flatbed truck became a platform for the groups that organized the rally to oppose the annexation plans of Israel and affirm the determination of the Palestinian people to liberate their homeland.
Some 200 cars turned out in Los Angeles to say no to annexation. The gathering point at the Wilshire Federal Building was packed with so many cars that the start was delayed. The caravan flooded the streets headed to the israeli consulate. At the end members of the caravan rallied outside of the Israeli consultare and drowned out a small group of less than 10 counter protesters. Organizing groups included Al-Awda, Palestinian Youth Movement, American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, ANSWER LA and others.
Over 50 cars participated in a Day of Rage caravan around San Diego. The caravan drove to the headquarters of seven different Zionist organizations. Some of the stops included AIPAC, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and the Anti-Defamation League local headquarters. The caravan also stopped at the County Jail and Sheriff’s headquarters to show solidarity with the current anti-racist revolt, but also because the San Diego Sheriff Dept. sends officers on AIPAC-funded training vacations to Israel.
A press conference was held to kick off the caravan with speakers from Unión del Barrio, Anak Bayan, Palestinian Youth Movement, and other community organizations. The action was endorsed by Party for Socialism and Liberation, Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego, Students for Justice in Palestine UCSD & SDSU, Asian Solidarity Collective and others.
Hundreds gathered in Seattle for a rally outside the West Precinct police station near downtown followed by a march. The theme of the protest was “Defend Palestine, Defund Seattle Police Department.” Sponsoring organizations included Decriminalize Seattle, End the Deadly Exchange Seattle, International League of Peoples’ Struggle, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Voices for Palestine and SUPER.
Opposing Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, over 1,000 Palestinians and supporters took to the streets in Brooklyn, NY, July 1, according to organizers. They gathered and rallied in Bay Ridge, home to many Palestinians, then marched four miles to the Barklay Center, cite of this borough’s massive rallies for Black lives.
Mutual solidarity between African-Americans and Palestinians was the overall theme. A banner read, “One struggle for liberation.” Signs equated the NYC police, the KKK and the Israeli military, and called the anti-racist uprising here a “Black intifada.”
“There can be no Palestinian liberation without Black liberation!” declared Nerdeen Kiswani, from Within Our Lifetime. The action was led by Within Our Lifetime-United for Palestine and the New York 4 Palestine Coalition.
Among those speaking in solidarity was Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, wife of Black Panther and former political prisoner Sekou Odinga. Other speakers called for ending the billions in U.S. aid that goes to Israel annually, and using it for schools, health care and to fight COVID-19.
Robert Packnett, from the Party for Liberation and Socialism, reminded the crowd that when the Ferguson, Missouri, community was hit with extra-strong tear gas when protesting the police murder of Michael Brown, Palestinians in Gaza contacted them to share information on how to defend themselves against this gas. Pointing out that respected and consistent leaders like Leila Khaled and Angela Davis are communists, Packnett explained that fighting for socialism would permanently secure rights for both Palestinians and African Americans.
In Philadelphia a broad coalition of organizations — student, activist, and community groups — came out to demonstrate their solidarity with Palestinians facing down another round of illegal Israeli annexations. Speakers from the Palestinian Youth Movement, Philly BDS, Jewish Voices for Peace, and the PSL linked the struggle for justice in Palestine to the uprisings that have erupted in the past month across the United States. Long time Black liberation organizers including organizers from Black Alliance for Peace and Pam Africa of the MOVE Organization spoke to the deep connections between ongoing occupation of Black and brown neighborhoods and apartheid in Israel. A Palestinian protester in the crowd, who said that this was his first protest continued, “I want to come out to more, because it means I can fight for my country even though I’m not in my country.”
The crowd then took the street, leaving the Police Headquarters where the rally started and marched, demanding self determination for all Palestinian people in all of historic Palestine, for the international movement for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel, and for an end to police exchanges with Israel. Philadelphia police, as well as PA State Police, have conducted several training delegations with the IDF in the past, and the brutal attacks on anti police demonstrators and Black Philadelphians in their own homes in West Philadelphia with tear gas, pepper bullets, and more over the past weeks demonstrate what these exchange programs are really for — it is not about “defense” but occupation, from West Philly to the West Bank.
Over 200 people in Boston turned out to the steps of the Massachusetts State House for a Day of Rage demonstration called by BDS Boston. The demonstration was endorsed by Students for Justice in Palestine- Northeastern University, Families for Justice as Healing, Sisters Unchained, Jericho Boston, Allianza Por Puerto Rico and many other progressive organizations. The four demands endorsing organizations called for were to honor the call to boycott, divest, and sanction Israeli companies and all travel to Israel, divest state and city holdings from Israel, end the assault on indigenous sovereignty, and to end the 3.8 billion dollars of annual military aid the US provides Israel.
Protesters gathered to listen to several speakers before marching to the New England Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council) offices, which represent the most callous Zionist organizations in Massachusetts. “What brings us here on this day of rage is the annexation of all settlements in the West Bank and large swaths of the Jordan Valley. But as Palestinans we know the annexation is only making the ongoing colonization explicit. The land is already under complete military occupation. There is not true freedom anywhere in Palestine. The Nakba has been continuous since 1948,” said Tala Berro, a Palestinian activist and organizer with BDS Boston.
Nino Brown, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, connected the struggle for Palestinian liberation to the international struggle of all oppressed people fighting for their freedom. “We need to continue to internationalize our fight. We need to continue to draw attention to the fact that the colonialism in the United States is the same colonialism in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and so called Israel. It’s one struggle, one fight.”
Party for Socialism and Liberation in Salt Lake City hosted a protest in coordination with members of the local Palestinian community. Protesters marched through the streets of downtown, demanding no annexation, standing in solidarity with Palestine. Many anti-war and Palestinian speakers connected the issues of capitalism, imperialism, and apartheid in Palestine.
After filling the streets with chants of “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go,” and “Viva viva Palestina,” there was a celebration of Palestinian culture with Dabke dancing outside the Federal Building