In Washington, D.C., on May 29, thousands of people rallied and marched in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid, calling on the U.S. government to end its financial and diplomatic support for Israel, which shields it from international accountability for its crimes.
A nor’easter storm brought unseasonably cold and rainy weather to the region, but that couldn’t keep well over 35,000 people from coming to D.C. from all across the country and rallying at the Lincoln Memorial. The demonstration was called by some of the nation’s largest Muslim groups, including American Muslims for Palestine, the Muslim American Society, Muslim Umma of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but included a vast alliance of Palestinian and solidarity groups, including the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).
The protest came just days after a ceasefire ended Israel’s inhumane bombardment of Gaza, which has killed more than 200 people, 65 of whom were children. Many protesters carried signs of the New York Times cover story from May 26, which included photos of every child slaughtered during the 11-day war. They chanted “Sheikh Jarrah, don’t you cry, Palestine will never die,” “Not another nickel, not another dime – no more money for Israel’s crimes,” and in Arabic, “With our soul and blood, we redeem you, Al-Aqsa.”
After rallies and speeches in which speakers pledged to stand with Palestine to the last ounce of their strength, the protesters took to the streets, marching down Constitution Avenue to the Ellipse park in front of the White House, carrying their demands to Joe Biden’s front door.
This rally was the fifth mass protest for Palestine in the U.S. capital city in a month, signaling a major shift in the attitude of many people in the U.S. A recent poll shows that fewer people in the United States are siding with Israel or endorsing U.S. support for Israel than ever before. Moreover, support among young U.S. evangelicals, who form the core of the U.S. Christian Zionist movement, has declined sharply since 2018, from 75% to just 33% this month, with nearly half now favoring establishment of a Palestinian state.
Now is the time to press the Biden administration to end U.S. support for Israel. Washington provides the nuclear-armed apartheid state with $3.8 billion per year, with another $8 billion in loan guarantees. Israel uses these funds to buy advanced weaponry, like U.S. strike aircraft and laser-guided bombs, which it uses to attack Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria with near impunity. The U.S. also protects Israel from investigation of its war crimes by the International Criminal Court and from criticism by the United Nations.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!