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Report on Today's NYC Protest Against Isreal's Slaughter in Gaza

Posted by libhom Saturday, January 03, 2009

shot of enormous Palestinian flag and part of the crowd at the protest
Palestine Will Never Die

This was the most popular chant during today's protest in Manhattan against Israel's massive slaughter in Gaza. Given that Israel has been engaging in a decades long campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, this is especially appropriate.

One of the many encouraging things about today's protest is that there were so many people of non-Middle Eastern ancestry in attendance. Don't get me wrong. People of Middle Eastern decent have every right to publicly protest and plenty of reason to be outraged by what Israel is doing. What has been so fucked up in this country is that so few other Americans have been outraged at what Israel has been doing.

sign saying, another New York Jew against Israeli apartheid

This sign was especially comforting to me. There is a tendency of so many people to assume that all Jewish people are Arab haters who blindly support the Israeli government's appalling policies. That just isn't true. There was a visible presence of Jews at the protest who vocally participated in it.

Despite the stereotype that all Arabs, Middle Easterners, and American opponents of Israel are motivated by some kind of hatred of Jews, the Jewish participants were entirely welcome. I remember seeing one Middle Eastern woman thank the woman holding the sign I like so much. Seeing people at their best is so refreshing when compared to seeing politicians who are almost always at their very worst.

The NYPD was engaging in some unethical behavior I had seen from them before. They harassed and dispersed people taking photos of the protests. I'd seen this before at a Wall St. bailout protest. They make photographers leave the prime spots for taking pictures on the pretext that they are supposedly blocking sidewalks, even though the photographers (professional and amateur) are not blocking peoples' ability to use the sidewalks.

The NYPD always has been corrupt and rightist. Now, with a rightist nutjob like Michael Bloomberg in the mayor's office, attacks on civil liberties of protesters and efforts to prevent any documentation of what they do are standard procedure. Remember the massive number of illegal arrests during the 2004 Republican National Convention?

The people running the rally made two beginners' mistakes in how they did things.

1) When the weather is bad (in this case frigid cold), speakers should cut the lengths of their speeches way, way down.

2) The volume on the PA system was turned much higher than the speakers could handle. This hurt peoples' ears while making it difficult for people to understand what was said during the really long speeches.

I hope Israel's latest round of intense brutality against Gaza ends before this set of protest leaders gets a chance to work all the bugs out. I hope they get protest organizing experience under better circumstances.

Of course, there also was a small contingent of racist counter protesters. I guess even they are important in reminding people that there really is no refuge from bigotry and cruelty in the world, at least for now.

shot of racist counter protesters from a distance

 

3 comments

  1. Lew Scannon Says:
  2. Can't have the holiday tourists seeing people marching against Israel now, can we? All America should take to the street and protest our taxes being used for genocide, but then they didn't do that with Iraq, why should they do it with Gaza?
    Interesting note that given a choice between Arabs (some of who are Christian) and Jews, the racist fascist side with the Jews.

     
  3. Riverwolf, Says:
  4. It's encouraging to see these protests taking place and hearing of some folks speaking out. I hope it changes a few minds at least.

     
  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. your info is very accurate. as a fellow liberal i hate saying this but if you drop the liberal language you will appeal to moderates (who make up 75% of the country). this will make your point more credible in the day of corporate brainwashing news coverage and a bad connotation on the tag "liberal". ps thank you for your efforts!!!!!!

     

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