New York protest says: Long live Gaza!

SLL photo by Stephen Millies

Over 300 people rallied in New York City’s Times Square on March 29 to support the Palestinian people of Gaza. The demonstration marked the first anniversary of the weekly marches there demanding Palestinians’ right to return home.

Palestinian people were kicked out of their homes by European Zionist occupiers in 1948. Many of the refugees were forced to go to Gaza, where two million of them now live in the world’s biggest jail. Gaza ghetto is the new version of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The mass marches up to the border with Israel have been met with murder. As of March 29, Israeli snipers had killed 252 people, including 50 children. On March 30, they killed another four people protesting at the border fence in Gaza.

Besides those killed, thousands have been severely wounded, including those who’ve had limbs amputated. A favorite target of Israeli snipers is Palestinian medical workers.

March 30 is also the Day of the Land throughout Palestine, commemorating the 1976 massacre of six Palestinians in Israeli-ruled Galilee for protesting land seizures by the Israeli state.   

At the front of the rally was a banner with pictures of those who have been martyred. The chant, “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea!” echoed around Times Square.

Within Our Lifetime, a dynamic group of Palestinian activists, organized the rally. WOL chair Nerdeen Kiswani emceed the rally.  Besides Palestinian speakers, people from many different struggles came to voice their solidarity.

A speaker from BAYAN spoke about the Filipino dictator Rodrigo Duterte visiting Israel to get military aid to suppress the people of the Philippines.

Roger Wareham from the December 12th Movement pointed out that his organization was founded on Dec. 12, 1987, the same day that the first Palestinan intifada began. Thousands of Black people protesting racism shut down subways and bridges in New York City on that date.

Longtime activist Bill Dores spoke about how the Zionist state’s violence against Palestinian people is bankrolled by U.S. imperialism. At least $140 billion has been lavished on Israel by the U.S.

Paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous words about how the bombs dropped on Vietnam also fell on Harlem, Dores said that the U.S.-made bombs dropped by Israel on Gaza also fall on poor communities in the U.S. Israel is bankrolled while Black children get lead poisoning from the water in Flint, Mich.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss from American Jews Against Zionism spoke in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against the racist Zionist state. The multinational crowd included Jewish supporters of Palestine. Michael Letwin from Jews for Palestinian Right of Return also spoke.

Other speakers included representatives of Black for Palestine, Raphael Ezra from New York Boricua Resistance and Sayel Kayed from American Muslims for Palestine.  

After the rally, people marched back to the People’s Forum for a program that featured the journalist Rana Shubair, speaking from inside Gaza.  

Raja Abdulhaq, executive director of the Majlis Al Shura, the Islamic Leadership Council of New York, declared that Gaza is the epitome of the anti-imperialist struggle. The people of Gaza are struggling for poor people everywhere.

Palestine will be free!