Protests at Biden gala in L.A. amid Gaza genocide

Los Angeles protest against Genocide Joe Biden, Dec. 8. SLL photo: Maggie Vascassenno

Dec. 14 — Genocide Joe Biden flew into Los Angeles under heavy guard on Dec. 8. Well over a thousand protestors let him know that he wasn’t welcome in L.A. or anyplace else. The demonstration was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, which has a strong following at nearby UCLA, and was supported by numerous other anti-war and progressive organizations.

Biden and his entourage had come to cash in at six fundraising stops over the weekend. His reelection campaign crew hoped that bolstering their war chest would make up for his ever-sinking poll numbers. 

Indeed, donors from the glitzy side of town threw in $15 million during the weekend – more than any amount raised by a candidate from an L.A. visit. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the multi-millionaire co-founder of Hollywood Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation, pulled together the star-studded event. Katzenberg is a co-chair of Biden’s reelection campaign, a position awarded to him for his long history of channeling millions of Hollywood dollars to the Democratic Party. 

But the warmonger-in-chief needs far more than money to overcome growing anger over his escalating support for Zionist genocide in Gaza. The protest was a great reflection of the growing worldwide movement.

Hundreds had gathered in a park near the posh, Beverly Hills-adjacent Holmby Hills site of his event by 3:30. Later, the growing crowd marched right to the gate of the mansion where Genocide Joe spoke, with their sound system booming the chants, hoping the murderer-in-chief could hear the message, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” 

Speakers denounced the horrible ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the widespread murder of Gazans being carried out with total support from the administration. Palestinian flags and Keffiyehs – the traditional scarf that has come to symbolize the Palestinian liberation struggle – were everywhere.

The Los Angeles police, numbered in the hundreds, were clad in riot gear. They declared an “unlawful assembly” and issued a dispersal order. When the protest finally concluded, many marched south and blocked traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, one of the busiest traffic corridors in the U.S.

Later, Chief Michael Moore accused the crowd of violence, and L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón told the media he had activated the Hate Crime Unit to investigate claims that protesters threw debris at police and spraypainted pro-Palestinian slogans on Starbucks stores and other locations as they left the protest. 

Los Angeles is a city adorned by beautiful murals that express the struggle of the largely immigrant population. Even if the claims of vandalism were true, no graffiti artists would disagree with pro-Palestine messages being added to the anti-racist and anti-imperialist character of the collection.

The most recent count of the Biden/Netanyahu horror puts the death toll in Gaza at 17,000. Two-thirds are women and children. Just as they have done since the beginning of the war, the occupation forces are currently carpet-bombing the very place they told people would be a safe area. The bombing has targeted nearly all hospitals and schools throughout Gaza. The entire population is without adequate food and water; there is nowhere left to flee, and humanitarian assistance is being blocked. 

John Parker of the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice in L.A., and a candidate for U.S. Congress on the Peace and Freedom Party slate, was part of the Convoy of Conscience, organized by Egyptian journalists trying to enter Gaza with aid but who were blocked from entering and detained by the Egyptian authorities.

Reports of Israel using white phosphorus in Gaza have surfaced in the major media this week. When questioned about it while aboard Air Force One, White House spokesperson John Kirby — without denying it has been provided by the U.S. — said, “White phosphorus has a legitimate military utility for illumination and producing smoke to conceal movements. … Obviously any time that we provide items like white phosphorous to another military, it is with the full expectation that it will be used in keeping with those legitimate purposes … and in keeping with the law of armed conflict.” 

Former State Dept. official Josh Paul, who had resigned over the increased shipments of U.S. weapons when Israel began its assault in October, reported to Democracy Now, on Dec. 13 that only hours after the U.S. vetoed a ceasefire resolution at the United Nations, Biden bypassed congress to send 14,000 more artillery shells to the racist Zionist army at a cost of $106 million.

With all the threats by LAPD and the District Attorney, there were no arrests in L.A. on Dec. 9. It’s likely the cops had a more-or-less “hands-off” orientation from on high. Of course, there is plenty of repression and slander of ceasefire protesters across the country and internationally. But clearly, the emergence of this powerful wave of protest has the administration and the whole capitalist state grappling over the question of how to tamp down the protests. Ceasefire now! Down with the Zionist state and U.S. imperialism.

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