Palestinian youth lead powerful Nakba Day actions in New Orleans

SLL photos: Gregory E. Williams

Local organizers with the Palestinian Youth Movement led a Nakba Day week of actions in New Orleans, from the May 16 ceasefire rally outside City Hall to the May 18 “All Out for Nakba” rally, march, and die-in starting in Jackson Square. In this latter action, several hundred people marched.

The young Palestinian activists – including young women – demonstrated a remarkable ability to direct the crowd through the busy French Quarter without ever letting the energy dip. The New Orleans area has some 10,000 Palestinian community members; they have reason to be proud of these young leaders.

Popular chants included, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!” and “There is only one solution, Intifada, revolution!”

Support for Israel is about profits

Various contingents were prominent during the march. One grouping wore Queers for Palestine t-shirts. Another carried a banner that read, “No to SRC21 – no support for Israel.”

SRC21 is a bill that passed the Louisiana Senate on April 22, pledging congressional support for genocidal Israel. The bill was sponsored by far-right Sen. Valarie Hodges, who — together with her husband — operates a real estate company, Northstar Properties and Homes, and a missionary organization that oversees evangelical churches in Mexico and Nicaragua. (She’s also known for demanding that the Department of Health approve Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.) This bill passed in the Senate only 11 days after the House struck down a measure to raise Louisiana’s $7.25/hour minimum wage. 

Louisiana’s corrupt politicians have many reasons for supporting Israel (just as they have reasons for denying workers fair pay), none of which have anything to do with protecting Jewish people. Just last year, the Port of New Orleans entrenched its relationship with Israel’s Port of Ashdod in Tel Aviv with the so-called “Innovation Embassy.” That’s just one example. Support for Israel is about profits. 

‘Defense’ companies making a killing by killing

At the May 18 march, members of the Workers Voice Socialist Movement of New Orleans distributed a newsletter with some telling figures about the war industry (deceptively called the “defense” industry). 

“Stocks of the biggest weapons manufacturers have increased by as much as 27% since Israel began bombing Gaza in October. Raytheon stock is up 18%, Lockheed Martin +12%, and General Dynamics +14%. RTX (Raytheon) alone reported $74.3 billion in sales last year, with profits soaring after Israel began bombing Gaza. Most U.S. lawmakers are invested in these stocks.”

Louisiana and Israeli police train together

This same Workers Voice newsletter exposes connections between Louisiana’s police departments and Israel.

“Like many other police agencies across the U.S., Louisiana State troopers jointly train with terrorist Israeli forces such as the Israel National Police, the Ministry of Internal Security, and the Israel Security Agency. Louisiana State Police (LSP) has a long record of brutality, especially against Black people. The horrific video of the 2019 murder of Ronald Greene by state troopers displays the same techniques of violence inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli forces.

“Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry has ordered a special deployment of state troopers to New Orleans. LSP is immune from the federal oversight currently applied to NOPD, and LSP will coordinate with ICE to attack New Orleans’ immigrant communities.

“On Feb. 9, the arch-racist Landry announced half-jokingly that he would like to annex New Orleans into Gretna. Gretna is known as the ‘arrest capital’ of the U.S., where as many as 1 in 3 residents are arrested yearly. Landry plans to raise money from fines and fees while exempting corporations and the rich from paying taxes on their wealth or income. Landry wants Louisiana to be like fascist Israel, where the rich live in luxury while native Palestinians live behind barbed wire fences and checkpoints.”

We say no to Landry and no to Netanyahu! From Palestine to New Orleans, stop the U.S. war machine! 

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