Last Tuesday, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, myself and a handful of other Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago attempted to deliver a giant heart-shaped petition to Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago which called for an end to US aid to Israel.
Our valentine petition to the president was refused, as the above video shows (though our attempt was observed by Obama’s campaign staff).
We felt the love however in the streets of downtown Chicago, where we passed out hundreds of valentine hearts that we cut out of colorful construction paper. Information about Israel’s apartheid policies was pasted on each heart.
“Have a heart! Don’t let Israeli apartheid keep us apart,” each valentine read, with varying messages that included statistics about Palestinian political prisoners; Israel’s racist laws forbidding the spouses of Palestinian citizens from gaining residency rights; and Israel’s matrix of movement restrictions.
Lots of passersby signed our giant heart petition and the prop was a great way to engage with people and talk to them about why we should call on the US government to sanction Israel. Despite the cold February temperature, many also signed a paper petition calling for an end to US aid to Israel.
Our giant valentine heart also directed people to loveunderapartheid.com, a project launched around Valentine’s Day that highlights the stories of Palestinians who have been separated from their loved ones because of Israel’s apartheid policies.