1,500 members of the New York community, horrified at the senseless killing of Palestinians and Lebanese by the Israeli military, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan today to demand an end to the violence.
The Israeli military has killed nearly 200 Palestinians in a matter of weeks, including dozens of children. In less than two weeks in Lebanon, Israel has killed nearly 500 Lebanese and made one million more refugees in their own country. In both Palestine and Lebanon, Israel has targeted civilian infrastructure, such as power plants, roads, factories, schools, airports, and bridges.
Such attacks, which are forms of collective punishment, violate international law and human rights, as repeatedly noted by Amnesty International, the United Nations, and numerous human rights organizations.
The protesters, a culturally and politically diverse crowd from around the world, put forth their demands for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Palestine, an end to the occupation of Palestine, a release of all Palestinian and Lebanese political prisoners, and an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
The protesters began with chants at 2:30 p.m. at Cadman Plaza Park, on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, and marched to City Hall in Manhattan for a rally. Among the speakers at the rally, Lebanese-American Halla El-Ahmed read aloud the words from Beirut of a Lebanese woman named Tina Nachach. Ms. Nachach said, “The ball is in your court America, your tax money is being wasted, your tax dollars being used to destroy the Middle East. Those who are silent, the American tax payers who are silent are guilty, guilty of war crimes, guilty of killing people and destroying the infrastructure of a country.”
Author Anthony Arnove noted that people in the anti-war movement had asked in the past why we insisted on discussing Israel and Palestine. Arnove explained that it’s because the issues are connected - Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq are all part of the US project for dominating the Middle East. Professor Norman Finkelstein spoke of the injustices of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, and of US support for Israel.
Palestinian-American poet Remi Kenazi read from one of his poems, saying that “until we realize that Sudanese is Iraqi, Canadian is Mexican, American is Iranian, the sins of empire and agendas driven by rich men, not regular citizens, will continue the vision of global warming,” and global war.
The march was organized by a coalition of community organizations, which announced that they would hold further activities in the coming days. Endorsers of today’s march included: National Council of Arab-Americans - NYC, ANSWER Coalition, International Action Center, Network of Arab-American Professionals of NY-PC, the International Solidarity Movement - NYC, the New York Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, the International Socialist Organization, ADC New York Chapter, Action Wednesdays Against War, Jews Against the Occupation - NYC, WESPAC Foundation, NYC Labor Against the War.
Media Contacts: Issa Mikel - (917) 446 8032, and Riham Barghouti (917) 499-2750.