Massive solidarity demonstrations —
Washington, San Francisco, London
An estimated 75,000 to 100,000 strong demonstration took place in Washington last Saturday in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and in anti-globalisation protests. Another 35,000 demonstrated in San Francisco. In a surprisingly objective report of the Washington march, the Washington Post reported Randa Jamal, a graduate student at New York's Columbia University as saying: "The message here is we must support the Palestinian people against a military occupation and an apartheid state". She said: "What we are going through is crimes against humanity". Demonstrators held signs that denounced Ariel Sharon and George Bush. Reflecting the twin issues of Palestine and globalisation, placards said: "Drop debt, not bombs", "No blank cheque for endless war" and "We are all Palestinians". Signs called for freedom for Palestinians and the end of US sponsorship of Israel. Mark Rickling from the Mobilisation for Global Justice which helped to organise the demonstration said in response to the overwhelming support for the Palestinian cause: "It seems more important to the safety of the world. But we're all united on the issues of oppression. I'm just floored by the amount of people here today." "We are all here because we want to do something to send a message", said Amal David a Palestinian American who came by bus from Detroit to take part. He spoke of the destruction that US-financed Israeli weapons and tanks have done to Palestinians, saying: "My beloved country is financing such death and destruction. I am so ashamed." US Jews who oppose the occupation also took part in the demonstration. Rabbi Yisroel Weiss said that "The Palestinians in the crowd look at us mistrustfully at first, but then they speak a few words with us and they show us respect and friendship". He told the Washington Post that he had come to Washington with several dozen Orthodox rabbis to join the march. A report by Indymedia quoted Larry Holmes from the International Action Centre saying, "Yesterday the US threatened to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into the Jenin massacre. The US finally forced the removal of the world 'investigation' from the resolution. This is one more example of how Sharon's war against the Palestinian people is backed and protected by George Bush". "The US is afraid the truth will come out", said Carol Messineo a spokesperson of the Partnership for Civil Justice. "And they're afraid of the kind of milutinational solidarity shown for the Palestinian people by the people of the United States today in massive numbers." Of the San Francisco march Richard Becker of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition (ANSWER) said: "Today's marches and rallies are the largest ever in this country in support of the Palestinian people." In London On the previous Saturday in London an estimated 50,000 people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in a huge protest against the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli Government in the West Bank. It took more than two hours to arrive at Trafalgar Square. Protestors carried thousands of Palestinian flags and placards condemning the Israeli occupation as "the new apartheid" and called Ariel Sharon "the new Hitler". Contrasting with the deathly silence of Labor Party members in Australia, a number of British Labour MPs voiced their strong condemnation of the Israeli war. Message to Tony Blair Jeremy Corbyn said: "The message to Tony Blair is now clear — stop talking on behalf of George Bush and instead, speak on behalf of peace and justice in the Middle East." Former Labour MP Tony Benn said that the people were demonstrating against what President Bush called "a crusade" against the Muslim world. "The only reason that Bush wants peace in Palestine is so that he can start a war with Iraq", he said. Another Labour MP, George Galloway told the London rally: "The sight of the British Government belly-dancing to George Bush is turning our nation's stomach". These demonstrations are part of the continuing world-wide actions in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people and in protest against the barbarous acts committed by the Israeli army of occupation.