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New Yorkers Condemn War, Not Israel
Protest in support of Lebanese people
Ronda Hauben (netizen2)     Print Article 
Published 2006-07-30 14:14 (KST)   
"I'm from Pakistan. I'm against the killing in Lebanon. I'm not against Israel," explained a protester at a Friday afternoon demonstration at the Israeli mission to the U.N. in New York City. Several hundred people gathered that afternoon, many bringing their children who carried signs in solidarity with the people of Lebanon.

Demonstration for Lebanese people in New York City, July 28
©2006 R. Hauben
"Israel has the right to defend itself, but what it is doing in Lebanon, it's out to destroy the whole country," said another protester.

One of the people I spoke with at the rally said that she has family in Lebanon. "They are OK for now," she explained, "but they never know what is going to happen next."

The people I spoke with all stressed that they were not opposed to the American people, but to the actions of the Bush administration in supplying Israel with weapons. The destruction of Lebanese roads, bridges, food and ambulances was on the minds of a number of people. One sign a protester carried said, "Lebanon Rebuilt in 15 Years, Destroyed in 7 Days."

People at the demonstrations were in support of "an immediate cease fire." In talking with a group which included college students, I was told that they viewed, "the American media as extremely biased" against Lebanon and Palestine. They referred to the Bush claim to remodel the Middle East, to make it more democratic. One student pointed out that there had been democratic elections which resulted in victories for members of Hamas in Palestine and members of Hezbollah in Lebanon. But "we see what Bush means," she said, implying the destruction from the war.

Several others commented on the impact of the U.S. support for the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon as a policy that is, "alienating the rest of the world." A sign carried by one of the protesters said, "Bush Supplies the Bombs, Israel Drops Them."

"It's our children who have to stop the cycle of violence," commented a student, "It's too late for us to stop it." "Children not yet born are getting killed," commented another student. The sentiment among those I spoke with was that the problem wasn't the people of Israel or the U.S. who wanted peace, but rather the U.S. and Israeli governments.

The demonstration was sponsored by several groups in the Arab community including the Arab Muslim American Federation and Al-Awda, NY, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition. It was endorsed by groups like the International Action Center and numerous mosques, churches and organizations in New York and New Jersey.

Among a number of demands of the demonstration was the demand that: "The U.S. government stop all financial support of the Israeli State"

Other similar demonstrations and rallies have been held in NYC recently, including a July 19 rally held at the same location. There are plans for future demonstrations including national demonstrations on August 12. One of the speakers at the rally proposed that if there was a need for an international peace keeping force to be stationed in the region, it should be put in Northern Israel, rather than in Southern Lebanon.

Another speaker observed that the American Jews who were his friends were not occupiers. How then could the occupation of Palestine have continued over 50 years? The answer some at the rally offered was that the neo-cons and the Christian and Jews who were Zionists had gained power in the Bush White House and that this is a serious problem for the American people, as well as for others around the world.

The group of Orthodox Jews against Zionism who joined the demonstration symbolized how there is a common demand among Jews and Muslims for peace in the Middle East.

Related Articles
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Nigerian Muslims Protest Israel Attacks
Israel Rejects UN Truce Call
Lebanon: The Human Dimension
More to Lebanon War Than Meets the Eye

Is the Israel-Hezbollah fight the beginning of a wider war?  (2006-07-27 ~ 2006-08-09)
I don't know
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ronda Hauben

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