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Mass protests erupt in US against Israel war crimes

Global protests against the US-Israel war against the Palestinian people intensified Wednesday following the Tuesday bombing of the Al-Alhi Arab Hospital, in Gaza City, by the Israeli military. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 471 people were killed in the explosion and 314 others were injured. At least 28 people remain in critical condition.

While the US, Israel, and their stenographers in the Western press seek to stampede public opinion into supporting the ongoing genocide against the people of Gaza, millions of people have taken to city streets, capital buildings and embassies to demand an end to the slaughter.

In Washington D.C., daily peaceful protests have resulted in nearly 400 arrests in the last 72 hours. On October 16, approximately 1,000 demonstrators organized by two Jewish American groups, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and IfNotNow, demonstrated near the White House in protest of the Biden administration’s continued support for Israel. Jewish and other anti-war protesters congregated at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW where they sang songs calling on President Biden to issue a ceasefire.

According to a US Secret Service spokesman, 49 people were arrested when protesters blocked the presidential entrance at the corner of 17th Street and New York Avenue—33 people on suspicion of unlawful entry and another 16 for allegedly incommoding.

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“Led by American Jews connected with IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, today’s action represents a growing wave of Jewish, progressive, and youth leaders calling on President Biden to de-escalate the conflict, restrain Israeli aggression, and ensure the safe return of Israeli civilian hostages,” IfNotNow said in a statement to Newsweek.

On Wednesday, IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace organized thousands more protesters who peacefully demonstrated outside the Cannon Office Building on Capitol Hill. According to JVP, 350 protesters, including two dozen rabbis, participated in the sit-in of the building, which lasted for over four hours, while thousands more protested outside.

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Protesters filled the building with deafening chants of “Ceasefire now!” and “Not in our name!”

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A US Capitol Police spokesperson told NBC News Wednesday evening that “close to 300” people were in police custody. According to the police, every single protester went through security checkpoints before peacefully entering the building. While the building is open to the public, protests or demonstrations are not allowed inside the building.

“We warned protesters to stop demonstrating and when they did not comply we began arresting them,” US Capitol Police said in a statement posted to Twitter/(X).

Over 1,000 protest in Dearborn, Michigan: “I am against antisemitism. I am against Zionism.”

On Wednesday evening in Dearborn, Michigan over 1,000 people attended a protest against the Israeli bombing of the hospital in Palestine. Another 400 people attended a protest in the northern suburb of West Bloomfield. The Candlelight March for Victims of the Gaza Genocide included speakers from the New Generation for Palestine, the city council of Dearborn Heights, and the Arab-American News

The speakers in Dearborn all mentioned the children killed in the hospital bombing, as well as Wadea Al-Fayoume in Chicago, who was brutally attacked alongside his mother. The speakers condemned US funding of the massacre of Palestinians, and called out Biden as a war criminal.

Multiple attendees at the Dearborn rally spoke at length with WSWS reporters. One woman, who did not wish to be identified, explained, “Israel is one committing the terrorism, not the Palestinians.”

“Jews used to live in [Palestine] in peace,” she added. “It’s Holy Land that used to be Jews, Christians, Muslims ... We want it to go back to being a peaceful place for all these religions. That’s what we want, no more Zionism.”

"We want Palestine to be a peaceful place. No more Zionism." Dearborn, Michigan, October 18, 2023.

Two young people who met in high school, one of whom was Palestinian, told WSWS reporters, “This is the first time I’m involved. I felt I had to because the culture is mostly silent. Now people have to stand up.”

While he does not support Hamas, the youth said, “They are striking back because Palestine has been stricken so many times.” When asked what he thought of Biden’s financing of the genocide in Gaza, he said, “I’m very disappointed. I voted for him because he was the lesser of two evils. I’m done. There are Arabs who hate Jewish people, but I am against antisemitism. I am against Zionism.

“I came here to support Palestinians with my blood. Everyone knows who is responsible… behind this is the US government.

“They are against humanity. Children have the right to live, not die for money. That money used for killing should be used for us in America. We want justice and peace. We are not calling for killing. We want it to stop. There are a lot of Jewish that are against Netanyahu. We know they are good and Netanyahu is bad. A lot of people are with us against this war and hate.”

Another attendee, a high school student, said, “I came here because I didn’t know much about the war. Now I know and am trying to learn more about what is happening. No more parents or children should be killed, no more orphans.”

Tiffany told the WSWS it was important to come to the rally in order to for everyone to “stand together against this genocide.”

“I have friends who are Palestinian, and who have family in Gaza,” Tiffany added, “and even if I didn’t it would still be important to show solidarity.”

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A worker from Dearborn said, “We are against all the killing of the Palestinians. We want Israel to get out of Gaza. Stop killing all of the people. We want the Biden administration to stop supporting Israel.”

In response to Biden shaking hands with Netanyahu and cynically calling the bombing a tragedy, the worker said, “It should be a sad thing for Palestinians. We’re the ones getting killed. People there are getting killed! Not the Israelis. Palestinians are getting massacred because of all of the bombs, the American bombs! We’re here to march against it. We do not want the Biden administration to support that. And we are going to continue doing that. It’s a crime against humanity and we should all be marching together. We are the people of love. Show the world truth is with us, not them. Why are you killing the kids? That is a shame!”

In response to US/NATO preparation for war, another worker explained, “They are trying to get more land, they want to take over all of Palestine. We are not going to let that happen. We are going to stay against this. We want everyone to march with us and support Palestine. The whole community is mad at Joe Biden.

“It’s a double standard. What is the difference between Palestinian and Ukrainian kids? We are all human beings. We are against killing innocent people.”

Mohammed said he came to the protest because “First and foremost, I am a human being and that is sufficient enough to make a stance of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine who are undergoing severe, punishing conditions that no human being should experience.

“We can’t stand idly by and let this happen, 75 years is long enough.”

"75 years is long enough. It's very obvious this can be solved." - Dearborn, Michigan, October 18, 2023

“The world is with them and the world is watching”: Thousands protest in Chicago Wednesday to demand an end to Israel’s war on Gaza

Thousands flooded the streets of downtown Chicago late Wednesday afternoon into the evening demanding an end to the genocidal war against Palestinians being prosecuted by Israel with the support of the Biden administration.

The protest was driven by popular outrage over the Israel military’s bombing of the Al-Alhi Arab Hospital in Gaza City Tuesday, as well as the brutal murder of six-year-old Wadea al-Fayoume, a Palestinian-American, in the Chicago suburbs Saturday.

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The demonstration was attended by broad sections of the population, including people of many different races, immigrant and native-born, children and the elderly. Workers attending the rally held aloft signs such as “Nurses for Palestine” and “Teachers for Palestine.”

A section of the demonstration in Chicago in support of Palestinians on October 18.

Reporters for the WSWS distributed hundreds of copies of the statement Global outrage erupts over Israeli bombing of Gaza hospital and spoke with attendees about why they were there.

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Hundreds march in downtown Las Vegas: “I think we’re no longer being shy about calling it genocide.”

On Tuesday night, over 500 people of all races and ethnicities held a rally and march in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada demanding an end to the Israeli genocide and freedom for the Palestinian people. While people of all ages attended, there were many young people, with a large percentage of the protesters wearing masks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and avoid state surveillance.

Hundreds of anti-war and pro-Palestinian protesters in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 17, 2023.

In addition to hundreds of flags and keffiyeh scarves, protesters brought homemade signs denouncing the US role in the ongoing massacre and refuting lies proffered by the US and its Zionist stooge to justify the slaughter.

“The US lied about Iraq. The US lied about Syria. The US lied about Afghanistan. The US and Israel are lying about Gaza. No babies were beheaded and no women were raped. They want to justify the Genocide,” read one sign. “End US aid to Israel” and “Your tax $$$ funds apartheid” read others.

Hundreds of anti-war and pro-Palestinian protesters march down popular tourist destination Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 17, 2023.

A much smaller contingent—numbering less than 150—Zionists and fascists counter-protested with chants of “IDF! IDF! IDF!” and “USA! USA! USA!”

A smattering of pro-Israel/US protesters, protected by the police.

While the rally was promoted by the Democratic Socialists of America, no prominent DSA members or Democratic Party politicians deigned to come to the rally to show their support or oppose war crimes.

Refuting bogus claims of a “socialist takeover” of the Nevada Democratic Party two years ago by DSA-friendly press, every single major Democratic elected official in Nevada has fully backed President Biden and the Zionist state of Israel in their present ethnic cleansing campaign.

Last week, Democratic Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto joined 12 other senators in penning a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding the State Department freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets that the US had previously stolen.

The senators’ letter, which was also signed by so-called “progressives” Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Republicans Joni Erst (Iowa) and Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Krysten Sinema (Arizona), also called on Blinken to work with the bipartisan group of senators in support of Israel.

“We look forward to working with you to assist Israel in its time of need and ensure it has the resources and tools need to defend itself against Iranian-sponsored terrorism,” they wrote.

While capitalist politicians are champing at the bit to provide Israel with all the money it needs to exterminate the Palestinians, Jacob, a protester at the rally, told WSWS reporters, “It’s upsetting for, you know, progressives, because a lot of people look to [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and others as progressives, and it’s not always the case. Especially when we’re backing up ... It’s a genocide. Palestinians are not allowed to move. Legally, they’re a part of Israel. It’s a region in Israel. But we allow this genocide of this marginalized group of Palestinians because they’ve had to hold over from the Holocaust and justifications on that.”

“If ‘progressives’ are there for the oppressed people,” Jacob added, “we have to be there for Palestine.

“[Israel] is bombing the escape routes as well. Intentional or not, I believe it was 70 people that died, 70 people. I think it’s a war crime.

Jacob, a Las Vegas resident.

“I think in the past we’ve been shy about calling it genocide and I think we’re no longer being shy about calling it genocide. Palestinians are not able to move around in what is often cited as the world’s most peaceful country, when in reality Palestinians live in the world’s largest open-air prison.”

Asked what he thought about a joint strike between teachers, students and hotel workers in Clark County (Las Vegas) to demand an end to the war, Jacob responded, “We are divided into our own little struggles so we’re not united together to fight this system that is oppressing all of us. When it comes to, are you talking about a general strike? Well, I think that would be a good start. That would be a fantastic start ... Something that has to be planned for, obviously. Yeah, that’s a huge part of the struggle. Everybody’s struggling with making rent, getting groceries, getting medications. Yes, a general strike would be fantastic.”

Thousands in San Diego, California protest Israeli genocide: “From Mexico to Palestine these walls got to go”

On Sunday, some 5,000 people held a powerful demonstration at the County Administration building in San Diego, California. The role of militarized borders was not lost on the rally where signs called for an end to walls “From Mexico to Palestine.”

A protest in defense of Palestine held in San Diego, California, October 15, 2023. One sign reads: “From Mexico to Palestine these walls got to go!!!”

The mainstream media has attempted to downplay the size of Sunday’s rally, with outlets such as the San Diego Union Tribune claiming only 500 attended. In reality, closer to 5,000 demonstrated.

A protester at the rally, Cindy, told WSWS reporters, “Our political leaders are putting different statements out that don’t align with my views with what I would like to happen. We’ve already been giving Israel billions of dollars for decades ... So I just wanted to come out with people who felt the same way. Even though my representatives and my senators aren’t taking my calls, or if it’s not enough, at least they’ll see the protests.

“The role of the media is very one-sided. They quickly started going with the narrative, like, they’re terrorists, that they are this and that, but it’s like, once I started hearing that term thrown around, it’s like, are we not going to talk about the last 75 years? Are we not going to hear about the past 15 years? It’s very biased.

“And then after that, you started hearing these claims of like, babies being decapitated, but there was no information. All of a sudden, even new, major news outlets right now are having to backtrack what they said, because they are now realizing it was not true. But now some already have this perception that they’re savages and terrorists and especially knowing how the US was shortly after 9/11.”

Ashley spoke to the importance of social media in breaking through the propaganda and one-sided narrative of Washington:

“What helped me to understand is that we are seeing a lot of people in Palestine show what is actually happening through TikTok. ... you see the innocent people, they are suffering and they are actually sharing their real stories. That is how I learned about what was happening.”

Cindy added, “I’ve had the privilege of having really great professors when I went to San Diego State, a few of them being of Jewish heritage, and they would always make their position known. Most of them did not support the State of Israel because they were well-informed.

Mass protest in support of Palestine held in San Diego, October 15, 2023.

“I’m here to protest against the actions of the state of Israel. I understand that it’s not a reflection of all the people there, I’m sure that they are also not wanting to see people be displaced or murdered. And there were actually a few testimonies, I saw men and women that had lost their families. And they said, ‘I don’t want their death to be used to further harm others.’

“I think that’s really important and knowing that, you do not have to be an expert, but as long as you are willing to learn and reach out for verified information or people who are on the ground, that is gonna do a lot more than either being silent, or just kind of going with the narrative that you see on TV.”

Thousands march in Austin, Texas: “Netanyahu you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!”

On Sunday, October 15, over a thousand people marched from the Texas state capitol building through the streets of Austin to protest Israel’s criminal war against Gaza. At the same time thousands marched through Dallas and Houston.

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The protest began with a rally at the gate to the state Capitol building before participants marched down Congress Avenue. Well over a thousand people could be heard chanting “Netanyahu you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” and “from Palestine to Mexico, all the border walls must go.” Masking was encouraged and KN-95s provided by the organizers. The rally demanded an immediate end to funding and arms shipments to Israel.

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One protester carried a sign with Joe Biden’s face photo-shopped over a photograph of Colin Powell wagging his infamous vial of anthrax before the UN while claiming that Iraq had obtained weapons of mass destruction, drawing a parallel between the lies used to justify the sociocide of Iraq and the now-debunked claims of Hamas decapitating babies.

The international character of the event was evident; participants were drawn from every racial, ethnic, and religious background. A member of a Filipino student group denounced US militarism and its support for the Marcos dictatorship in its former colony, emphasizing the hypocrisy of Israel’s claims of “self-defense.”

Thousands of protesters in Austin, Texas October 15, 2023.

The protest was staged against the backdrop of ongoing repression and intimidation of those who have spoken out against the genocide of the Palestinians. Three days before the protest, in an event largely unreported in the media, a group of three middle-aged men walked onto the University of Texas campus and attempted to disrupt a meeting hosted by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee of Austin.

The men harassed the student organizers while trying to enter the room. Students claim the men threw flyers at their faces and called them terrorists. One of the men shouted, “next week I’m in Israel, killing Arabs, motherf***ers.”

As of this writing, the University of Texas administration has not taken any action to address the incident. In contrast, earlier in the week, the administration had sent out an email promising to “protect Jewish students against hate,” while saying nothing about the safety of Palestinian students.

When the march circled back around to the steps at the gate of the Capitol building, one member of the crowd started a chant of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

Protesters gather in front of the capital in Austin, Texas, October 15, 2023.

The organizers, however, informed him and the rest of the crowd that the event was over. As with the multi-racial protests against violence and murder by the police in 2020 and 2021, there exists a burning desire within the working class and youth to see the fight for the democratic rights of Palestinians through to the end. But the great danger is that, without a revolutionary and international leadership, that is a socialist one, this opposition will be redirected back into the dead end of racialist politics and ultimately the Democratic Party, as were the protests against police violence.

Protests against US-Backed Gaza genocide continue in New York City

Thousands of workers and youth gathered in Queens, New York City, Wednesday evening to protest the unfolding genocide in Gaza, hours after US President Joe Biden concluded discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indicating full US backing for a ground invasion. Earlier that day, hundreds of students, faculty and staff joined a protest at the Graduate Student Center of the City College of New York (CUNY) in Manhattan.

The day before, on Tuesday, hundreds of New York University students and employees demonstrated in Washington Square Park against the US-backed genocide. All protests were accompanied by a very heavy presence of the New York City Police Department, which is known to maintain close ties to the Israeli military and police.

At the protest in Queens on Wednesday, the World Socialist Web Site spoke to a group of medical workers from the borough. One of them said, “Genocide is happening right now and we see people coming together in the spaces they can—social media, the streets, DC. It just feels like everybody is going to be rallying to save Palestinians and stop what’s happening in Gaza, the escalation toward a ground invasion, calling for a ceasefire and Palestine’s right to be.”

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Hundreds march in Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: “This has nothing to do with antisemitism, and it has everything to do with us wanting our freedoms.”

About 500 people marched and rallied in downtown Cleveland this past Friday afternoon against the Israeli bombing of Gaza. Marchers carried signs that read “Free Palestine,” while characterizing Israel as an apartheid state carrying out genocide.

Many drew a connection between what the Nazis did to the Jews who resisted their transfer to the concentration camps and the current collective punishment being conducted by Israel with US support against the 2 million residents of Gaza.

Sobhy told WSWS reporters she came to the rally “to show that Cleveland stands with Palestine.”

Sobhy rejected claims by Zionists and their mouthpieces that support for Palestinian democratic rights was antisemitic, saying, “This has been going on since 1948. ... This has nothing to do with antisemitism, and everything to do with us wanting our freedoms. There is no food, no oil, no nothing. And now [the Israeli government] are ordering a million people to evacuate so that they can basically carpet bomb us. It is basically genocide. That is what this is.

“I have hundreds of clients that are Jewish and I treat them like they are Muslim. We do not have anything against Jews. We do have something against Zionists, but not all Jews are Zionists. That is the difference—we do not have anything against Jews. We have lived with Jews our entire lives, our neighbors are Jews and we treat them like we would treat our Muslim brothers. We are all brothers at the end of the day. We just do not agree with what they are doing to us—there are plenty of Jews that are against Zionism as well.”

Asked to comment on the outrageous lies and slanders being spread on major news networks and by heads of state against Palestinians, Sobhy replied, “They are spreading this false propaganda that makes us seem like we are the bad people when we are really just fighting for our lives, and now Israel is actually feeling what we have been feeling for the last 50 years.”

In a protest held this past Friday in Pittsburgh, about 300 students from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and other nearby schools marched to oppose the assault being conducted in Gaza and to demand that Israel lift the blockade.

“Gaza is just a tiny strip of land,” said one student who did not want to give his name for fear of retaliation. “Two million people live pinned up against the sea, there is no way for them to escape. The border with Egypt is closed.

“Every day, Israeli planes are dropping bombs on them and they have no water or electricity. This is collective punishment. The Israelis say that it is wrong to take hostages, but these 2 million people have been kept prisoners for decades and not allowed to live on their own land.

“We are not against the Jews. It is horrible what the Nazis did to them, but that doesn’t make it right for them to do the same to us.”

Thousands attend vigil for Wadea al-Fayoume in Plainfield, Illinois

Around 2,000 people crowded into the gym and all around the parking lot of the Prairie Activity and Recreation Center in Plainfield on Tuesday to recognize the life and death of Wadea al-Fayoume. Fayoume was a Palestinian-American six-year-old murdered last Saturday by his 71-year old landlord in a vicious hate crime. Wadea’s mother, Hanaan Shahin, was also grievously injured in the attack. Hundreds attended the boy’s funeral on Monday, and many, many more were present at the vigil the next day.

The White House, Justice Department and leading Illinois Democrats have stepped in to attempt to control the narrative and obscure their party’s role in the murder, as the Biden administration intensifies its support for the genocidal war on Gaza. Earlier that same day, Israel Defense Forces struck a hospital. A Netanyahu government spokesperson initially took credit for the bombing, claiming it was a Hamas cell location, before deleting his post on X/Twitter.

As the horrific civilian casualties became evident, the official media and government narrative shifted to claim a Palestinian group had struck the hospital.

The siege that began in retaliation against the October 7 Gaza uprising has set off protests internationally, with millions demonstrating in recent days, including hundreds of American Jews who traveled to Washington, D.C. to demand an immediate ceasefire.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appeared at the boy’s funeral yesterday, and the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are reportedly investigating the attack, emphasizing the influence of right-wing talk radio on the perpetrator.

Everything was done to attempt to silence opposition to the war and obscure what really happened to Wadea. Vigil organizers attempted to limit the views that could be expressed, warning at the beginning of the presentations, “If your feelings get too big, take a break, go outside.”

A representative from the White House was introduced, Dilawar Syed, the deputy administrator for the US Small Business Administration, as a prominent Muslim appointee of Biden. He said, “Pres. Biden has been clear, there is no room for hate.”

At this, the crowd could contain its disgust no longer. Loud boos erupted and shouts of “Your president has blood on his hands!” and “What about the fake news?”

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