Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Millions of protesters came out around the world on Saturday, answering the call of Palestinian activists to rally against the ongoing Israeli attack on Gaza on a “Global Day of Action for Palestine.” Close to home, an estimated 400,000 demonstrated in Washington, D.C., and scattered what looked like bloodied dolls of children before the White House gate as people chanted “Genocide Joe” and “Bloody Blinken.” The rally in the capital was called for by the American Muslim Task Force for Palestine. There are roughly 4 million Muslims in the United States, about 1.2 percent of the population, though the demonstration comprised many Christians and Jews, as well.
Biden is hiding inside the White House protected by a fence, military police, and snipers on the roof while the children in besieged Gaza are left unprotected from Israel’s genocidal bombing that kills five children every hour.
That’s around 117 children murdered daily. pic.twitter.com/YLf5T4bQGD
— Melissa Garriga 💕 (@MelissaAGarriga) January 13, 2024
The crowds demanded a ceasefire and insisted that Mr. Biden force Israel into one. They also called for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
American Near East Refugee Aid said Saturday, “The death toll in Gaza is immense and difficult to estimate due to telecommunications cuts. UNOCHA reports that, as of January 11, at least 23,469 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and 59,604 injured. And some 1.9 million people, nearly 85% of Gaza’s population, are internally displaced.
Among the organizers, the Council on American Islamic Relation (CAIR), said “We thank every person who attended this historic event to call for an end to the Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza and an end to our government’s support for their atrocities. The Biden administration can no longer ignore the millions of Americans who are saying ‘enough is enough.’ It is time for the administration to listen to the people and demand an immediate ceasefire, end its support for the Israeli apartheid government, and hold Israeli officials to account for their crimes against humanity.”
Before the event began, six Palestinian-Americans from Gaza shared the catastrophes that have befallen their families. CAIR writes that, e.g., “Dr. Alaa Hussein Ali (MI) shares the story of the more than 100 members of his family who were killed in November in Israeli attacks, including the murder of his brother by sniper as he attempted to fetch water, and all of his in-laws after fleeing for safety to the south of Gaza.”
Also speaking were presidential candidates Cornel West and Jill Stein, Rep. Andre Carson, Code Pink Director Medea Benjamin, and prominent Muslim-American leaders, including Ilyasa Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X. Gaza-based Aljazeera journalist Wael Dahdouh, many of whose close family members have been killed by Israel, spoke by video.
President Biden had left the White House for Camp David.
One of the more poignant world-wide rallies was staged at the US Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, as the International Court of Justice at the Hague deliberates on the charge of genocide brought against Israel by Pretoria. There was also a big protest in Capetown. The organizers had a statement read out at the latter, according to Matthew Hirsch at Ground Up: “We are here today to be part of the global day of action that will see demonstrations planned in more than 66 cities and at least 36 countries. Today’s rally will be part of a united front of global voices, calling unconditionally for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.”
Imtiaz Sooliman of the aid group “Gift of the Givers,” which has had teams in Gaza and the West Bank, said according to Hirsch, “People like us and people all over the world will make sure that the ceasefire comes. The power of the people is more powerful than any government and any weapon in the world.” Of the case brought by South Africa at the Hague, he said, “I feel great to be South African. When we sent our people to the ICJ we brought back the Mandela magic.”
South African attorneys are saying that if the ICJ issues a ruling in South Africa’s favor they will bring civil suits in the U.S. and U.K. on that basis, because of the collaboration of those two governments in the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
Hundreds of thousands also demonstrated in London, and similarly large crowds came out in numerous other cities around the world.