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U.S. Anti-Israel Activity

Nationwide Demonstrations Against Israeli Actions in Gaza

Posted: February 11, 2008

Demonstrations and other events against Israel's response to rocket attacks by militant groups in Gaza were held nationwide in front of Israeli embassies and consulates, U.S. Federal buildings and elsewhere in late January 2008. Many speakers and participants accused Israel of committing genocide, apartheid and terrorism, and urged divestment. Others advocated violence, expressed support for terrorists, and denied Israel's right to exist.

Event organizers touted the "emergency" vigils, rallies and demonstrations as a response to Israel's "siege of Gaza," demanding an end to U.S. support for Israeli policies, which organizers described as "collective punishment" and "war crimes."

Many speakers and participants expressed support for the Palestinian resistance; others mourned the death of George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.


New York City


Demonstrations were held on January 25 and 26 outside the Israeli Consulate in New York City. Themes included:

  • Support for Terror and Violence: Some protesters extolled former Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin, chanting, "With love, with death, Sheikh Yassin" and "Sheikh Yassin is coming back." One speaker said, "Long live the Palestinian resistance, long live the Intifada," while another stated, "We have the right to defend ourselves. We have the right to use violence. We have the right to bear arms...No country so oppressive has the right to exist." A participant stated that Palestinians have the "right to fight back" and warned, "It is very far from being over for Hamas, Gaza or Palestine." Others shouted in Arabic the anti-Jewish slogan: "Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya'ud!," evoking the Koran's account of a battle between the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia.

  • Israel as Nazis: A speaker introduced as a representative of the Muslim American Society (MAS)-New Jersey called on the audience to "Stop the Holocaust against Palestinian people in Gaza." He likened Gaza to the Holocaust, "because in the Holocaust they put them in camps." Likewise, an elderly woman who held a sign comparing Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto stated, "Gaza is the new prison camp. It is the new Holocaust. It is also the new Warsaw Ghetto because they fight back. The U.S. was silent in the Jewish Holocaust. The U.S. will not be silent in the Palestinian Holocaust." One sign at the event read, "Don't like Holocaust. Don't make Holocaust."
  • Israel Has No Right to Exist: Speakers called for a Palestinian state covering all the former British mandate in place of Israel, with one stating that "this [occupation] did not start in 1967; this has been going on since 1948" and another condemning the "Israeli occupation regime, which is all it's ever been since 1948." One protester's sign read, "All Israel is occupied territory," and some participants called for Palestine to replace the state of Israel, chanting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!"
  • Israel as Racist: Some speakers condemned Israel's "racist occupation of the Palestinian people" and the "racist apartheid wall that was killing their [the Palestinian] people." Signs included, "Stop the Genocide in Gaza" and "Stop US aid to Apartheid Israel: wrong in South Africa, wrong in Palestine."
  • Israel as Terrorist: Speakers stated that "since 1948 it's been year after year of…terrorism;" charged that "Israel is an imperialist state…They are all criminals;" condemned the U.S. as being "the principal sponsor of Israeli terror," and accused Israel of having "the bombs and the bullets and tanks slaughtering the children."
  • Anti-Zionist Messages: Among the most vocal opponents of Zionism were members of Neturei Karta, who held a sign that read, "Torah demands all Palestine be returned to Palestinian sovereignty." In a speech prepared prior to the event, Neturei Karta stated that "the only lasting solution of the Torah is to oppose Zionism" and condemned "the dark stain that Zionism has put on Judaism." The group proclaimed that it will "refute the evil lie that Zionism represents the Jewish people."

Protests Nationwide


Chants and signs at events in several other cities around the country echoed many of the themes at the New York events. For example:


  • Chicago, January 29: At a protest outside of a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces fundraiser event, one individual shouted through a bullhorn, "Zionism is Jewish Apartheid," while another shouted "Zionism is Jewish Apartheid, I've know it since 9/11." Protesters held signs that read, "Boycott Israel," "Free Palestine! Collective Punishment of Gaza is a War crime!," "NO $$$ for genocide," "WWII Nazism, WWIII Zionism," and "Collective punishment is a war crime! Nazis were hung for it."

  • Anaheim, January 26: Some protestors shouted, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!," indicating an unwillingness to accept Israel's existence.

  • Philadelphia, January 26: One protester held a sign that featured the Israeli flag and read, "Sixty Years of State Terror."

  • Los Angeles, January 25: Some protesters chanted, "Stop American Billions from supporting terrorist regime in Tel Aviv."

  • San Francisco, January 25: At the larger of two events, chants included "Occupation is a crime from Iraq to Palestine," and "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" One speaker stated, "They [Israel] dropped poison gas on Gaza."

  • Washington, DC, January 25: One protester held a sign that read, "It's time! Stop Israeli War Crimes," while members of Neturei Karta held a sign that read, "Torah Demands All Palestine be returned to Palestinian Sovereignty."

Many of the demonstrations were organized under the title "End the Criminal Israeli Siege of Gaza Now!" by a coalition of left-wing, Muslim, and Arab organizations, including Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. Others were organized by local groups.


Demonstrations also took place in Buffalo, New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; New Haven, Connecticut; Phoenix, Arizona; San Diego, California; and Seattle, Washington.


Counter protests took place in several cities, including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

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Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition


Muslim American Society

Neturei Karta

Slideshow: Anti-Israel Protests

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