Thousands rallied at the U.S. Capitol this week calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, in what organizers with IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace called the largest-ever protest of Jews in support of Palestine. Hundreds were also arrested during a sit-in of the Cannon House Office Building. We feature addresses by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress, and author Naomi Klein.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: On Capitol Hill, police arrested at least 300 activists Wednesday as they held a nonviolent sit-in protest in the Cannon House Office Building to demand lawmakers press for a ceasefire in Gaza. The arrests came as thousands of people rallied on the National Mall for a demonstration organized by the groups IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace. Organizers called it the largest-ever protest of Jews in support of Palestinians. Among those who spoke was the only Palestinian American congressmember, Rashida Tlaib.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I wish all the Palestinian people would see this. I wish they can see that not all of America want them to die, that they are not disposable. They have a right to live. They didn’t ask to be born in occupation. And so I just want to thank you on the bottom of my heart. The dehumanization has chipped at my soul, and I can’t imagine what it’s made so many other people feel. So, you all being here to speak truth — because the warmongers are out, y’all. They are ready. They want to kill and not stop. It’s pure insanity.
I still remember the cry of Maya, who was being dragged out of that festival, crying for her father. But just like poor Shaima in Gaza, who was number one in her scores — I don’t know if you know anything about Palestinian culture, but it’s a big that somebody from Gaza could score number one on her — you know, it’s like the valedictorian for the whole Palestinian people. And both of them — both of them are victims. They’re victims of the oppression, of the violence. They both deserve to live. I don’t care what their faith is or their ethnicity. Maya didn’t deserve to be targeted. Neither did Shaima deserve to die. And that’s the common humanity that we all have to remember, because they’re trying to take it away from us. And we have to make sure it doesn’t happen, not on our watch.
I’m going to be real with you all. My colleagues, many of them — I usually don’t talk smack about them. No, I’m usually considerate, because I don’t like them policing me, so I don’t police them. But as an American, not just as a member of the United States Congress, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that they’re saying, “Not yet. Maybe next week.”
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: “Not yet, Rashida. Maybe — maybe in a couple of days.” How many more have to die?
AMY GOODMAN: That was the only Palestinian American congressmember, Rashida Tlaib, addressing Wednesday’s historic Jewish-led protest of thousands in Washington. This is the award-winning author and writer Naomi Klein.
NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you all for being here. I have never seen anything like this in my history of Jewish anti-Zionist activism. It’s been decades. We used to be tiny. We are huge and growing.
We have a sacred responsibility to engage with our parents, our grandparents, our uncles, our brothers and sisters, and try to save their souls, to keep them from indulging in this quest for bloody vengeance. We are here because we will not let our fears of antisemitism be manipulated in this way, as cover for war crimes and colonial land grabs and to foreclose on the possibility of a political solution, which will only come with an end to occupation, with an end to apartheid, with true Palestinian freedom and self-determination. We will not use the fact that many of our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were refugees from genocide to justify making hundreds of thousands or even millions of new Palestinian refugees.
These are not our leaders, not in the Knesset, with its so-called unity government, and not here in Congress, which reconvenes now in part in order to approve new money and new weapons to send to Israel for its genocidal attack on Palestinians.
AMY GOODMAN: The award-winning author and writer Naomi Klein. When we come back, the legendary Israeli journalist Amira Hass, in 20 seconds.