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Boston Interfaith Rally Urges Senators Warren & Markey to Support Gaza Ceasefire

StoryNovember 03, 2023
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At least 23 people were arrested in Boston on Thursday as faith leaders and clergy led a peace rally to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. The interfaith protest targeted Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to pressure them to stand up for Palestinian lives. We share footage and voices from the rally.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. We end today’s show with voices from the streets of Boston, where hundreds of faith leaders and clergy rallied Thursday to demand Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey support a ceasefire.

PROTESTER 1: Our elected officials must act. They need to hear from us. We are going to meet with them today. We’re going to send a delegation of faith leaders to bring our letters, our prayers. We are grounded in faith, in many faiths, in many spiritual traditions. We have so many people in our bones. We have the moral courage that our elected officials do not have. And we will keep acting until they have it.

And now we’ll hear from Shir Lovett-Graff, a Jewish community and spiritual leader.

SHIR LOVETT-GRAFF: My grief, our grief, is used by the Israeli military, funded by the United States, to enact violence on thousands of Palestinians every day. How can we navigate this grief when it is used to fuel rhetoric that is Islamophobic, racist and antisemitic?

PROTESTER 2: We’re going to begin walking. We’ll follow the banner that says “ceasefire.” And we’ll be praying with our feet.

PROTESTERS: Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now!

NAKIYA HUSSAIN: My name is Nakiya Hussain [phon.]. We’re watching a genocide unfold. I think that the fact our tax dollars are going to pay for this is horrifying. I want change. I want us to see humanity and care about all lives.

PROTESTERS: Hey, Warren, what do you say? We demand a ceasefire today! Hey, Warren, what do you say? We demand a ceasefire today!

ELSA: My name is Elsa. I’m the daughter of Holocaust refugees. And I’m here because it’s outrageous to me the Israeli government is committing genocide in the name of people like my parents. And I work with Jewish Voice for Peace. We demand a ceasefire now, before even more innocent lives get lost.

JILL: I’m Jill. I’m active in Jewish Voice for Peace. I am here to demand Senator Warren declare a ceasefire and to stand up for justice. She usually does stand up for justice in different kinds of ways. For some reason, she just can’t seem to stand up for Palestinian lives. They are bombing everything — churches, hospitals, roads. There’s no place to go. So we are demanding Warren to do the right thing.

PROTESTERS: When do we want it? Now! What do we want? Ceasefire! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut it down!

RAMI: My name is Rami. I am here today marching because I think we need to have a ceasefire. I think it’s really important that the world see that Jewish community believes in a ceasefire and thinks that what Israel is doing right now is wrong, and that the Jewish community is not a monolith, and there isn’t one uniform perspective standing with Israel on this one.

PROTESTERS: Hey, Markey, what do you say? We demand a ceasefire today! Hey, Markey, what do you say? We demand a ceasefire today!

LEORA: My name is Leora. I am a rabbi in Jamaica Plain. Anyone who’s here today might be risking things to be here, relationships or employment. And I’m so proud to be here, across many kinds of difference and united in our call for a ceasefire now. We mourn for all of the dead, and we fight for all of the living.

MOHANAD MOSSALAM: Even refugee camps and hospitals are not safe.

My name is Mohanad Mossalam. I am a khatib here in Massachusetts, in Malden. If ceasefire is not now, when will it be? Are they waiting for the entire population of Gaza to be completely wiped out? Are they waiting for 10 more thousand, 20 more thousand people dying before they call for ceasefire? Enough is enough.

PROTESTERS: I do not come here alone. I carry my people in my bones.

PROTESTER 3: So, we’re here at the office of Senator Warren. We’re a group of faith leaders across the spectrum of the world’s religions, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza right now. Children are dying. That blood is on our hands if we stand silent. And we can be silent no longer.

PROTESTER 4: We’re so glad you’re here, and we’re so grateful for those inside.

LEORA: Inside, a number of people are occupying the lobby of the federal building. They will be there until the senators call for a ceasefire or until they are escorted out.

PROTESTER 5: I’m now very glad to introduce Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who introduced the ceasefire resolution to Boston City Council.

TANIA FERNANDES ANDERSON: Peace and love to everyone. As-salamu alaykum. Shalom. And peace in every language. Paz sea contigo. I am here to simply repeat and echo your heartfelt sentiments and your fight and your tears and all of your sacrifice and your bravery for being here, and for every day that you’ve sacrificed, for every night that you’ve looked through social media, the tears that you’ve shed, the prayers that you’ve put out into the universe.

PROTESTER 6: They’re arresting people now.

PROTESTERS: Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now!

REV. REDEEM ROBINSON: Reverend Redeem Robinson. What’s happening right now is a grave injustice. We have faith leaders here who come to pray and demand that Senator Warren calls for a ceasefire, and people are being arrested? This isn’t right. This isn’t right at all. We are calling on Senator Warren to call for a ceasefire. She has a moral duty as a Christian woman to call for a ceasefire. She got faith leaders here at her office being arrested. This is a shame.

PROTESTERS: Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now!

HILARY RANTISI: We have been grieving, grieving the killing of our people, the grieving — grieving our fragmentation, the separation of our people into different enclaves, into different areas — West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem.

My name is Hilary Rantisi. So, when you ask a Palestinian where they’re from, they will tell you where they’re from, from before 1948. My family is from — both from Lydda and from Gaza. I was born in Jerusalem, and I grew up in Ramallah. So, as a Palestinian, I have a West Bank ID that only allows me to travel to Ramallah, to be in the West Bank. I can’t go to Jerusalem, where I was born. I can’t go to Gaza, where my grandmother is from. And I can’t go to Lydda, where my father was born and his father was born. But, for me, I am from all these places, and you can’t separate Gaza from me, you can’t separate Jerusalem from me, you can’t separate Lydda from me. So I’m here as a Palestinian recognizing the pain and all the history that all of my family and my ancestors have borne for all these years.

PROTESTERS: Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live. Let Gaza live.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from protest in Boston last night calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. At least 23 people were arrested. This comes as 13 Democratic senators call for short-term cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

And that does it for our show. Special thanks to Hany Massoud. Democracy Now! produced with Renée Feltz, Mike Burke, Deena Guzder, Messiah Rhodes, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Tami Woronoff. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.

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