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08.26 Friends of Israel
Demonstrators in D.C. Charge Israel with Barbarism in Lebanon/Gaza
Photo by William Hughes
Protest at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC on July 25.
One of the speakers at the rally was the anti-Zionist Orthodox Rabbi, Dovid Feldman.Washington, D.C., July 26, 2006--Close to 400 protesters showed up for a spirited demonstration on Tuesday, July 25, at the Israeli Embassy, 514 International Drive, NW, in the nation’s capital. They were there, despite the sweltering heat, to express their strong opposition to the ongoing barbaric conduct of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in Lebanon, as well as in Gaza.
Many of the protesters wore black. They carried 50 coffins draped in black, too. They began at 5:30 PM, at Van Ness and Connecticut Avenues, with a march done in silence. They then proceeded around the neighborhood and ended up in front of the Israeli Embassy.
I talked with Jamilah Shami at the rally. She’s with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s D.C. Chapter. She said: “We’re here to bring attention to what is taking place in Lebanon and Palestine. Israel is bombing on both sides and innocent people are being killed and, unfortunately, with our tax dollars and with our government’s okay. Every other nation, every other person is calling for an immediate cease fire, except the U.S. It’s not reining in Israel. And they have the power to do so.” The Rev. Philip Wheaton, an Episcopal priest from D.C., told me: “I’m really concerned about Israel. They are being led down the worst possible path by Zionism. And they can’t win by power and might.” He added that if the Israeli government doesn't get off the road that it is presently traveling, “they will only increase the anti-Israel spirit around the world, and it’s very serious. Jews in this country have to understand that if they want to do something serious for Judaism, then they have to stop this madness.”
Since July 13, the Israeli Air Force has flown over 4,000 air sorties over cities in Lebanon, like Beirut, Sidon and Tyre, dropping cluster and bunker bombs and laying waste to bridges, roads, homes, apartment buildings, banks, water and electric power plants, reservoirs, hospitals, airports, milk and food factories, clearly marked ambulances, and even striking a Greek Orthodox Church. Over 400 innocent Lebanese civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed, and thousands more have been seriously injured. Property damage will be in the mega-billions of dollars. It is now estimated that Israel’s terror tactics have created over 600,000 refugees. Close to 12,000 American have been evacuated from Lebanon. Canadians trying to escape the Israeli-made horror weren’t so lucky; at least eight were reported killed by the Israeli air strikes. The Israelis dominate the skies with their jet fighters, since Lebanon has no air force to combat them.
Suzanne Wilder, from Maryland, told me during the demonstration that she was at the rally because she “was upset at the loss of innocent lives.” She felt that the politicians “turn these things to their own benefit and profit. If you want peace in the Middle East, you have to work for justice.” Carol Moore, from D.C., said she was there “to protest Israel’s barbaric attack on Lebanon. We’re afraid it’s going to escalate and go to Syria and Iran. It could even go nuclear.”
David Barrows, of D.C., said: “I’m protesting the merciless slaughter of the Lebanese people...It’s just senseless and ruthless and it just makes you wonder: ‘Why in the world are we supporting Israel?’ I know we shouldn’t, and this is real proof of it...Who speaks for the Palestinians? Very few! So, we the American people have to take charge of this renegade, corrupt and criminal government of ours and stop giving the green light to tyranny around the world.”
An activist from the D.C. Antiwar Network (DAWN), Malachy Kilbride, said: “I’m here to be a witness to what Israel and the U.S. are doing in Lebanon. Israel is perpetrating a war of aggression...I’m angry and I’m not going to be silent like so many in Congress....” David Kirshbaum, a D.C.-based activist who helped organize the protest, said that he was "pleased by the turnout.”
The pretext for the Israeli assault on Lebanon was the supposed capture of two of their soldiers by Hezbollah, an indigenous political party with militia capabilities that is located near the Lebanon/Israel border.
If two U.S. soldiers were employed to do border duty with Canada, and they were captured by guerrillas associated with a Separatist Movement in Quebec, what would be the response of our Washington-based government? Wouldn't we negotiate with our neighbor to the North, rather than go ahead and bomb Ottawa, British Columbia, Montreal and Toronto? That would lunacy. Yet this is exactly what the Tel Aviv government has done in the case of Lebanon. This conduct cannot be justified by any legal or moral standard.
© William Hughes 2006. William Hughes, a Baltimore attorney, is the author of Saying ‘No’ to the War Party (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on July 28, 2006.