Jews Shut Down Israeli Consulate for 3 Hours

 

LA Israeli Consulate Action

 

Earlythis morning, Jewish activists in a historic first in Los Angeles,chained themselves to the entrance of the Israeli Consulate and blockedthe driveway to the parking structure, blocking all traffic in and outof the building.  "We sent a clear message to the world that LA Jewsare part of the global majority in opposition to the Israeli siege ofGaza,"  said Lenny Potash a 72-year old protester who was cuffed toeight other activists, blocking the driveway to the consulate.  Theactivists were joined by 50 other supporters and who chanted "LA Jewssay, End the Siege of Gaza" and  "Not in Our Name! We will Not beSilent!"  Protesters also held up signs reading "Israeli Consulate:Closed for War Crimes."

"Wesucceeded today in letting Jews and other Americans of conscience knowthat it is safe to speak out against the policies of the Israeligovernment and that the Israeli lobby does not speak for everyone,"said Robin Ellis, a Registered Nurse who also risked arrest to blockthe consulate entrance. "We are committed to escalating non-violentactivities in the future to end the siege and win justice forPalestinians," Ellis said.

The group of activists were an  ad-hoc,multi-generational group of LA Jewish residents, including members ofthe recently founded International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.  They shared a commitment to ending the  Israelisiege on Gaza and an end to Israeli apartheid. The demonstration willkick off a wave of demonstrations across the United States unitingPalestinians, Jewish people, and other Americans outraged by the siege.

"Weare shocked and outraged at Israeli’s latest act of violent aggressionagainst the Palestinian people. Killing over 950 people, including 250women and children, bombing schools and mosques and then calling itself-defense—that is the worst kind of hypocrisy. It also amounts towar crimes," said Hannah Howard, a local member of the InternationalJewish Anti-Zionist Network. "We shut down the Israeli consulate todaybecause as Jewish people we cannot allow business as usual whileviolence is being done in our name."

Action participants  alsospoke out against the US government’s unconditional support forIsrael’s siege and its ongoing war against the Palestinian people."While US-funded F16’s rain down bombs on the people of Gaza, ourelected officials locally and nationally offer unqualified support."said Marsha Steinberg, a retired union representative. "Our governmentmust stop sending billions of dollars in military and economic aid tothe Israeli war machine," Goldberg said. In the coming week, concernedAmericans from all backgrounds will call on the new Presidentialadministration to make a 180 degree change in policy.

 

A short video produced by members of IJAN:

Click here for raw and edited video footage and photographs.

Press Coverage so far:

 


 Fact Sheet on Gaza and Israeli Apartheid

 

THE PEOPLE OF GAZA: Nearly1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, many of them concentrated inone-half of the territory. In this area, the population density isnearly 20,000 people per square mile, one of the highest in the world.More than three quarters of Gaza’s residents are refugees who weredriven from their homes during past wars with Israel (in 1948 and1967), and their descendants. Israel has permanently barred theirreturn. Over half of these refugees still reside in Gaza’s eightrefugee camps. (BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5122404.stm)

THE OCCUPATION OF GAZA: TheGazans have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in1967. Israel is still widely considered to be an occupying power, eventhough it removed its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005.Israel still controls access to the area, imports and exports, and themovement of people in and out. Israel has control over Gaza’s air spaceand sea coast, and its forces enter the area at will. As the occupyingpower, Israel has the responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Conventionto see to the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.("What You Don’t Know About Gaza", Rashidi Khalidi, New York Times,January 7, 2009).

THE BLOCKADE of GAZA: Israel’sblockade of the strip, with the support of the United States and theEuropean Union, has grown increasingly stringent since Hamas won thePalestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006. Fuel,electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out ofthe Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threateningproblems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation. Thisamounts to the collective punishment — with the tacit support of theUnited States — of a civilian population for exercising its democraticrights. (Khalidi, New York Times).

THE CEASE-FIRE: Liftingthe blockade, along with a ces
sation of rocket fire, was one of the keyterms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord ledto a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and Juneto a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according toIsraeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeliforces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; sixHamas operatives were reported killed. (Khalidi, New York Times).

WAR CRIMES:Israel’s current assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be justified byself-defense. Rather, it involves serious violations of internationallaw, including war crimes. Senior Israeli political and militaryleaders may bear personal liability for their offenses, and they couldbe prosecuted by an international tribunal, or by nations practicinguniversal jurisdiction over grave international crimes. ("Israel iscommitting war crimes." George Bisharat, Wall Street Journal, January10, 2009.)

ISRAELI APARTHEID:Former South African President Hendrick Verwoerd observed as far backas 1961 that "Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state." In Palestine, the Zionist goal of controllingas much land as possible without Palestinians led to the large-scaleexpulsions of 1947-48 and 1967. Today, 92 percent of Israel’s land isdefined as the "inalienable property of the Jewish people." Jewsanywhere in the world have a "right to return" and claim citizenship,while Palestinians who were expelled from their homes are denied the"right to return" guaranteed by international law. Former President Jimmy Carter definesapartheid as the "forced separation of two peoples in the sameterritory with one of the groups dominating or controlling the other."This accurately describes the situation in the occupied West Bank, GazaStrip and East Jerusalem, where Israeli settlers and soldiers totallydominate the indigenous Palestinian population. The policies Israel hasimplemented to carry out its 40-year-old occupation of the West Bankand Gaza Strip and expropriate Palestinian land closely mirror the"inhuman acts" that make up the UN Convention on the "Crime ofApartheid." (US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, "Why ApartheidApplies to Israel", http://www.endtheoccupation.org/downloads/AAFWhyApartheid.pdf)

 

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