Stand up for Palestine!

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Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid domination of Palestine continues this month with a renewed round of escalated bloodshed.  Those of us who have been looking on with horror from the US, those hailing from the Middle East, and anti-imperialists everywhere, are being joined by new segments of society, especially youth. Meanwhile, the mainstream media outlets are counting the Palestinian dead, putting Israeli explanations in quotes, and delivering coverage that is more even-handed than maybe ever before.  The BDS movement has won significant victories, with the Presbyterian church decision to divest, and the EU issuing a business warning against linking with the settlers.  The tireless organizing to make Palestine free, in the last eight years especially, combined with this terrible moment of violence, may be opening a new window for dissent.

In response to the Israeli bombing operation, comrades in the Tennessee district helped to organize a rapid-response demonstration. The street-corner sign-holding action took place simultaneously in three cities in the state where we have comrades. Thanks to sharp organizing work as well as the alertness and internal organization of some of our local Arab communities, the action drew between 120 and 150 people across the state with only 24-36 hours notice.  This made the event one of the biggest protests of its kind that we could recall. Media coverage was also less sluggish and less unsympathetic than any of us could remember it being to a Palestine solidarity action.

After the action, several participants asked when the next one would be. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said this bombing campaign “could take time.”  We may need to be open to using this simple tactic again.  The need to build-out awareness and opposition to apartheid Israel continues, and grows in urgency alongside the death toll. Whatever form our organizing takes, FRSO/OSCL will continue to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and self-determination.

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