November 20, 2023
From World Socialist Web Site

Millions participate in global protests for sixth straight week

Attempts by capitalist governments the world over to criminalize all forms of social and political opposition to the US-NATO backed Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people have failed to quell mass global outrage at the seemingly hourly war crimes committed by the Israel Defense Forces.

Since October 7, tens, if not hundreds of millions of people, have taken to the streets to protest the fascist Zionist regime of Netanyahu and his war criminal allies in Washington, London, Berlin, Canberra and Paris.

While the protests have centered on calls for an immediate ceasefire, the demonstrations have uncorked a geyser of social anger over a range of social, political and economic issues. Despite the mass character of the protests, the ruling elite in every country has ignored demands from protesters for a ceasefire and instead slandered demonstrators as “antisemitic” and “Hamas supporters.”

These slanders, repeated ad nauseam in the mainstream press, have not deterred millions of people. Beginning on Thursday, and through this weekend, protests have been held in hundreds of cities and universities across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East.

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In Europe, protests drawing tens of thousands of people were held on Saturday and Sunday. In one of the largest protests, on Saturday, some 50,000 marched in Dublin, Ireland.

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Similarly in Belfast, thousands marched down the street waving Palestinian flags while chanting, “We are all Palestinians.”

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Thousands demanded “Stop the genocide” in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday.

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In the Danish capital of Copenhagen, on Sunday, tens of thousands marched in opposition to the ongoing genocide. Workers and their families waved Palestinian flags while calling for an end to the occupation.

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Despite heavy rain, thousands marched in Paris, France on Saturday calling for an a ceasefire.

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Support for a ceasefire and an end to the apartheid state of Israel, has continued to grow as the catastrophic death toll in Gaza and the West Bank steadily rises under Israeli bombardment and continued ground invasion. In the first update in almost a week, on Sunday, the Gaza Health Ministry reported that over 13,000 Palestinians, including more than 200 healthcare workers and 5,500 children, had been killed since October 7.

The killing of healthcare workers and deliberate targeting of Gazan hospitals, United Nations schools and residential complexes, has provoked mass outrage among doctors, nurses and every section of the working class.

In Berlin, Germany on Saturday, doctors joined a march of over 2,000 people denouncing Israeli war crimes and the targeting of hospitals.

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Thousand more marched in Hamburg in favor of a ceasefire.

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For the sixth weekend in a row, thousands of people marched in Manchester, England. The Manchester march was one of more than 100 protests in opposition to Israeli genocide that took place across the UK over the weekend.

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Israel’s assassination campaign against journalists—at least 48 have been killed since October 7 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists—has not prevented the truth of Israeli’s historic war crimes from emerging from Gaza. The consciousness of millions of people, including students and young people, has been changed forever by the images and videos that have been broadcast on the internet in social media videos uploaded to Tik Tok, Instagram and Twitter/(X), in many cases by young Palestinian journalists.

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Beginning on Thursday in Spain, over 40 schools and universities saw mass student walkouts, including thousands of students in Barcelona and Madrid. On Saturday, firefighters in Barcelona held a protest calling for the genocide to stop.

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The broad participation of wide layers of the population, including tens of thousands of anti-Zionist Jewish people, refute the lies advanced by the governments and politicians of Israel and its US-NATO allies, that equate opposition to genocide and ethnic cleansing to “antisemitism.” Daily protests have drawn thousands of people virtually every single day in the imperialist centers and even within Israel itself. On Saturday, hundreds of Israeli Jews and Palestinians protested together in Tel Aviv and called for a ceasefire.

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Before holding the protest, demonstrators had to submit their signs for police review. Journalist Oren Ziv reported that some of the signs police didn’t allow at the protest included, “one massacre does not justify the other,” “no to apartheid,” “no to the occupation and siege,” “stop the war” and “Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] go home.”

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In Lisbon, Portugal, tens of thousands marched to the Portuguese parliament on Saturday demanding a ceasefire.

People wave Palestinian flags and shout slogans during a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people and demanding a cease fire, in Lisbon, Portugal, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. [AP Photo/Armando Franca]

In Italy on Friday, Palestinian protesters unfurled a giant Palestinian flag from the Tower of Pisa.

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At soccer matches across Asia and Africa over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of fans voiced their support for the Palestinian cause.

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Large protests held in Lahore and Karachi Pakistan on Sunday drew well over 50,000 people. In Karachi, protesters carried small white body bags with red paint on them signifying the thousands of dead children. In Lahore, signs carried by protesters read, “Stop the Genocide,” “Death to Zionism” and “Free Palestine.”

White body bags representing those killed in the escalating conflict in Gaza are displayed in a rally against the Israeli genocide in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. [AP Photo/Fareed Khan]

In the United States, protests were held at dozens of universities on Friday and in major cities through the weekend.

Students conducted sit-ins at the University of Michigan, Columbia and Harvard, and protests in solidarity with pro-Palestinian organizations, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, were held at dozens of more schools.

At the Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday, hundreds of students waved Palestinian flags while calling for a ceasefire.

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The World Socialist Web Site will continue to update this article with on-the-ground reports from protests around the world.

More than ten thousand demonstrate in Toronto, after Trudeau reiterates Ottawa’s support for the genocidal assault on Gaza

The six lanes of Toronto’s University Avenue were filled Saturday afternoon with demonstrators—all the way from the US Consulate at Armoury Ave. to the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park—demanding an immediate end to the brutal Israeli assault on Gaza.

Demonstrators fill the intersection of College West and University Avenue in Toronto, Canada. [Photo: WSWS Media/WSWS]

The well-attended demonstration was a defiant stand against the campaign, taken up by the Trudeau government earlier in the week, to demonize and slander Palestinian solidarity marches as “hateful” and “antisemitic.” On Wednesday, Trudeau spoke with Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz to reiterate his Liberal government’s support for Israel’s now six-week-long genocidal assault on the 2.2 million residents of Gaza. According to a readout from Trudeau’s office, “In the face of the rise of antisemitic events in Canada and around the world, Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Gantz condemned antisemitism in all its forms and agreed on the need to address it head-on.”

Demonstrators, including youth, many Jewish people and workers poured scorn on this slander. One sign declared, “They lie to justify genocide,” and another: “Pro-Palestine, Pro-free speech. In Canada, We won’t be Silenced!”

Speaking from the podium, former Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President Syd Ryan demanded to know “Why is there not a single elected representative on this podium, together with the Palestinians? Where is (federal New Democratic Party leader) Jagmeet Singh? Where is (Ontario NDP head) Marit Stiles?”

There was not a single elected representative on the podium because the Canadian ruling class supports Israel’s genocidal onslaught on the Palestinians as a necessary step to further the interests of Canadian capital in a new imperialist war to redivide the world. This underlying reality is understood by a growing layer of workers.

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Those few elected representatives who have dared to speak out, such as Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green and Hamilton provincial MPP Sarah Jama, have been smeared and slandered by the capitalist press as antisemites and terrorist supporters. Jama was expelled from the Ontario NDP Caucus, and a censure motion prevents her from speaking in the provincial legislature until she apologizes. She now sits as an independent MPP.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was also deployed against the protests. All service on the Yonge-University-Spadina Line between St. George and St. Andrew stations was halted on a busy Saturday, “for track repairs.” This is the subway line beneath that stretch of University Ave. where the demonstration took place. The same tactics were deployed by the London Underground in the UK against a million-strong demonstration a week prior.

The WSWS spoke with Kate, a Jewish retiree who related how a TTC official instructed her to cover up her sign reading “Not in my name” as it “might offend someone.”

Kate with her sign at the Toronto rally. [Photo: WSWS Media/WSWS]

Kate responded by turning the sign around to expose the other side, which read “Ceasefire now.” The official had no response.

The other side of Kate’s sign. [Photo: WSWS Media/WSWS]

Demonstrators were particularly distressed and disgusted by the Israeli attacks on hospitals, especially Al-Shifa, where unknown numbers of doctors, nurses and patients have been indiscriminately murdered. As of this writing, eight of the 39 premature babies at Al-Shifa perished due to the cut-off by Israel of electricity to run the incubators. Patients and medical staff who attempted to flee have been shot in cold blood by Israeli snipers.

Nurse Amria Omar spoke out passionately after attending a separate demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and urged other medical workers to speak out.

We asked Omar why the Israeli government concocted lies about al-Shifa hospital: that it was the “Headquarters of Hamas” and that weapons had been stored beside MRI machines.

“They have to find a reason in front of the whole world who is watching them why they attack al-Shifa Hospital, why they attack medical staff. And of course the reasons are fake,” said Omar.

On the same day of the protest, the University of Ottawa dismissed Dr. Yipeng Ge as an exemplary punishment for his consistent statements of solidarity with the Palestinians. Ge’s Twitter feed features re-tweets from Doctors Without Borders and the Health Workers Alliance for Palestine, containing such supposed “antisemitic hate” statements as “International Humanitarian Law is explicitly clear that hospitals and medical personnel must be protected. Attacks on hospitals are attacks on humanity.” Ge’s dismissal must be vigorously resisted.

Socialist Equality Party supporters distributed hundreds of copies of the WSWS perspective, “Israel’s war on hospitals, the normalization of war crimes,” in English, and the perspective, “The mass protests in London and the global fight against Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” in Arabic.

Tinnu, a software engineer, told the WSWS, “This is colonization and it’s a genocide… What’s more shameful is growing up in Canada and through school we were taught that we’re peacemakers in this world and we’re not here for war. But all I’ve seen since I’ve gotten older is that we fund wars and kill people. We’re not peacemakers at all. We’re part of this genocide right now, where over 11,000 people have been killed. I think peacemakers is the last thing to call the Canadian government right now. But I am happy to see how many people came out in support [of the Palestinians] and against the government.”

Several workers who described themselves as “socialists” agreed with the central message of the WSWS perspectives: the urgent need for the mass anti-war movement to direct itself towards the international working class as the only force with the power to stop the genocidal onslaught on the Palestinians and defeat imperialism.

The protest movement is rapidly reaching the point where such questions of political perspective must be confronted. Speakers from the Palestinian Youth Movement are demanding a policy change from the Canadian government. Yet the complete absence of elected representatives from the podium, noted bitterly by Sid Ryan, and the complete absence of representatives from the trade union bureaucracy, which Ryan conveniently omitted, expose this strategy as a political dead end.

The Canadian ruling class demonstrated this week that it is closing ranks against the anti-war movement. If the anti-war movement is to “close ranks” to defend itself, it must close its ranks against the ruling class and all its political representatives, and turn decisively to the working class, linking the fight against Zionism and imperialist war to the fight for social equality and the defence of working people’s social and democratic rights.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Chicago, Illinois attacked by police

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators gathered at Buckingham Fountain in downtown Chicago for the sixth consecutive week of demonstrations against the US-backed Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. The protesters were made up of young workers, students, and families including many young children. 

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The demonstration called for an immediate ceasefire to stop the massacre of Palestinians. Protesters denounced “Genocide Joe” Biden and called for him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be charged as war criminals. 

Chicago police violently attacked demonstrators who marched onto the Lake Shore Drive highway, blocking traffic for about an hour. Police tossed and shoved people to the ground, including a National Lawyers Guild observer.

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In interviews with the WSWS, many protesters spoke openly of their disgust for the Democratic Party.

Betty, a healthcare worker said, “Biden’s support for genocide is a disgrace. I voted for him and I only did so because he wasn’t Trump, thinking he wouldn’t be worse, but here we are and he’s doing a genocide in Gaza!

“I think we do need more people preventing the shipment of weapons to Israel. Those people who prevented the ship from leaving in Oakland did a great thing,” Betty added.

Hannah, another healthcare worker agreed, “Sanders, such a disappointment! He refused to call for a ceasefire and called for a ‘humanitarian pause’ instead, which means nothing. And Biden, he has been pretty clear on how the US views Israel. He stated that if there wasn’t an Israel, we [the US] would have to invent it.”

Signs from the protest in Chicago on November 18, 2023. [Photo: WSWS Media/WSWS]

Another protester said, “As a Jew who has family that perished in the Holocaust, I can’t imagine any person who was a victim once to victimize others. The images you see of Gaza are like what you saw in Nazi Germany.

“In my mind there is no connection between my Judaism and a Jewish state. I am a proud Jewish person. I am not a proud Israeli. It is a misnomer of what’s going on to call this antisemitic.”

Lindsey, a former public school teacher said, “I think it’s about control and money, and not actually caring about human beings who lived in that area for generations upon generations peacefully, of all different faiths, living next to each other. It comes down to leaders not caring about us, but about the money they can get from these areas.

“I think it says a lot about their inhumane character and how they are willing to sell themselves out. They will act like they care about their constituents around the world until it doesn’t benefit them anymore. It’s been very heartening to see all kinds of people coming together and saying that they’re tired of being lied to by politicians who don’t actually represent us.

“I think the power really is with the people and you can see as time goes on how the working poor are growing bigger and bigger, and the rich class is growing smaller and smaller, but they’re still trying to maintain that control and are doing as much as they can do by miseducating people, by not giving funding to schools so that people won’t be educated about what’s actually going on in the world. They want to make it so people don’t ask questions and are just compliant. But as more people get educated, they will care, and as the working class we have to speak up to shift that and say that the funding has to go the schools.

“I worked in urban schools in Milwaukee. A lot of the students there don’t have the funding they need, like Chicago Public Schools students. I see a lot of the funding going toward to different areas like war, instead of funding so that kids can be fed every day when they’re at school and actually have a safe place to be while they’re at school, and not have to worry about if they have a book to read or where they’re going to get their next meal from. There are a lot of things here that need to be funded more—especially for our students—than war and genocide that are killing other children and students around the world.”

Kavi, a grad student in Chicago, was in support of the work stoppages carried out by dockworkers in Belgium and Spain to block arms shipments destined for Israeli military use: “I think they’re really powerful to hit the institutions the global economy runs on—making them not be able to run the capitalist economy we live in—by creating work stoppages is the only way to really materially fight back. I think protests like this are important to show support for those movements and show workers there’s support if they choose to engage in that. Hit them where it hurts, in the money pockets.

“I think capitalism is the reason why so many governments around the world are backing Israel. The US has so many capital investments in Israel and I think that’s why they want to continue backing the illegitimate state of Israel. It’s ironic that Israel was supposed to be created because of racism against Jews, but now that racism is being perpetrated even further against Palestinians. In terms of a one-state versus two-state solution, I think ideally the state of Israel would cease to exist and land would be returned to Palestinian people, and all Palestinian and Israeli people would be able to live together in one state equally.”