St Paul, MN – 100 people rallied at the weekly Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) bannering at rush hour at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Avenues, November 17. People gathered to show their outrage of against the Israeli bombings on children, hospitals, homes and schools.
They chanted, “Hey Biden what do you say, how many kids did you kill today?” “Netanyahu you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “Not another nickel not another dime, no more money for Israel’s war crimes.” They held signs and banners calling for an “End to U.S. aid to Israel,” to “Free Palestine” and “To Let Gaza live.” The response from motorists passing by continued to be unanimously positive and loud.
Penny Gardner, a member of WAMM and a retired nurse, spoke to the crowd. She said that she couldn’t possibly imagine what the nurses are going through to take care of the injured people in Gaza today. She read an article written by a Gazan nurse working at Al Shifa Hospital. The letter stated, “24 hours a day, every hour, every minute we receive injured patients. Hundreds every day. Their injuries are horrific and devastating. We don’t have enough supplies, enough gauze, enough medicines, enough pain killers. 2000 people are on the waiting list for emergency surgeries. It’s a health catastrophe. It’s overwhelming but we keep going.”
Erin Gable, member of the MN Anti-War Committee, talked of being welcomed into a Palestinian family, “I have seen through their eyes the strength of resistance and compassion that shine through the cracks of memory of war and occupation.” She went on to say, “I am Irish and my people knew the forced withholding and monopolizing of resources by the British. We were called terrorists for our resistance. After the ceasefire in 1921 the British immediately went to Palestine and the same forces that terrorized us, terrorized the Palestinians to the nth degree.”
Bob Goonin, member of the Boycott Divest and Sanctions community said to the crowd, ”The BDS movement works to end international complicity in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and it draws its inspiration from the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. BDS has three goals. Equal rights for Palestinian citizens living in Israel, to end the colonization of Palestinian lands, and the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Some have charged that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. As a jew I am here to tell you that is a lie.”
Gillian Rath, representing SDS at the University of MN, also spoke, “Historically and certainly right now, students have been at the forefront of anti-war movements. All the way back to the very first Vietnam war protests, to protesting the war on Iraq and now protesting the genocide in Palestine, students have been one of the loudest voices saying ‘no’ to U.S. intervention. We have had many political wins and we have mobilized thousands. But this does not come without a fight. Administrators and public officials know that students are powerful and they are scared of us.”
Rath continued, “A couple of weeks ago, in the state of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis banned the presence of Students for Justice in Palestine at universities in Florida. The same week, a group of students here in Minnesota from Edina High school were harassed by faculty and are now facing suspension for participating in a national walkout for Palestine. Student activists at universities across the country have been facing so much backlash. I feel like every day I see videos on social media of protesters on campuses being harassed and violated. These attacks are racist, xenophobic and just absolutely disgusting. These are attempts to suppress the student movement. Now more than ever, student activists need to stand up and fight back.”
Protesters were encouraged to keep coming out. Protests on Saturday and Sunday were announced.