Student and worker protests against Gaza genocide
The slaughter in Gaza, currently being carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with the full political, military, and economic support of US imperialism and its NATO allies, continues to provoke broad opposition on school campuses, outside weapons companies, and in the streets of major cities.
Today, and over the last 48 hours, protests against the ongoing genocide in Gaza have erupted in cities across the world. The latest demonstrations are a continuation of the global movement that has emerged against the war over the last month. Despite their size and scope—the largest anti-war protests since the Iraq war protests in 2003—they have been censored and then slandered in the mainstream Western press.
The latest protests, like those that came before it, include workers, youth, and many Jewish people, refuting the lie advanced by Zionists and right-wing political parties in every country that opposition to the capitalist state of Israel and its current ethnic cleansing campaign is an expression of “antisemitism.”
On Thursday, President Joe Biden reaffirmed that his administration will do nothing to stop the slaughter, telling reporters that there was no chance of a ceasefire: “None. No possibility.”
IDF artillery and aircraft, with the support of two US aircraft carrier strike groups, continue to carry out military strikes against civilians and non-military infrastructure.
Videos have emerged showing thousands of Gazans, many waving white flags, marching miles south under the barrels of IDF guns, abandoning their homes and possessions in the process.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, over 10,800 have been killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7. Another 150 Palestinians have been slain in the occupied West Bank by Israeli security forces over the same period, including 44 children, according to the UN.
On Thursday, the UN reported that seven more aid workers had been killed in the Strip, bringing the total to 99, and observing that this was “the highest number of United Nations aid workers killed in a conflict in the history the United Nations.”
While capitalist governments co-sign and endorse ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, workers and youth throughout the world continue to register their opposition.
At the London School of Economics and Kings College London, hundreds of students participated in mass walkouts against the genocide. Rebuking the entire political establishment and the right-wing press, students defiantly chanted, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!”
Later on in the evening, dozens of healthcare workers staged a march calling for a ceasefire now and a stop to the occupation.
The previous night in London, protesters demonstrated outside the Thales Group, a French multinational weapons company. Protesters smeared the building in red paint and blocked entrances.
Protests against weapons manufacturers supplying arms to Israel also took place in the United States and Canada. In West Hartford, Connecticut up to 100 people protested outside the Colt’s arms manufacturing plant on New Park Ave. early Thursday morning. Protesters held signs that read “Stop Arming Genocide” and “Shut it Down for Palestine.”
Speaking to CT Insider, Mika Zarazvand said that Israel is requesting 24,000 guns from the US and, “we know that two-thirds of them are going to come from Colt.” CT Insider reported that Colt refused to respond to the allegation that it is selling weapons to the IDF.
In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, a group of protesters with Labour 4 Palestine blocked the entrances to GeoSpectrum, a subsidiary of Elbit, one of the leading suppliers of weapons to Israel. Protesters held signs calling for “Ceasefire now!” and “Stop the genocide, free Palestine.”
In Vancouver, protesters who identified themselves “in solidarity with #BlockTheBoat and #StopArmingIsrael global actions” demonstrated in the offices of ZIM, the largest Israeli-owned shipping line in the world as well as Scotiabank.
Early Thursday morning, hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters occupied Union Station in Toronto. Banners carried by demonstrators called for an end to the illegal blockade of Palestine and for a ceasefire.
On college campuses across the United States, thousands of students are heeding the call to “Shut It Down for Palestine” and are participating in mass walkouts and marches including in New York, Iowa, Washington, and South Carolina.
The World Socialist Web Site will be updating this article with reports from protests around the United States.
Thousands protest Biden’s Chicago visit, denouncing him as “Genocide Joe”
Over 5,000 workers and youth gathered in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood Thursday night to protest President Joe Biden’s campaign fundraiser event.
Protesters were met with a heavy police and security presence at the corner of Armour and Hubbard. Nevertheless, protestors loudly denounced Biden as “Genocide Joe,” as he arrived at the fundraising venue shortly after 4 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Biden was in Belvidere, Illinois at a rally with UAW President Shawn Fain and J.B. Pritzker, the billionaire governor of Illinois, to promote the sellout UAW-company contracts as a “historic victory.”
Fain has ignored the call by the Palestinian trade unions to refuse to manufacture or distribute war materiel for Israel. Instead, Fain promotes Biden as a “friend of workers.” In reality, Biden is responsible for numerous attacks on the working class that have degraded the living standards of autoworkers, single mothers, students and millions more. Biden, with bipartisan support in Congress, shut down the rail strike last year. He is backing Netanyahu as Israel commits continual war crimes against the Palestinians.
By contrast, rank-and-file autoworker and socialist candidate for UAW president Will Lehman has called on workers around the world to stop all production of weapons for the Israeli military. A TikTok video statement published by Lehman calling on workers to take action against the genocide has been watched by thousands internationally.
At the rally in Belvidere, Biden was interrupted by a Code Pink protester who demanded Biden call for a ceasefire by Israel.
“President Biden, you need to call for a ceasefire in Gaza,” the protester screamed. “10,000 Palestinians have been killed in one month, half of them have been children! There is a genocide happening in Gaza.” The protester was escorted out by the Democratic Party apparatus and security.
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) tabled at the protest later in the afternoon in Chicago. Young people responded very favorably to the perspective of the WSWS and the IYSSE.
Those who stopped at the table were not aware that Biden was there to meet with UAW President Shawn Fain earlier in the day. Protesters were disgusted when they found out Fain and the UAW bureaucracy were backing “Genocide Joe.”
Reporters from the WSWS spoke to a number of those in attendance. Andrew, a Chicago Public Schools teacher who joined the protest on short notice after work, said, “The money spent could be diverted to benefit education.” He added, “and it would be like a divine intervention for some of my students to get the services they need that are legally required that they are not getting in public schools.
“Students are lacking special education services, counseling, food, clothing—everything. I’m only able to provide so much and after I clock out in the afternoon, I can’t do anything more.
“I don’t know what the teachers union has said about this, but I know a lot of teachers are concerned about the situation and are concerned about what the students are seeing in regards to what’s on social media. We want to make sure the information they’re getting is factual.”
Andrew spoke in opposition to recent remarks made by the White House that pointed to plans to send US troops to assist in the military campaign against the Palestinian people: “I don’t think there should be funding going towards that, I think it needs to go toward helping the community here and aid for Palestine.”
Another protester told the WSWS, “As a Puerto Rican, this is very important to me. Palestine is a colony. The fight for Palestine is also a fight for Puerto Rico, it’s a fight for human rights, it’s a fight against fascism. We should unite all people across all people, across nations, to unite against this genocide.
“We already have enough weapons, and we don’t need any more… We need basic human rights. People should be able to grow up without the fear of violence.”
John, an audio-visual technician attending the protest against Biden, said, “The media is promoting a negative image of Palestinians. Nobody is really telling the truth about the conflict, which is really about imperialism that dates to the early 19th century that people are still paying for today.
“It has nothing to do with safety for Jewish people. Any of the Jewish people who I have seen are speaking out against the Zionist state, doing activism for Palestinians in Israel, have been harassed. And it’s not just Jews or Muslims, it’s anyone who goes against this capitalist oligarchic machine.
“There were Jewish people who lived in Palestine before 1939, and they lived in peace with Muslims and Christians who were there. Until imperialism came along and all the bigger nations started to oppress people who didn’t have a voice. I think that it was in a way antisemitic for the US to support creating a Jewish state, so they didn’t have to welcome them in this country [during and after WWII]. I think there is a solution, not a two-state solution though.”
John reacted to the social reality of unlimited funding for war by both Democrats and Republicans, while conditions of life for working class people only grew more desperate. “It gives me a feeling of spite, almost. How dare they? We are all people, but somehow because I’m not born into a family with money, my life and my opinion are worth less. That’s the way of the world.
“We are coming out of oligarchies and a small group of people controlling the large corporations. Those are the people who give money to Israel, in the small group. The majority of millions of people here, in India and Indonesia are marching.
“We have to figure out a way to hit them where it hurts. They don’t live like we do and they don’t experience hardships every day like we do, so they think they don’t have to listen to us. We have to figure out a way to make them listen to us.
In response to the ICFI’s perspective on mobilizing the working class to demand an end to the genocide and halt all production and shipment of arms to the Israeli military, John replied, “That’s powerful.”
Healthcare students lead large protest at University of California San Diego against Gaza genocide, “Our government doesn’t care”
Multiple protests against the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinians were held in San Diego on Thursday, with the two largest at various locations at UC San Diego. In a separate protest, another 800-1000 demonstrated outside the offices of Northrop Grumman, the world’s third-largest weapons manufacturer.
Some 200 medical students, resident physicians, and UCSD students initially rallied outside the T. Denny Sanford Medical Education and Telemedicine building. They then marched to meet up with another group of hundreds of medical students who walked out in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Another large rally was held in front of the Geisel Library on campus.
The World Socialist Web Site spoke to medical students and healthcare workers who condemned the genocide taking place. Many put themselves in the shoes of the healthcare workers being bombed in hospitals with already crumbling infrastructure, lack of clean water, gas and electricity.
A PGY-2 resident physician told the WSWS, “It’s the responsibility of healthcare workers to put an end to this state-sanctioned violence and senseless genocide.”
One medical student who addressed the crowd described how Gazan healthcare workers are being pushed beyond the limits, “fearing the next bodies who come through those doors will be family, but you cannot think, you just have to keep moving, you are the only thing left powering this hospital, and they depend on you. You are their only hope. This is what our Gazan colleagues are experiencing. These are people like us doing the best they can in a system not made for them to succeed… all while watching the people they love die… but they don’t give up.”
New York City students walk out to protest Gaza genocide after over 1,000 march on United Nations
Protests against the Gaza genocide took place in New York City on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, over 1,000 people marched to the United Nations demanding an immediate ceasefire.
Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke to a number of protesters.
Alison, who works in marketing and holds dual US and UK citizenship, said, “I understand what the Balfour Declaration and colonialism are about—a history of apartheid, greed, subjugation of people of color. It is disgusting that [being] against support for Israel is labeled as antisemitism. [Former Labor Party leader] Corbyn did not defend against that in the UK and that is why [present Labor Party leader] Starmer is afraid and cannot get elected and is in a hell of a lot of trouble. It turns my stomach how the US and the UK unequivocally support Israel.
“I agree that turning to the working class for industrial action is a reasonable point of leverage for the international protests. And no one should pay for taxes for this. We should not be contributing to three and a half billion dollars so America can have a foot in the Middle East.”
Alison stressed, “The protests cannot head for back to business as usual. Yesterday it was Election Day and my daughter said voting will not work. There is a new generation of young people who have been radicalized by the protests. But protests since Vietnam have not been effective for changing the regime. America is not a democracy.”
Another protester told the WSWS that the “world is really waking up!” in the age of “social media.”
On Thursday, hundreds of students and young people walked out of class in New York City demanding a ceasefire now and massing on the steps of the New York Public Library. The New York City Department of Education said nearly 800 students walked out of class Thursday.
As students marched they chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and carried signs reading, “How many more need to die for you to call it a genocide?”
WSWS supporters distributed over 500 copies of recent statements on Gaza and spoke with attendees. Ali, who works in the observatory in the World Trade Center, said, “I am against the loss of innocent life. I believe Israel is committing genocide.
“I am in favor of workers not shipping military equipment to Israel,” he added.
“Also, there are a number of countries in the Middle East that are complicit to these crimes. I am talking about the governments and not the people. Dubai has not spoken against what Israel is doing. Egypt is another country that I am talking about. They have only allowed a small number of supplies to reach Gaza.”
Hundreds of protesters occupied the New York Times building where they read the names and ages of thousands of Gazans murdered in just over a month. As of this writing, police have begun to arrest protesters in the building.
“Until Palestine is free, none of us are free”: nearly 100 protest at University of Nevada-Las Vegas
On Thursday over 75 people, including many young people and students, protested the Israeli genocide, and US support for it, at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. This is one of several protests that have been held in Clark County over the past couple of weeks opposing the Biden administration’s fulsome support for Israeli war crimes.
A WSWS reporter handed out dozens of leaflets to protesters and spoke with several on why they attended the protest and how they saw the current situation.
“I think what Israel is doing is very horrible, it’s inhumane and the fact that the West is supporting it shows what our politicians support and that’s unacceptable,” a young man told the WSWS. “I think we shouldn’t promote that at all.
Asked to comment on the recent censure of Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress and one of the few to call for a ceasefire, he replied, “I think it’s horrible it’s an impeachment of freedom of speech I think that shouldn’t be legal or promoted anywhere.”
The protester, who did not wish to be publicly identified out of fear of reprisal, rejected claims advanced by capitalist politicians, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, that justified the military campaign against Gazans because of Hamas: “I think a lot of people pivot towards Hamas when talking about the civilian aspect of Palestine. And I think there’s a clear separation between those. So I disagree with Bernie Sanders. Hamas isn’t the civilians and connecting them is justifying war crimes.”
A young worker said she “came out here because this is something that is very important and something I’ve cared about for a long time, but more so in the shadows because I’ve feared being alienated and viewed as antisemitic.”
“My boyfriend’s family are Zionists,” she continued, “and that was also something that made it hard for me to speak honestly about where I stand. But even though it’s painful being excommunicated by his whole family, and that hurts, nothing really compares to the pain and suffering that Palestinians are going through and have been going through for a very long time. And that’s why I’ve come to the protests and been to each one that they’ve had here in Vegas.
“Not only does our government fund this genocide, but we have funded so much terror abroad and even on the land we are currently standing on as we speak.
“Until Palestine is free, none of us are free. So I don’t want to think of being here as an altruistic action, but as a symbol of my awareness of how not showing up for others when they need us guarantees that they won’t show up for us when we need help.”
Pro-Palestine demonstrators brave Zionist/fascist violence to counter-protest IDF propaganda film in Los Angeles, California
On Wednesday night a tense protest outside the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California descended into violence after Zionist-fascists attacked pro-Palestinian protesters with fists and flagpoles.
At least one Zionist protester was arrested after he threatened to shoot pro-Palestinian demonstrators, according to police. Social media video shows Zionists draped in the flag of Israel cursing at a Jewish woman while another demands she show him her genitals to prove she is Jewish.
One of the pro-Israel fascists was seen wearing body armor with a “Punisher” skull decal, popular with neo-Nazis, and the flag of the state of Israel on his chest. Another pro-Israel protester identified himself as “Skinhead against racial prejudice” and demanded pro-Palestinian protesters “take that mask off.”
The Museum of Tolerance bills itself as a Holocaust museum, but by agreeing to a special screening of the IDF propaganda film Bearing Witness on Wednesday, it revealed itself as nothing but a proxy for the Israeli government and an accomplice to genocide. The 43-minute “film” was created by the Israeli government in the wake of the Hamas attacks on October 7, and has been screened to members of the Knesset and other imperialist governments to bolster support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign.
The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that Hollywood “actress” and former IDF soldier Gal Gadot was not present at Wednesday’s screening, however, “her husband, Israeli film producer Jason Varsano” was one of several film and television producers to attend the screening.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Melissa Zukerman, a publicist with the Principal Communications Group, was the main organizer of the screening. At the event she thanked “a former IDF spokesperson Amnon Sheffler and former Isreali intelligence officer Sara Greenberg” for working with her to set up the screening. Sheffler, the Reporter noted, attended the screening in his IDF uniform.
“They brought this screening to life,” Zukerman said. After Zukerman spoke, Greenberg said it was her quest to organize screenings like this, “across the United States.”
Other attendees at the event included Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz, Golda film director Guy Nattiv, and Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, who told attendees “screening this footage is of the utmost importance,” because “it will change the way you view the Middle East and the way you view the war in Gaza.” Erdan compared Hamas to the Nazis, concluding that “Hamas must be eradicated … If Israel doesn’t eradicate this evil, mark my words: The West is next.”
18 students arrested at Brown University for participating in sit-in against genocide
At least 18 students were arrested at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island Wednesday for participating in a sit-in to demand the university divest from companies with ties to the Israeli government.
The Boston Globe reported that the sit-in began at about 1 p.m. Wednesday and lasted for several hours. After 5 p.m. police arrested every student participating in the sit-in and charged them with willful trespassing.
In a statement issued by “Jews for a Ceasefire Now,” the students wrote, “we, BrownU Jews for Ceasefire Now, call on Brown University to do its part to promote an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace by divesting its endowment from companies that enable war crimes in Gaza.” The students called on Brown University President Christina Paxson to publicly commit and contribute to “global calls for ceasefire by committing to divestment now.”
Lily Gardner, a sophomore at Brown told the Globe, “I think this was really necessary to break through the rhetoric, and without claims that this belief is antisemitic.” Gardner told the Globe that 20 students were arrested. Prior to the arrests, approximately 150 students had gathered near the University Hall in support of the protest.