Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

D.C. Rally Calls for End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

D.C. Rally Calls for End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Article excerpt

Offering both a public display of support for Palestinians and a public renunciation of U.S. aid to Israel, organizers with the September15 Organization, a group named for the International Day of Democracy, led a rally that day in Washington, DC. Meeting in front of the State Department at 6 p.m., protesters proceeded to march to the White House, where they arrived around 7:30 chanting, "Free, free Palestine." The 50 demonstrators spent about an hour delivering various chants and speeches in front of the White House.

While the rally took place several days before Palestine applied for statehood with the United Nations, rally participants for the most part did not address the topic of statehood for Palestine. Explaining the decision to take a neutral position on the issue, rally organizer Sarah Weatherbee said the group advocates "for a rights-based solution, whether it's one state, two states, or no state." Elaborating, she stressed that the organization is concerned with ensuring that Palestinians "enjoy the same rights as everyone else, regardless of their race, regardless of their religion, regardless of whatever background they come from."

Given the focus on this theme, ralliers opted to emphasize the $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel. Arguing that U.S. aid to Israel funds human rights abuses and supports an illegal occupation, those gathered at the White House urged Washington to reconsider its current monetary support of Israel. Lamenting that President Barack Obama "has not taken a strong enough stand for the Palestinians, for human rights," Weatherbee explained that the rally participants could not understand why "the Israelis are prioritized above the Palestinians" and why Palestinians are made out to be "lesser human beings. …

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