Chicago rallies for Palestine on International Al Quds Day
Chicago, IL – 200 people rallied in solidarity with Palestine on Al Quds Day. Al Quds is Jerusalem in Arabic. Joe Iosbaker of the Anti-War Committee-Chicago, spoke at the rally, making the following remarks:
“One year ago, Israel launched a 51-day bombing campaign against Gaza. 2300 deaths, including over 500 children, were the result.
We are gathering today as part of the International Day of Al Quds.
Today, I am here to demand an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Israeli officials are war mongers. In their propaganda, they claim that they minimize the deaths of civilians by the pinpoint accuracy of their bombs and missiles. Yet over 500 children died last summer, and a majority of the 2300 deaths are civilians.
Is there any truth to what the Israelis say? Yes, I believe that their weapons are pinpoint accurate. I believe it because they are made by companies like Boeing, headquartered in Chicago. Many of the bombs dropped in the past three wars on Gaza were equipped with GPS systems made by Boeing. Boeing promises that their smart bombs will hit within 30 feet of their targets.
The Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance system also has a camera on it which sends the pilot that launches them a photo just before impact, so the pilot can make last second adjustments for greater accuracy. Like the drone operators, the Israeli pilots can see the kids, the women and the elderly that they are hitting just before impact.
The civilian deaths then aren’t accidental. They are calculated to cause the greatest suffering to the Palestinian people, to break their will to resist.
We who live in the U.S. have a special responsibility – to oppose the U.S. backing of the Israeli murderers; the $3 billion annually in military aid; and the American corporations that invest in Israel to keep their apartheid system going.
I want to speak about the movement in solidarity with Palestine here in the U.S. This past week has seen more victories for the BDS campaign, with the United Church of Christ overwhelmingly voting to cut their ties with companies that are invested in Israel.
The week before, there was the news that direct foreign investment in Israel had fallen by 50% over the previous year.
Israel is facing the same reality as South Africa did when it was under white minority rule. Only the U.S. government, the worst oppressors in the world, will continue to back Israel.
But they can’t hold back the tide. Israel is living on stolen land and borrowed time.
Of course, they can make a lot of people suffer. Even here in Chicago, we have an example of this in the case of Rasmea Odeh. Rasmea is a Palestinian, who was a victim of Israeli occupation 45 years ago. She was tortured by Israeli occupation prison guards until she confessed to a bombing. After she was released from Israeli prison in a prisoner exchange, she immigrated to the U.S. with her dad, a U.S. citizen. She became a citizen and a leader in her community here in Chicago. Then, the U.S. Department of Justice came after her as part of their attack on the Palestine support movement. Now she faces being imprisoned and deported because she didn’t say on her application for citizenship that she had been tortured by the Israelis.
In September, we will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to be in court when Rasmea appeals her conviction. Please plan to go there with us, so the judges can see the breadth of her community support.”