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Minnesotans show solidarity with Gaza during Final Four tournament

By Meredith Aby

Protest against U.S. support for Israel in front of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office.

Minneapolis, MN – The Anti-War Committee and Women Against Military Madness held a picket in front of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, April 5, to draw attention to her record of voting for U.S. military aid to Israel and her recent meeting with AIPAC during its national convention.

The action was during the opening day for the Final Four basketball tournament, which was also in downtown Minneapolis. Basketball fans heard chants of “From Mexico to Palestine, all the walls have got to go!” and “Heh, Klobuchar don’t you know? Aid to Israel has got to go!” as they drove towards US Bank Stadium.

April marks the 71st anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre, in the Palestinian village where in 1948 100 men, women and children were systematically murdered by Israeli commandos. Every year Palestinians across the world mark Deir Yassin and demand the right to return to their homeland. This year, however, the Deir Yassin anniversary coincides with a growing resistance movement in Gaza and an ongoing brutal Israeli military response.

Sarah Martin, a member of Women Against Military Madness, spoke to the crowd of protesters and basketball fans about the critical situation in Palestine, “Heroic people of Gaza have marched every Friday for a year by the tens of thousands they have gathered and participated in tent city sit-ins and protests along Gaza’s eastern boundary to protest Israel’s decade-long siege on the territory, and to demand their internationally guaranteed right of return to their villages on the other side of the boundary fence from which their families had been forcibly displaced. Two-thirds of Gaza’s population of 2 million are refugees hailing from lands now inside Israel.”

Autumn Lake, a member of the Anti-War Committee led chants and also spoke to the crowd about Klobuchar’s role, as a presidential candidate and a senator, in aiding Israel’s attacks of Palestinians, “No component of Klobuchar's platform exemplifies this more than her consistent and enthusiastic support for the U.S.'s aggressive foreign policy; when it comes to foreign intervention and militarism, her voting record looks like that of any of the worst Republicans that Congress has to offer.”

Lake continued, “Like the most militant of warhawk politicians, this has led Klobuchar to portray herself as a friend of Israel. Her voting record includes the penalization of the BDS – Boycott Divestment Sanctions – movement and authorizing President Donald Trump to transfer precision-guided munitions to the Israeli state. Israel's own legacy of violence and repression doesn't seem to factor into Klobuchar's political platform. Almost 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli repressive apparatus since September 29, 2000. Two thousand of those killed were children. Over 6000 Palestinians are being held as political prisoners in Israel. Almost 50,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. As Israel has intensified its efforts to disenfranchise, displace and kill Palestinians in recent years, Klobuchar has not wavered in her support.”

She concluded, “Klobuchar said publicly that she would boycott the 2019 AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] conference but in March she met with AIPAC representatives in her office during that week in an effort to try to get votes as a presidential candidate. We are here to say that she can't hide from us. We know she sides with AIPAC and are here to call her on her silence about the 56 children killed by Israel and the 120 children arrested within the occupied West Bank by Israeli Defense Forces in 2018. As her constituents, we know her record and we aren't going to let her claim that she ‘boycotted’ the AIPAC conference or that she cares about the human rights of Palestinians!”

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