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Protest in Milwaukee against the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

By Ryan Hamann

Milwaukee protests visit by Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer.

Milwaukee, WI – On June 3, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer visited Milwaukee and spoke at the local Rotary Club at the War Memorial Center to discuss the recent move of the U.S. Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. During his address, Dermer made it clear that the move represents “one of the greatest decisions in the history of Zionism.”

Outside the building where Dermer was giving his address, a group of 70 protesters gathered with flags, signs and megaphones. The demonstration was organized by several local groups, including Jewish Voices for Peace-Milwaukee, Peace Action Wisconsin, and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network-Milwaukee.

A few of the participants managed to gain access to the event to give cues to the protesters on the outside. Those listening to the address communicated when the ambassador was speaking and whether or not they could hear the chanting from the outside. Demonstrators were pleased to hear that their messages were loud and clear and had a definite impact on the atmosphere of the room.

Samir Moukaddam, a Milwaukee activist leader and co-organizer of the protest, said that the Rotary event was set up in an effort to protect the Israeli ambassador from any kind of criticism from the community.

“The #ApartheidAmbassador event was purposely held in a way to shield the extremist Ambassador Ron Dermer from facing the truths of his criminal regime and its alliances in the U.S. with neo-cons, Islamophobics, fascists, anti-Semites and the Trump administration,” Moukaddam said. “Our protest succeeded in cracking that shield and sent a strong message that we will expose his lies and whitewashings of the crimes of the Israeli regime.”

At one point during the protest, several of the organizers handed out flyers with the names of the Palestinian martyrs who have been killed by the Israeli occupation since the beginning of the Great March of Return on March 30. A few protesters read the names of the slain and the rest of the group chanted in unison “We remember you!” directing their voices at the building so the ambassador and his audience might hear.

When the speaking event came to a close, the protesters marched down to the parking lot, outside the only exit from the building. As the attendees filtered out one-by-one, protesters showered them with chants of “Shame!” “Shame on you!” “Shame on Israel!” “Free, free Palestine!” and “Long live Palestine!”

Ambassador Dermer made an effort during his speech to try to connect Milwaukee to the growth and development of Zionism through the person of Golda Meir, who served as Israel’s fourth prime minister from 1969 to 1970. However, if this demonstration was any indicator, the people of Milwaukee reject wholesale the genocidal apartheid regime in Israel and stand in full support of the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.

#MilwaukeeWI #AntiwarMovement #Palestine #MiddleEast #PeoplesStruggles #Israel #Antiracism