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Tampa demands, “No bombs on Gaza!”

By Jessica Schwartz

Tampa protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza

Tampa, FL – 20 community and student activists protested here, Aug. 26, to stand with Palestine and demand, “No bombs on Gaza!”

The Tampa Anti-War Committee (TAWC) organized the action in response to the 50 airstrikes Israel launched against Gaza on Aug. 21. The airstrikes were some of the harshest attacks on Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, in which Israel murdered over 2000 Palestinians. They demanded “No more airstrikes,” “Free Palestine,” “End U.S. aid to Israel,” and “Free Palestinian political prisoners.”

Rahma Elmohd of Students for Justice in Palestine spoke out against the media’s use of the ‘terrorist tunnel’ myth as a reason for the airstrikes. “As Western media scramble to justify Israel’s military actions, we have come together to demand that Israel stop its current and future military attacks against Gaza,” Elmohd said.

Protesters demanded an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Bill Aiman from TAWC emceed the rally, and talked about Tampa’s connections to Israel. Aiman said, “The Tampa Bay area is home to 13 defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, which supplies the Israeli Air Force with fighter jets, the same fighter jets that are being used to bomb Gaza.”

Tori Stratis of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society said, “Students across the U.S. struggle to pay for education, and owe thousands of dollars in loans, but the U.S. government has no problem investing one third of its military budget in aid to Israel.”

Elizabeth Kramer of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization spoke about Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, who recently ended his 71-day hunger strike, and Chicago-based activist Rasmea Odeh, who goes back to court in September in an ongoing case of political repression with trumped-up immigration violation charges. Kramer said, “The Israeli government seeks to capture and isolate strong leaders from the toiling Palestinian masses, in an attempt to stunt the Palestinian liberation movement and maintain their control over the Palestinian people, their land and resources.”

The Tampa Anti-War Committee will continue to hold actions against U.S. and U.S.-backed wars around the world, as well as demanding justice for Rasmea Odeh and other targets of political repression.

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