The massive outpouring of protest to end Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza, which is fully supported by President Biden and carried out by U.S. planes and bombs, put Congressional Democrats in the position of defending the indefensible. Those who have any accountability to their progressive constituents have tried to modify their position since the conflict started on Oct. 7 towards supporting a ceasefire in the bloody Israel-Hamas war. Rep. Ayanna Pressley clearly called for a ceasefire in the first days of the conflict and cosponsored the Ceasefire Now resolution on Oct. 16. She was joined by Rep. McGovern who first voiced a ceasefire call on October 17, but has still declined to sign the resolution. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren expressed concern for Palestinian civilians on Nov. 2; Warren called for an end to Israeli air bombardment on Nov. 17 , and finally called for an extended ceasefire after a temporary truce was announced on Nov. 23. But Reps. Clark, Trahan, Moulton, Neal, Keating, and Lynch have said little to distance themselves from the slaughter.
Near daily protests across the Commonwealth continue to push elected officials to call for a ceasefire. Following is a sampling.
The newly formed Boston Coalition for Palestine united 35 organizations to hold the Rally to Return for a Ceasefire Now on November 12. Some 3,000 people started in Copley Square, Boston, heard speakers and then marched, chanting loudly, through the Back Bay and across the Mass. Ave. bridge to MIT.
Dorchester – Rep. Pressley and Rep. Lynch
In Dorchester, 200 enthusiastic and dedicated activists gathered for a rally November 7 on behalf of a ceasefire in Gaza. The protestors assembled on three corners of the intersection between Massachusetts Avenue and Columbia Road as well as on the island in the middle of the intersection. One woman and her friend had spent over an hour coming by train and bus from Everett, MA, to express solidarity with the Palestinians and all the groups around the world that are trying to stop the slaughter of civilians in Gaza. The weather was mild, the solidarity was strong, the feelings ranged from grief to rage to joy in cohesiveness and an enhanced commitment to ending genocide. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of cars, trucks, vans, bicycles, and pedestrians reinforced the efforts of the protestors by honking horns, cheering, waving, accepting flyers, and shaking hands. – Kathie Malley-Morrison
Two weeks later, 50 activists gathered at Ashmont Station for Dorchester People for Peace’s second standout for the children, women and men of Gaza. As the sky darkened more and more people joined us to call for “Ceasefire Now in Gaza”; “American Jews say NO to US Military Aid to Israel; “Let Gaza Live”; “Anti Zionism is not Antisemitic”; “No more billions for weapons for Israel”; and “Dorchester for Gaza”! Veterans for Peace brought their anti-war focus to the event. Together we passed out flyers, held up signs, chanted and drummed. Cars passing by slowed to read our signs, some honked in support. We heard people say they were glad to have the opportunity to express their anger at our government’s support for the genocide being perpetrated by Israel. Our call is for an immediate ceasefire and for Israel to be held accountable for the deaths of unarmed civilians, patients in hospitals, newborn babies. Out of 14,000 dead some 4000 or so are children. Genocide comes in many forms. When someone dies because it is too cold, or from starvation, or not being treated for illness, or for lack of water, or because the incubator did not have enough heat to warm little newborn babies, that is also a form of genocide. – Hayat Imam
Salem – Rep. Moulton
On Nov. 13, 20-25 of us stood out in front of Rep. Moulton’s Salem office. In the foreground are representations of dead children wrapped in bloody sheets. In front of the demonstrators is a coffin. District Director, Rick Jakious listened to Fawaz Abusharkh for an extended period. He then invited us, 3 at a time, to speak to aids who would send our messages to Moulton.
On Nov. 20, 25 Moulton constituents assembled outside his Salem office to once again demand that he advocate for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel/ Hamas war. MAPA’s Susan Nicholson presented a letter to one of Moulton’s aides referring referring to a suit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) that names President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Austin as guilty of the crime of complicity in genocide. I handed another aide a hard copy of JVP’s Health Advocacy Committee’s most recent compilation of deaths, injuries, detentions, etc. in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon. Most of those in attendance entered the office, two at a time, so that aides could record their personal messages to Moulton. Attendees represented the House of Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, MAPA, North Shore for Palestine, and Veterans for Peace. – Bob Mason
On Nov. 25, activists were back at Moulton’s office for a die-in. People lay down to represent the thousands who have died in Gaza. The demonstrators brought caskets and used red paint to symbolize the death and bloodshed caused by the war.
Newton – Rep. Auchincloss
A group of 25 people gathered at Rep. Auchincloss’ Newton office Nov. 17 for a solemn observance. They read the names and ages of Palestinian children who have been killed by Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of civilians in Gaza. After the ceremony, the group delivered a 85-page document listing the names and ages of 2,774 children that were reported killed as of Oct. 26. – Susan Mirsky
Attleboro – Rep. Auchincloss
Of the several events that have been held up and down our state’s fourth Congressional District, the one held on Sunday, November 19th in downtown Attleboro was the largest, having brought some 350 people to the district office of Rep. Jake Auchincloss. The interfaith event, cosponsored by Justice for All, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jewish Voice for Peace, and MAPA, was convened to demand that he call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. It opened and closed with prayers led by a local Imam for the thousands suffering in the siege. Among the speakers was a community member who has lost 20 members of her family in the Israeli bombardment. Another speaker, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, decried accusations of antisemitism, asserting that supporters of an immediate and permanent ceasefire are inspired by time-honored Jewish values that cherish and protect all human life. Bustling crowds of young and old stood at every corner of the busy intersection, and included many families with young children. Many wore keffiyehs, held homemade signs and waved oversized Palestinian flags while chanting of “Enough is enough! Ceasefire Now!”- Maryellen Kurkulos
Watertown – Rep. Clark
Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment held a Silent Stand Out in Watertown Square Nov. 19. About 100 people from Watertown, Arlington, Belmont, Newton, Cambridge, Waltham, and Boston lined all the streets converging at the square holding signs declaring opposition to the brutal murders taking place in Gaza.. The support from passing vehicles was terrific.
BU prof. Assaf Kfoury, who is of Palestinian and Lebanese background, spoke passionately about the disproportionate response of Israel to the October 7 attack by Hamas, and of the devastating destruction of health facilities and other sources of humanitarian aid in Gaza. “The media has tried to convince us that this genocide of the indigenous people of Palestine is necessary to prevent another holocaust of the Jewish population of Israel, and that no one has the right to invoke the holocaust other than Jews….The violence of the oppressed is always condemned as terrorism, the violence of the oppressor is invariably excused as counter-terrorism,” said Kfoury.
Abby Yanow, member of WCPJE, JVP, and MAPA, said that her activism arises from the Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam, which means Repairing the World – standing up for the oppressed and seeking social justice. “For us peace activists, the divide is not between Israelis and Palestinians but rather, between those who believe in the use of violence to resolve conflicts and those who do not. What we are seeing in Gaza is ethnic cleansing and genocidal actions. It is impossible not to see it. We are outraged that the US is providing the arms and the bombs for this invasion, paid for by our tax dollars,” she commented. – Jeanne Trubek
200 people gathered outside Cambridge City Hall on Nov. 20 to press the Cambridge City Council to vote for a ceasefire resolution. Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and Councilor Quinton Zondervan supported the move, but the other seven councilors, led by Patty Nolan, abstained, effectively killing the motion.
Raytheon Antiwar Campaign challenged the war profiteer’s provision of weapons to Israel in two rallies in Harvard Square, Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, each drawing about 30 people.
A big crowd gathered outside Puma’s Assembly Row store on Black Friday, Nov 25, to boycott the footwear and apparel store over its ties to Israel.
Plymouth – Rep. Keating
The Day of Mourning, an annual event organized by United American Indians of New England (UAINE), drew 2,000 Native and non-Native attendees this year and foregrounded the US-supported genocide in Gaza. Mahtowin Munro, co-leader of UAINE, pointed out that Palestinians are an indigenous people oppressed by settler-colonialism, like Native Americans in the United States. The group paraded through downtown Plymouth for hours, chanting “Free, Free Palestine!” alongside “Land Back!” – Cole Harrison
Quincy – Rep. Lynch
About 60 people gathered at Rep. Stephen Lynch’s office in Quincy Center Nov. 15 to call on him to support a ceasefire. The rally was addressed by JVP’s Elsa Auerbach, South Shore DSA’s Joe Herosy, MAPA’s Cole Harrison and others; the MC was Sara Driscoll of the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine.
Rallies also targeted Rep. Lynch in Sharon on Nov. 25 and in Braintree on Nov. 26 – Cole Harrison
Worcester – Rep McGovern
300 people turned up for a Palestine Solidarity Rally held in Worcester on Nov. 24, Black Friday. – Claire Schaeffer-Duffy
Western – Reps Neal & McGovern
Protests began in Western Mass on October 9th with a rally in Northampton organized by MAPA members.
A group of activists led by IfNotNow attached Palestinian children’s names to Sen. Markey and Warren’s Springfield offices on Nov. 9 (left).
Western Mass. JVP has organized 3 days a week protests since Oct. 7, with standouts every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday in Northampton and Hadley. The Nov. 24 protest in Hadley was attended by 100 people who called for a permanent ceasefire.
The CD1 Committee for Palestine and Gaza held a standout in Easthampton and then a campaign to collect 170 signatures from 42 district towns and cities calling on Rep Neal to call for a ceasefire. They delivered the letter in Washington and then to Neal’s Springfield office where they meet for an hour with his aides while supporters rallied outside.
The CD1 Committee then placed a full page ad (right) in the Hampshire Gazette on Nov. 24 entitled Save the Children of Gaza! and calling on Neal to support a ceasefire, in the name of those who had already signed the letter and asking more people to sign.
Great Barrington and Pittsfield have held several rallies.
The Islamic Society of Western Mass held a prayer vigil in West Springfield.
A group called Existence is Resistance has held 2 rallies in Springfield, the 2nd one drawing 500 people.
Smith University organized a rally the following week and then a couple of weeks later a walkout and march to L3Harris, accompanied by the Anti-Imperialist Action Committee and other allies
The University of Massachusetts organized a 2 day sit in at the Administration offices, with 57 students arrested.
The Anti-Imperialist Action Committee organized a 3 day “block party” at L3 Harris in demand that this 6th largest weapons manufacturer stop making weapons for Israel. – Merri Ansara