On the evening of Tuesday, June 5, a coalition of activists will protest Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer’s visit to Chicago. Three weeks after Israel’s massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, a growing number of legislators and many human rights organizations have roundly condemned the killings as “calculated” and “an abhorrent violation of international law,” with Amnesty USA calling on the U.S. to respond with an arms embargo. This visit by Ambassador Dermer is part of a damage control P.R. tour that includes a visit earlier the same day in Milwaukee.
Participants will display names of the 100+ Palestinian protesters recently killed by Israeli snipers as they protest Ambassador Ron Dermer on 51st anniversary of Occupation of West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem.
Participants will display signs bearing the names of each of the protesters killed since the #GreatReturnMarch began on March 30, communicating to Dermer and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that people of conscience in the United States increasingly support Palestinian rights and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, and are demanding that their Congressional representatives hold Israel responsible for killing Gaza protesters. They will also demand an end to the Blockade on Gaza and the Occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem; equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel; support for the Right of Return for Palestinians to the lands from which they were expelled in 1948 and since, and that Trump reverse his decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The protest will be held Tuesday, June 5 at 7:00 PM, at 3751 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL
American Friends Service Committee, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine (Al-Nahda Center, American Muslims for Palestine, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, Students for Justice in Palestine-Chicago, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network), Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago
Visuals: Signs with names of each Palestinian killed by Israeli military in Gaza. Large posters with following messages: “Dermer, Tell Bibi: Chicago Supports Gaza and Freedom for Palestinians!” “Gaza: 100+ Killed 12,000+ Wounded. Stop the Massacre. Time to Boycott Israel.”
In addition to being the principal defender of Israel’s brutal policies toward Palestinians, Ambassador Dermer has associated with leaders in U.S.-based white supremacist circles. In November 2017, he hosted former advisor to President Trump Steve Bannon at his home. After accepting an award from an organization headed by Frank Gaffney, he brushed off criticism from the Southern Poverty Law Center when they “wrote to his office asking why he was accepting an award from “an anti-Muslim hate group.”
Israel has a long history of human rights violations and political repression against Palestinians. In the past two months, the Israeli military killed over 110 Palestinian protesters in Gaza – including children, medics, and journalists – and wounded over 12,000 participating in the #GreatReturnMarch. Launched on March 30, 2018, with over 30,000 participants and organized by a cross section of Palestinian civil society, grassroots activists, and political factions, this effort has highlighted the impact of Israel’s brutal military blockade and re-centered the issue of Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the homes from which they, or their parents and grandparents, were expelled in 1948.
Following the moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, Israel killed over 60 protesters in one day in Gaza, and then brutally arrested Palestinian citizens of Israel protesting in solidarity in Haifa. Israel has also increasingly tried to stifle dissent and criticism. It is trying to expel the head of Human Rights Watch in Israel; it forbade the entry of the U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights’ executive board member and staff; and a law was recently proposed to make it illegal to film or photograph the Israeli military at any time.
Human Rights Watch has denounced Israel’s actions as “unlawful” and “calculated.” Amnesty International has condemned the Israeli military’s use of “excessive force” and assigned clear responsibility to Israeli authorities.
Israel’s government has made clear that it fully supports these deliberate killings. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has stated: “There are no innocents in Gaza.” The day after the killing of the first 15 Palestinian protesters on March 30, the Israeli military posted, then promptly deleted, the following tweet: “Yesterday we saw 30,000 people; we arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”