By Susan Schwartz, TMO
Human rights activists in the Los Angeles area have been active this past week as Israeli atrocities continue and the United States government continues to look the other way.
Protests in front of the Israeli Consulate on Los Angelesâ€™ main thoroughfare have continued. Initiated last month by LA Jews for Peace and soon joined by many other groups, these demonstrations have attracted many sponsors among peace and civil liberties organizations for this now weekly activity.
Activists from the Los Angeles area have travelled to Oakland and joined others in successfully blocking an Israeli owned ship from coming into port and unloading its goods. In response to a Call from Gaza issued by many Palestinian organizations including trade unions and with local dock workers respecting the picket line, the Piraeus was prevented from achieving the port of Oakland.
Spurred by reporting in the social media, the crowd soon grew. Mohamed Shekh, an officer of the Critical Resistance group and a Palestinian said that the actions at Oakland were done to send a message to Israel; â€œWe will not stand for the murdering of Gazansâ€.
This past Saturday hundreds of protestors shut down a major intersection in Hollywood as they marched on the offices of CNN holding the giant corporation liable for biased reporting on Israelâ€™s behavior during Operation Protective Edge.
The following day more than 800 human rights activists began a march at the Los Angeles police headquarters and continued through a number of heavily populated areas to protest racist police actions taking place in Los Angeles and in Ferguson, Missouri.
Latino and African Americans whose loved ones were killed as a result of illegal police action spoke to a gradually growing crowd. One sign truly said it all:â€ From Gaza to Ferguson Resistance is a Right. Stop U. S Police Training in Israelâ€.
A sit-in organized by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has begun at the Los Angeles offices of Senator Barbara Boxer (D, Ca.) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, Ca.) as this is being written. The protestors have called for a complete and unbiased investigation of Israeli attacks on Gaza to determine whether human rights violations and/or war crimes have occurred.
Protestors have asked the public to call the offices of both these senators and express opposition to Senate Resolution 498 and the shipment of further arms to Israel. SR 498, approved unanimously, supported Israelâ€™s attack on Gaza by characterizing the attack as legitimate self defense.
The letter calls for each Senator to: support an international Commission of Inquiry to look into possible war crimes committed during Israelâ€™s Operation Protective edge. This Commission will be appointed by the United Nations; condemn violence on both sides and cease justifying Israelâ€™s disproportionate use of force as self defense, and demand that Israel cease its siege and blockade of Gaza and its occupation of the West Bank.
JVP and AMP were joined in the delivery of these letters by Code Pink and Friends of Sabeel.