Rochester Rally for Palestine
Heavy rain did not deter some 50 demonstrators from rallying on October 16 in support of the people of Palestine. Palestine is a nation in the Middle East that is increasingly losing its territory to Israeli settlements. The settlements are in violation of several peace treaties and international laws. The Palestenian people are Arab, mostly Muslim, however nearly a quarter of them are Christians. They are considered second-class citizens by the Israeli government which enforces an apartheid-like regime.
The demonstration was called in solidarity with others around the country including one planned in New York City the following Sunday. It was not in response to a single incident but to ongoing killings in the occupied territory. An unofficial report mentioned 35 killed by the IDF (Israeli army) in one day. Often the IDF does not even return the bodies of the dead, instead burying them in secret. Many of those killed are children.
Amongst those present was Eli Mizrahi, an Israeli citizen. In his words: "This is not the Jewish religion...Judiasm is peaceful." "This is more like the Nazis." "They just shoot kids." Israeli is not respecting the Oslo accords. The accords call for Palestinian sovereignty and equality.
Groups sponsoring the event included the International Action Center, Palestenians Witnessing for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, the International Socialist Organization, Christian Eyewitness for Peace and the Islamic Center of Rochester. The group had initially planned to rally in front of the Federal Building where the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are located, as well as Congress member Louise Slaughter. The rain forced them to take refuge under the entrance of the Genesee Crossroads building two blocks down the street. However it did not dampen the spirit of the event.