Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump’s addresses to the UN General Assembly, over 200 New Yorkers from a broad coalition of progressive movements – led by American Muslims for Palestine-NJ, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, and Presbyterian Peace Fellowship – marched before the UN in protest of their shared policies of racism and xenophobia.
“We aren’t surprised that Netanyahu publicly applauds Trump’s disastrous and regressive policies at every turn,” said Gabby Spear, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC. “The policies bringing people to the streets here – policies that are tearing families apart with bans, deportations, and walls – have long been in place in Israel and Palestinians have been resisting them for decades.”
As Netanyahu makes his unwavering support for the Trump administration clear, Trump, in turn, points to Israel’s wall and militarized borders as security successes that justify his own plans for the US. He has filled his administration with individuals such as Jared Kushner and Ambassador David Friedman, who align themselves with those in Israel calling for annexation and apartheid, setting the stage for provocative moves that amount to a complete endorsement of Israel’s policies of occupation, displacement and discrimination.
Demonstrators in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza quickly joined forces with a rally calling for Puerto Rico’s liberation, creation a powerful coalition against colonialism and occupation. Speakers from American Muslims for Palestine-NJ, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, Tarab NYC, and the Puerto Rican independence rally stood before a makeshift wall with the words from detained Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour, “Resist, My People. Resist Them” painted across. Leaders addressed a lively and intergenerational crowd on the importance of a united and intersectional movement to create a world free of bans, walls, capitalism, colonization and racism. This culminated in a symbolic tearing down of the wall followed by singing, dancing and a march to Trump Tower.
“Trump and Netanyahu want to tear us apart and divide us. They rose to power and they hold onto it through fear. But we know better. We know no one community’s safety can come at the expense of another,” said Wassim Kanaan of American Muslims for Palestine-NJ. “We are all here today joining together to build movements capable of winning justice, equality, and liberation for all.”
American Muslims for Palestine – New Jersey is a national education and grassroots-based organization, dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage. AMP works alone and in broad-based coalitions consisting of faith-based organizations, communities of color and other civil society organizations. Because justice is a tenet running strongly through many faith traditions, AMP works in interfaith coalitions consisting of Jews and Christians as well as other similarly aligned organizations. AMP is an independent, non-partisan and unaffiliated organization, governed by a national board of directors and which has chapters across the nation.
Jewish Voice for Peace–New York City is a chapter affiliated with the national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship was founded over 70 years ago by and for conscientious objectors. Since then, PPF has worked to end US militarism and has pushed the Presbyterian Church (USA) to take bold stances for peace with justice, including divestment in 2014 from 3 US companies that benefit from the illegal occupation of Palestine. In July, PPF organized the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine delegation with American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.