May 14, 2021 — On Saturday, May 15, at 11:00 a.m., activists in Madison will come together at the Wisconsin State Capitol, State Street corner at North Carroll and West Mifflin Street steps, to stand in solidarity with Palestine. The protest is being called in response to Israel’s escalation in violence against the Palestinian people over the course of the last week. This is the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba, the brutal mass expulsion of Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948. The protest will recognize that this recent escalation is a continuation of the same project of ethnic cleansing.
For months, Palestinians have resisted Israeli settlers’ efforts to expel Palestinian families from their homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. Israel has retaliated by blocking access to the Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, conducting violent police raids on the mosque, and by carrying out ruthless airstrikes on Gaza. At the time of this writing, Israeli forces have killed 122 Palestinian people in the last week, including 31 children in the last week. With news that Israel has sent ground troops into Gaza, these numbers could climb to devastating heights in the coming days.
Protesters in Madison affirm that Palestinians have the right to resist occupation. It defies logic and international law to require peaceful cooperation from people who are being forcibly, violently removed from their ancestral homes. There is no equivalence between the violence of an oppressor and the self-defense and resistance of the oppressed, as is long recognized under international law.
Protesters are also calling for an end to US aid to Israel. Israel relies on US funding to maintain the military and weapons it requires to brutalize Palestinian people into submission and to enforce apartheid, making US citizens complicit in this project. The consequences of this support circles back to the US: Israel provides training in occupation tactics to US police forces who have subsequently faced massive protests over their brutal treatment of people of color.
The demonstration is organized by Reshaping Madison Together, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Our Wisconsin Revolution – Dane County Chapter, the Wisconsin Muslim Civic Alliance, Allies for Black Lives – Madison, the Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America, and Socialist Alternative Madison.