Thousands of protestors gathered outside the Israeli embassy in London, Friday, to express their opposition to Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip. Kensington High Street was filled with placards and banners reading “Gaza, stop the massacre, Gaza stop the siege.’”
The demonstrators expressed popular disgust with the war crimes being carried out by the Israeli regime, with the full backing of the UK and US governments. At the same time, the leadership of the protest–the Stop the War coalition, which is made up of various pseudo-left, Green and union organizations–provided no way forward. Instead it encouraged illusions in pressuring the UN and the US and British governments.
Several protesters spoke to the WSWS. Brian Wilson explained, “I am here because of the complicity of our government in what is happening in Israel and Gaza and that of USA as well. Only this week they have agreed to give more arms to Israel while innocent people are dying every day. Israel has their Iron Dome, their defence system, but the Palestinians have nothing.
“The Israelis are targeting hospitals and children, and if you don’t stand on the street and show some solidarity with these people no one else will. One aspect why the governments are supporting this bombardment is profit. War is money, isn’t it? Arms are money, that’s the way I see it. The Labour Party and the trade unions are doing nothing and I do know what to think about that, to be honest. It’s also very hard to see a way out of this, a way forward. First of all they have to stop the massacre. Then they’ve got to end the siege.
“It is Israel and Egypt that are stopping people from leaving the country or moving around. We have got to take these settlements away from Israel and give it back to Palestinian people. Why do people have to have checkpoints in their own country and show their passports? It’s just not right. I am just a man on the street and I opposed the apartheid regime many years ago. I am doing the same today against Israeli Apartheid.”
Dana Husseini said, “I am originally Palestinian, but like most Palestinians I also have a Canadian passport and a Jordanian one because I don’t have a homeland really. I am studying in the UK and I am supporting this demonstration. I have come here to do something.
“The problem is I don’t think Israel will stop without international pressure and unfortunately they are just getting international support. So this will never end unless the big powers like the UK and the US decide to take a strong stance and tell them that you can’t do this anymore. Basically protests like this will also help, hopefully.
“It’s horrible that all the major political parties are supporting Israel and not the Palestinians. It does not reflect what the people think, it’s just what the governments of the different countries think.”
Mrs. Clavier said, “I understand that there is a ceasefire at the moment. Something has got to be done about the rights of the Palestinian people. They have got no rights of movement in their own country. I want to see action and I want to see this killing stopped. I want to see action taken against the Israeli government for what they have done so far, because up to this point they have gotten away with it.”
Her husband added, “I am here to show my solidarity with the people of Gaza and to highlight the injustices.
“The situation is terrible and I don’t know how things will change. Our government does not seem to be doing much, nor the United Nations–all the general people we looked to help sort out the situation. Hopefully the voices of the people will do something. Since this situation has happened I have been researching quite a bit and it seems to me it’s the Americans and the English that helped set up Israel in the first place and it seems that it all stems from there. I think there is a lot of double talk going on and hypocrisy and there is lot of hidden things going on, which is kept away from the public.
“This thing has been going on far too long and I think over the last 10 years, the flow of information has made everybody aware of what’s going on and more able to see through the broken mirrors of the media and biases and misrepresentation. What people understand now is that what’s being reported is not what is going on the ground.
“Because of this a lot of people are standing up and do not accept the lies that are coming through the British and American media. That’s what’s brought these demonstrations about. It is getting people to recognise that still there’s a lot more to do until we bring people together and put pressure on governments. Basically the governments are there to serve us but they don’t.”
Bernadette said, “I have come today because I have witnessed complete atrocities on my TV. Defenceless people being bombed, children, kids, young people and hospitals being bombed. It’s madness. I can’t understand why this is being sanctioned. I can’t understand why the Obama governments is allowing aid to Israel to kill people and Palestinians have been moved out of their homes. They have no right to uproot people from their homes and hand them over to Israelis.
“This is shocking and this really makes me mad. So that’s why I am here. I have been asking family friends. I am on Facebook all the time asking people what we can do about all this. I don’t know what else to do, but to come here and protest. It is not acceptable.
“I think in the past Israel in history, particularly in the Second World War, the Jews were oppressed so there was a lot of sympathy towards the Jewish people. But today I don’t understand it. There are groups of people that seem to think that Jewish people are more important than Palestinians. That’s what appears to me and I can’t stand that.
“I demonstrated against Apartheid and I campaigned against Apartheid and I supported the anti-Apartheid movement. This is Apartheid. It’s the same thing done to different people. I don’t know the history of Israel in depth, but what I do know is what’s wrong–not just uprooting Palestinians, but killing them as well. You can’t just oppress and kill them and target children.”