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Indybay Feature

Rally for Equality, Liberation, Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine

by Leon Kunstenaar

It's Time!

   To Stop The War
   To Reach a Deal
   To End the Conflict
   To Make Peace 
It’s Time!

To Stop The War.
To Reach a Deal.
To End the Conflict.
To Make Peace.

Photos: Leon Kunstenaar

(Oakland, June 30) - Bay Area Jews, many with connections to Israel, rallied at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater to demand an end to the bloodshed and reach an equitable solution to the conflict. There were no flags but instead large banners and huge signs in English, Hebrew and Arabic proclaiming "It's Time for Peace."

Banners positioned at the lake's edge read "Justice, Equality, Freedom and Peace in Israel & Palestine" and "A Vigil for Peace." Events got underway with the Nora Free Ensemble performing pro bono. Many then got to work creating banners under the direction of artist/muralist David Solnit, a regular at Bay Area protests.

The event was organized by SF Bay For Peace. Organizers included Shimrit Braun Kamin, Rob Unger, Yael Levy and Yael Peretz who read the land acknowledgement. Speakers demanded that the fighting and bloodshed stop. Their slogan "Equality, Liberation, Justice and Peace" recognized Israel's Zionist government's dehumanization of and crimes against the Palestinian people. They want those who live there to work out the solution among themselves.

They demanded an immediate cease fire and meaningful negotiations. Their call is to stop the bloodshed and to work towards a democratically developed political solution that grants both Israelis and Palestinians full and equal rights. They feel that it is not up to them to decide the particulars, that there are many possible directions (one state, two states, confederation, etc.) and that they are not locked into any one of them.

Speakers included Rabbi Cat Zavis who noted that Israel is not a Jewish state but a state with many Jews in spite of Netanyahu's attempt to characterize Israel as a theocracy, as in Saudi Arabia or Iran. She took strong exception with Israel's weaponization of Jews' historic trauma.

Brenda Wolfson spoke of her heartbreak at losing her grandson in the October 7th Hamas attack, illustrating that it is always the innocents that pay for the crimes of their government.

Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib expressed the view that the two state solution was the only viable path forward.

Musicians Meiron Egger and Manaar Azreik provided moving music.

One word, the elephant in the room, was conspicuously absent from the entire event. That word is "genocide". It is a charge evident throughout the many protests happening in the Bay Area. Evidence that the Netanyahu government is attempting the genocide of the Palestinian people is overwhelming. In spite of the horror committed by Hamas on October 7, what Netanyahu is attempting can only be termed a Hilterian final solution. Jews, of all people, should not be guilty of this.

The protest was held in conjunction with a very large peace protest in Tel Aviv against the Netanyahu government.

See all high resolution photos here.
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