Boston Faith Communities Protest Meeting Between Trump & Netanyahu
Over 50 march to Israeli consulate as part of national mobilization in 16 cities
Boston, MA (Thursday, February 16th) – An interfaith coalition gathered last night to protest the “shared values” of racism & discrimination being exchanged during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting that day with President Trump. Meanwhile, similar protests took place in 16 cities across the country, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, Friends of Sabeel, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
“Trump’s alignment with the ruling right-wing in Israel signals more racist and Islamophobic policies to come,” said Liza Behrendt of Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston. “Our resistance to Trump’s anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim agenda will be stronger if we partner with Palestinian activists resisting Israeli apartheid.”
The meeting between the two leaders took place in the context of weeks of national protests against Trump’s discriminatory, anti-Muslim immigration restrictions which echo Israel’s own religious profiling and restrictive immigration policies.
“I was raised in Jerusalem, Palestine, but I’m not allowed to set foot there because of my religion,” said Yamila Shannan, an educator and Palestinian rights activist. “Netanyahu is one of the first foreign leaders to be invited to Trump’s White House, and that’s not a mistake…The US and Israel are sources of terror all over the world.”
Protesters also addressed Trump’s controversial proposal to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a move that would support Israel’s unilateral annexation and policies aimed at displacing Palestinians from the holy city.
“To move our embassy to Jerusalem would amount to sticking a knife into an open wound,” said Reverend Ashlee Wiest-Laird of First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain. “It not only exacerbates and solidifies Israel’s unjust claim that Jerusalem is only for the Jewish or Israeli people, but it perpetuates the discrimination against every Palestinian human being who calls Jerusalem their home.”
Gabriel Camacho, Immigrant Programs Coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee, addressed similarities between separation walls at the US/Mexico border and surrounding Palestinian land; both are designed to repress and exclude communities of color. He also pointed out that the Israeli high tech company Elbit profits from both walls. “This is a direct connection between our struggles,” he said.
The local event was co-sponsored by United for Justice with Peace, First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, American Friends Service Committee, Grassroots International, Network of Arab-American Professionals of Boston, Black and Pink, Massachusetts Peace Action, Student Immigrant Movement, Arlington Street Church – Unitarian Universalist, Simmons College Students for Justice in Palestine, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Cambridge Bethlehem People to People Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice Boston, and the Muslim Justice League.
Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston is the local chapter of 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. JVP 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 comprised of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.