For the past week, the Israeli military has been making good on its promise to “open the gates of hell” on the two million Palestinians trapped under Israeli siege in Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes are reducing Palestinian neighborhoods to rubble, killing entire families. The Israeli military cut off Gaza’s access to electricity, food, water, and medicine. Human Rights Watch has confirmed reports of Israel using white phosphorus in Gaza City, a chemical weapon that leaves horrific and often lethal bodily burns. And after Israel gave the “impossible” order to over 1 million Gazans to evacuate the north, the Israeli military bombed Palestinians as they tried to escape. Nearly 3,000 Palestinians have been killed — including over 1,030 Gazan children.
The U.S. government’s response to this? Over 390 congresspeople have co-sponsored a resolution supporting the Israeli military, and calling to send weapons to the same country whose politicians have already dropped more than 6,000 bombs on a captive population.
In order to justify this indefensible violence, the U.S. is breaking out the full post-9/11 playbook of repression and intimidation. Using state intelligence and surveillance agencies, rampant media disinformation and one-sided coverage, and dehumanizing, racist, and Islamophobic rhetoric, anti-Palestinian forces are working overtime to silence and intimidate anyone who stands against Israel’s attempt at genocide in Gaza.
Across the U.S., the full force of the security state is being deployed against Palestinians and Arab Americans. We’re already seeing reports of ICE detaining Palestinians, FBI surveillance of mosques and individual Americans, as well as FBI intimidation of Palestinian nationals and allies. Across campuses, pro-Palestine student activists are being targeted and doxxed.
This surveillance and repression is spreading globally. From New York to Toronto to London, officials are using this violence as a pretext to flood our streets with even more cops. In Germany and France, Palestinian solidarity rallies are being banned — and in Paris, the police tear gassed residents who rallied anyway.
And in the halls of Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush, who were courageous enough to call for an end to the Israeli occupation rather than a genocidal attack on Gaza, were quickly pilloried by fellow Democrats.
Disinformation and dehumanization in the media
Meanwhile, the U.S. mainstream media is fueling the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza by spreading incendiary claims made by the Israeli military — with deadly consequences for Palestinian Americans and Muslims in the U.S. On October 11, CNN anchor Sara Sidner uncritically repeated the Israeli military’s claim that Hamas fighters “beheaded babies” during their October 7 incursion into Israel. That same day, Biden went so far as to say that he had seen photo evidence of these allegations — only for the White House to deny that the President had seen any photos shortly thereafter.
The following day, Sidner wrote that even though “the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said that it had confirmed Hamas beheaded babies & children while we were live on the air,” the government now cannot confirm these rumors.
But the damage was already done. This disinformation was quickly picked up by U.S. and Israeli media, used to dehumanize Palestinians and excuse the Israeli military’s horrific assault on innocent men, women, and children in Gaza. And this story and similar propaganda has already led to a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate in the U.S.
In Chicago over the weekend, a landlord murdered a 6-year-old Palestinian boy — and seriously injured his mother — while shouting “You Muslims must die.”
Echoes of 2001
Anyone who’s been paying attention in the last 20 years recognizes this horrific pattern. We’re reminded of 2001, when Congresswoman Barbara Lee received death threats after being the sole vote against giving President Bush a blank check to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re reminded of the mainstream media selling the lie to rally the American public behind the war, dehumanizing Iraqi and Arab Americans and spreading Islamophobia. We remember the skyrocketing levels of government surveillance, discrimination, and violence against Arab Americans and Muslims. The resulting U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Now, the U.S. war machine is once again in overdrive, and the U.S. mainstream media is once again uncritically beating the drums of war. The total lack of evidence behind the wild, warmongering claims that U.S. and Israeli officials are making is all too familiar.
But history does not have to repeat itself, and people around the world are fighting to intervene. From Amman to Dublin, from Karachi to Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets to demand an end to Israeli genocide in Gaza.
And in the U.S. Congress, 13 representatives just announced a resolution urging the Biden Administration to call for an immediate ceasefire and to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. They need our support.
Just as millions of people marched to resist the Iraq War, we must raise hell now. We must call on our politicians to support the call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to genocide. We must take to the streets. We must, always, demand an end to Israeli violence, occupation and apartheid. We can’t look away now.
Tell Congress: Ceasefire NOW.
A few brave U.S. representatives are leading an anti-war push in Congress to call on President Biden to immediately demand and facilitate a ceasefire. But we need more members to get behind them.
Our sibling organization, JVP Action, has developed a tool to move our members of Congress to support a ceasefire. Call and email your representatives now and tell them to join the Ceasefire NOW resolution.
Take to the streets.
This is one of the most pivotal moments of our lives. So we’re marching on the halls of power as Jews demanding an end to the U.S.-supported genocide of Palestinians. Join us in the streets of D.C. on Wednesday, October 18 at 12pm, and sign up for alerts of future actions near you.
Power Hours: collective action every day
In this dire moment, we’re channeling our grief and rage into action to stop the march to war and call for a ceasefire. Join us daily for JVP’s Power Half-Hours for Gaza at 3pm ET/12pm PT as we gather in solidarity and take collective action.