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MI advocates of Palestinian-Israeli peace march in DC today

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Wednesday, October 18, 2023   

In the wake of a significant protest by Jewish people supporting Palestinian rights last week, thousands are set to assemble on Capitol Hill today, including some from Michigan.

At a recent demonstration in Brooklyn, New York, the group Jewish Voice for Peace Action reported more than 50 arrests, including an 81-year-old peace advocate. The group, including Michiganders and activists from across the nation, is in Washington, D.C., today.

Rachel Evans, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace Action-Michigan, said in their view, the U.S. must stop sending weapons.

"Choose cease-fire, not genocide," Evans urged. "As Jews, we say, 'Never again, for anyone.' The Israeli government is dehumanizing Palestinians, calling them 'animals,' and our government is repeating this information."

Pro-Israel rallies are also being planned around the country. A Marist poll found 63% of the Americans in its survey said they strongly support Israel, but there are generational and racial divides.

Michigan boasts one of the largest Palestinian American populations in the nation. Evans shared her experience during a demonstration at Michigan University, and pointed out schools statewide are calling for action.

Michael Wolfe, chapter organizer for Jewish Voice for Peace, said he is disappointed by the current dialogue.

"Genocide is supposedly happening in the name of Jewish people, and I'm a U.S. Jew," Wolfe noted. "I say, 'Not in my name.'"

Wolfe thinks Jews and Palestinians could find ways to connect and better understand each other.

"In this moment, the work that CAIR and others are doing is so important," Wolfe emphasized. "Because there's just an attempt to criminalize Palestinians across the board, and that's just racism at it's finest."

Amy Doukoure, staff attorney for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan, said in these protests, it is important for people to know their rights, regardless of which side of the debate they are on.

"Students in public school, whether it's K-12 school or whether it's colleges and universities, have the full rights of their First Amendment," Doukoure stressed. "So long as they're exercising their rights to free speech in a way that is not disruptive."

Doukoure added political speech on social media is protected, except for threats, which remain a criminal offense.

Disclosure: Jewish Voice for Peace Action contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Human Rights/Racial Justice, International Relief, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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