Gaza Rally in San Francisco

The Gaza Rally
of October 19, 2023
in San Francisco

Thursday, October 19th -- I attended a Gaza support rally at the Federal Building in San Francisco. It was an "emergency rally," and I expected to see perhaps a hundred people, which is about the norm for a rally that's called on short notice. Well, this rally filled up the entire street, sidewalk to sidewalk for the entire block. Someone estimated 2,000 or more.

"From the River to the Sea -- Palestine will be free!" the rally began.

And there were many other chants, shouted by the enthusiastic gathering, and echoed back from the walls of surrounding buildings. It was loud and spirited. Palestinian flags were all around, waving back and forth.

There were many speakers, and a sound system that actually worked well (unlike at so many events that I've attended.) The central theme was of course Gaza, and the ongoing genocide, and Joe Biden's trip to Israel where he embraced Israel's latest murder rampage and promised more weapons for the killers.

Speakers included Palestinians and persons from other Arab countries, also activists from numerous other groups: Native Americans, Filipinos, Blacks, Jews who were grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, socialists, and others. Some spoke for Haiti. Several speakers summed it up saying that nobody would be free until all were free. Right now the central focus was on Palestine.

Much of the gathering seemed to be Arabs, but probably not the majority. Hard to tell how many of this or that. Many seemed to be Jewish, and there were Asians, Blacks, Latinos, etc.

Almost everyone was young, very few elderly folks. This rally gave me a feeling that perhaps the younger generation is stepping up to take up the fight against imperialism.

Daniel Borgström
Daniel is a Veterans for Peace activist, and member of KPFA's Local Station Board
October 19, 2023

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Here is news of other pro Palestine events, written by Joseph Anderson, a Berkeley resident and longtime progressive activist.

Hi Daniel,

Thank you very much for sending out this [the above] report.

On short notice I went to a 3-1/2 hour rally-march-rally, from noon to 3:30pm, at UC Berkeley this past Monday (Oct. 16) starting at what I'll call the Sather Gate plaza (on the north side of Sproul Plaza). It was very multicultural (always good to see, and like you said about the SF rally, pleasantly hard to tell how much of this or that ethnicities) -- and mostly (well when I got there sometime after 2pm) mostly women-led. I'm not really good at estimating crowd sizes but it was very well attended for a campus rally...: a big success by any measure for a campus rally & march. And yes there were anti-Zionist Jews in attendance too!

And like you said about the SF rally, but what I'd guess you'd expect and otherwise hope for on a campus (it's time for the campuses to step up on this), the majority was young people. And yes it's time for a new generation of young people to step up on this issue too!

And yes, they we're chanting, "From the River to the Sea -- Palestine will be free!", which meant it was a decidedly anti-Zionist rally. Unlike what has been my many years long complaint about -- believe it or not about the, back then, previous university generation of even Palestinian-American activists (even American/Western Palestinian professors) -- their not being explicitly anti-Zionist, not using words like "open-air prison" / "open-air concentration camp" to describe Gaza, not denoting Zionism as colonialism, they never used the word apartheid, not even denoting Zionism as a form of racism, I can't recall if they even used the words ethnic-cleansing, and they never even pointed out that the Palestinian people are the indigenous people of Palestine (for Americans/Westerner who didn't/don't even know)! I guess they thought that pointing all these things out sounded 'too militant'! SMH. I guess they wanted to look like, 'The Good/Nice Palestinians'. And they wasted 15-20 years doing that all over the U.S./West. All they talked about was little more than about Palestinian suffering and desperation... -- with no analytical context that was actually incisively educational.

But these young people at their pro-Palestinian rally -- first of all it was amazing that they stepped right up even on the heels of the MSM in this and every Western country propagating lies about Hamas cut off the heads of 40 babies (a curiously solid round and even multiple of exactly ten), or Hamas ripping the wombs out of killed Israeli/Jewish women, or even Hamas mass raping Israeli/Jewish women -- defiantly still held their big highly successful rally and used all the above terms and words that I italicized -- unlike my UC Berkeley campus generation of pro-Palestinian activists (except for myself, and I, especially my being non-Palestinian, wasn't a leader in that generation.

And I finally withdrew from all pro-Palestinian activism for years because of the verbal timidity -- or lack of awareness -- even the rare times a few were respectively on PBS -- by the American/Western Palestinian so-called "leadership"...: all they mostly talked about was Palestinian suffering, over and over again (yes we know the Palestinians in Palestine/Israel are suffering), with precious little more educational to add for the vast majority of white Americans/Westerners who didn't know much more than that! So, I wasn't going to keep sticking my neck out and wasting my time.

Or those American/Western Palestinians would argue the esoterica -- not readily accessible to ordinary people in the U.S./West -- about the Oslo, Madrid, etc., Accords -- that even bored me -- because those accords obviously didn't mean anything, and about what I said were really just PR words/names for "stall", as far as Israel and the U.S. were concerned. But when I heard about a new younger generation of today's university kids defiantly getting out there, I had to go see -- and I wasn't disappointed.

In a casual get-together after the rally, I told a small group of them about what I considered was the verbal lapses of the Palestinian student leaders in my generation of UC Berkeley pro-Palestinian activists, and the small casual meeting of today's pro-Palestinian activists were very receptive to what I said about how they could make their messaging even more effective -- and it's pretty effective already, because they're not going to bite their tongues.

Ilan Pappe actually gave a deeply analytical -- without being esoteric -- talk on Thurs (Oct 19) that was actually deeply educational and accessible even to the average person! That's the first pro-Palestinian public lecture and talk I've gone to in years -- because I know that Pappe also has something deeply incisive to say! And for the same reason the last pro-Palestinian lecture and talk I went to was many years ago when Miko Peled spoke in Berkeley -- and the first thing I said after the end of that was that, "I wish I ever heard an American/Western Palestinian ever say those things."

And of course no Zionist knuckleheads ever show up to an Ilan Pappe (or a Milo Peled or a Lenni Brenner) lecture, because he is (they are) so knowledgeable that the Zionists know ahead of time not to even show up because they know they would be intellectually, historically, and morally calmly ripped to shreds by Pappe (or the likes of Peled or Brenner)!

Btw, there was a huge pro-Palestinian rally in Boston this past week -- in the cold and rain!! And you probably know about the big one filling Times Square early last week or the end of the week before. I trust that surely you know (I think I mentioned it in my list email that I sent out) about the huge one coursing through central London last week. The so-called "democracies" of France and Germany held literally/virtually a state march for Israel -- but legally banned any pro-Palestinian marches. Now I really understand why there are periodic Arab-French "riots"/uprisings in France (especially in Paris).

And yet Macron brags and pretends there is "égalité" for everyone in France -- so much so that France doesn't even measure discrimination in France, because France officially pretends that discrimination in France doesn't even exist! "Ohhh, we're alll equally French." I can't stand most of the elite govt'l (especially both white and South Asian), and upper white MSM, class in both Britain and France, because they, in their oh-so-proper, advanced-educated accents, pretend that racism there doesn't or hardly even exist!

Anyway..., sorry for the long email.

Take care my brotha,


October 21, 2023

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The following email is from another long-time activist, Henry Johnson, telling about several other Bay Area rallies.

October 20, 2023


Thanks for the interesting report. It is indeed gratifying to see that young people are coming forward to continue the fight for peace and justice.

I attended a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate on Sunday October 8 and another demonstration at Harry Bridges Plaza this past Saturday October 14. Both demonstrations were called on short notice but were well attended. I did not hear a count for the Sunday demonstration, but I suspect it was around 2,000. The crowd filled the street for almost the whole block. At the Saturday demonstration they announced that the crowd size was 3,000; but I think that was a low count.

At both demonstrations the crowd was overwhelmingly young, although I recognized a few old faces. It is great to see so many young people coming around.

There was a demonstration on the UC Berkeley campus earlier this week, but I was not able to attend. Unfortunately I have not been able to take part in any of the marches. My 75-year-old knees and feet tell me that my marching days are over.

By the way, I have found Nora Barrows-Friedman's work to be very helpful. I have almost given up on the corporate media. All I hear are people mindlessly screaming "Get Hamas! Get Hamas!"



The events of the past couple of weeks have motivated me to go back and reread Alan Hart’s book “Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.” The world needs to come to the realization that correcting the horrors of the Holocaust against the Jewish people by facilitating the Nakba against the Palestinian people has not and will not bring peace to anyone.

October 21, 2023