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Sit-in at senator's office demands end to attacks on Gaza

by staff |
January 1, 2009
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Sit-in at Sen. Klobuchar's Office
Sit in at Senator Klobuchar’s office, December 30, 2008. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - 200 Palestinian Americans, anti-zionist Jews and peace activists protested outside of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, Dec. 30, to demand an end to U.S. support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Over 400 people have died and over 1700 Palestinians have been injured in Gaza from Israeli bombing attacks.

Women Against Military Madness, the Coalition for Palestinian Rights, International Jewish anti-Zionist Network of the Twin Cities, the Anti-War Committee, the Green Party of Minnesota, Al-Aqsa Institute and Middle East Peace Now called for the protest as a part of a national day of action. After picketing outside the senator’s office building on busy Washington Avenue, the crowd moved inside for a press conference in front of the senator’s door.

At the press conference Meredith Aby, a member of the Anti-War Committee who traveled to Gaza on a solidarity delegation in 2001, spoke out against the U.S.’s support for Israel. “We call on Senator Klobuchar and all members of the Minnesota congressional delegation to demand an immediate end to both Israel’s attack on Gaza and U.S. support for those attacks. We demand an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and call for the U.S. to stop justifying Israel’s use of military force on Gaza. We hope that the people of Minnesota will hear the Palestinian people’s call for solidarity and protest, and call and write to demand a real change in U.S. policy towards Israel.”

Other speakers included Palestinian, Jewish and other community members who described the human consequences of Israel’s two-year blockade that escalated significantly on Saturday with the aerial bombardment of Gaza.

After the press conference over 40 protesters attended a meeting with Senator Klobuchar’s aide. Upon learning that the senator herself was in town, protesters demanded to met with her in person - refusing to leave her conference room. After a two hour sit-in, the senator agreed to meet.

At the meeting Senator Klobuchar repeatedly refused to condemn Israel, but she did express support for a resolution for humanitarian aid. Jordan Kushner, an activist with the Coalition for Palestinian Rights and the National Lawyers Guild, summed up the strengths of the action, “I don’t think people expected anything from Amy Klobuchar. She is as much in the Israel lobby’s pocket as anyone. But is was a very positive organizing experience in terms of the coalition that came together. We were able to successfully demand an appearance by an elected official who had insisted she did not have time to do so, and were able to work together to agree on demands for real change.”