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UAW and American Postal Workers Union Members Lead NYC March for Gaza

The march came a week after leaders of several major unions joined progressive lawmakers to demand a ceasefire.

Protesters participate in a Global Strike for Gaza on December 18, 2023, in New York City.

Unions, Jewish groups, and other organizations led a march in New York City Thursday night to demand a cease-fire in the U.S.-backed Israeli war on Gaza and pressure their members of Congress to stop taking campaign cash from pro-Israel lobbyists.

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 9A; American Postal Workers Union (APWU); United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) Eastern Region; New York City’s arm of Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA); Adalah Justice Project, American Muslims for Palestine N.Y./N.J.; Jewish Voice for Peace-N.Y.; New York Communities for Change; the New York Working Families Party; and more took to the streets to call for “peace and justice for Palestine.”

They carried signs stressing U.S. worker demands for a cease-fire in the conflict that has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza, including over 8,000 children. The signs also highlighted how much money Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries — all New York Democrats — have taken from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

AIPAC is reportedly planning to spend at least $100 million in 2024 Democratic primaries, aiming to unseat cease-fire supporters, particularly “Squad” members — Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

“For two months, the whole world has watched as the Israeli military launched its assault on Gaza,” said organizers of Thursday’s march, who rallied behind a clear message: “Stop the Bombs! Cease-fire now!”

“Disease, hunger, and thirst are spreading rapidly,” they continued. “Two million Palestinians have been displaced and thousands imprisoned by the Israeli state.”

The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military aid and U.S. President Joe Biden has asked Congress for another $14.3 billion for the war effort. As the march organizers put it: “This horror has unfolded with the full support of the U.S. government. Our out-of-touch representatives, instead of siding with their constituents are siding with AIPAC, a racist right-wing lobby group.”

“But we will not let them ignore this growing working-class movement. Hundreds of thousands of regular people have taken to the streets, jammed the phone lines and inboxes of their representatives, stopped traffic, staged sit-ins, and more, to demand peace and justice,” they added. “We demand our N.Y. senators call for an immediate and lasting cease-fire, vote NO on the $14 billion aid bill, and refuse far-right AIPAC contributions! And we will continue to march, protest, disrupt, and fight until we end this genocide.”

The NYC march came a week after leaders of unions such as the UAW, APWU, and UE held a press conference with Democrats including Bush, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to demand a cease-fire.

Noting UAW president Shawn Fain’s participation, John Nichols wrote for The Nation:

For Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress and an outspoken advocate for a cease-fire, it was an especially poignant moment. She noted, “I’m a proud daughter of a UAW worker, and I know my Yaba [father], if he was here, he would be so proud. The UAW taught him he deserved human dignity, even though he only had a fourth-grade education, even though he was Palestinian, even though he was Muslim. On that assembly line, he was equal to every single human being on that line. Who did that for him? The United Auto Workers did that for him.”

Fain, for his part, delivered a clear call for a change in U.S. policy.

“The only path forward to peace and social justice is a cease-fire,” said the UAW leader.

Thursday’s demonstration coincided with intense debates over a cease-fire resolution at the United Nations Security Council in New York City. The United States, one of five nations with veto power, has delayed multiple expected votes on the measure this week.

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