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Mobilized Against Israel's Bombs, Jewish Activists Say 'Not in Our Name'

"We as Jews have to say to this country that claims to represent us, 'Stop. Stop. This is a humanitarian disaster.'"

Amy Goodman: Tens of thousands of people took to streets over the weekend in cities across the globe to protest the Israeli assault on Gaza. In France, tens of thousands of people marched in the streets of Paris. In London, thousands filled Trafalgar Square. In Pakistan, security forces used tear gas and batons to repel protesters who tried to attack the U.S. consulate in Islamabad. A protest in the Belgian capital of Brussels drew 30,000 people. In Manila, Philippines, policemen used shields to disperse students protesting outside the U.S. embassy. In Spain, as many as 100,000 people attended rallies in Madrid and the southwestern city of Seville. In Beirut, Lebanon, an estimated 2,500 Lebanese and Palestinians gathered to demonstrate. In Damascus, Syria, demonstrators accused Arab leaders of being complicit in the Gaza assault. Here in this country, several thousand protesters in Washington gathered in a park across the street from the White House, and in New York, demonstrators gathered in Times Square.

Some of the protests have been organized by Jewish groups who are speaking out against Israel's actions. Today we're joined by two Jewish women for peace: Dorothy Zellner, a Jewish activist here in New York, one of fifteen Jews who have signed a call for a protest in front of the Israeli consulate today at 5:30, and joining us on the phone from Toronto is Judy Rebick. She's the chair of Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University. She organized a sit-in comprised of Jewish Canadian women at the Israeli consulate in Toronto.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Judy Rebick, let's begin with you. What did you do? What was your protest, and why in Canada?

Judy Rebick: Well, a number of Jewish women, some of whom had been involved in peace activism for a long time and others who are like myself, who have been involved in other things, decided that we had to do something to protest the Israeli assault that would be dramatic. And so, we decided to occupy the Israeli consulate. We knew we'd be arrested, and that was the intention, that we draw attention to the fact that this assault on Gaza is something so terrible that we're willing to put our reputations and our lives -- and our freedom on the line. And a number of us are fairly prominent in Canada. Most of the women there had never been arrested before. So it was something fairly dramatic, and it got a lot of coverage.

You know, we went in one by one, because security is quite high. We sat down, announced that it was a protest. And, you know, they told us we'd be arrested if we didn't leave. We knew that. And about two hours later, we were handcuffed, arrested, put in a paddy wagon, but they let us go.

And it's really had a big impact. I think the fact -- you know, Israel doesn't listen to world public opinion at all, as long as they have the support of the American government, but I think the fact that more and more Jews are speaking out against Israel may just have an impact. And I know that we've been getting emails and calls from all over the world asking us what we did, how we did it, and people feeling encouraged, because if you're engaged in the Jewish community, it's very difficult to speak out against Israel. And so, one of the things we did was appeal to other Jews, who we know disagree with what Israel is doing, to speak out.

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