Protesters at “New York Stands With Israel” Press Conference Insist City Council Members "Do Not Speak for Us!"
Protesters confront Rep. Eliot Engel and others as they depart the "New York Stands With Israel" press conference at New York City Hall on Monday, July 14, 2014.
Around a hundred protesters surrounded New York City Hall during a “New York Stands With Israel” press conference Monday morning. The event, which was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York, was intended to give New York City legislators the opportunity to justify Israel’s week-long bombing campaign of Gaza. But chants of “shame on you, City Council”, “New York stands with Palestine”, and “from Brooklyn to Palestine, genocide is a crime” penetrated the press conference—and media reports of it.
“Our elected officials are using their positions as representatives of the people of New York to lend support to Israel’s abuses and violations of international law,” Adalah-NY member Mindy Gershon stated. “These officials don’t speak for us!”
“We want to let the City Council know that most of New York does not support racist genocide and apartheid by [Israel],” said Bill Dores, a member of Al-Awada Right to Return Coalition.
Protesters chant "money for health and education—not for Israel's occupation!" while marching down Broadway in Greenwich Village, NYC on Friday, July 11, 2014.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Union Square in New York City on Friday to call for Americans to end their support of Israeli impunity in Palestine. Demonstrators held a rally outside Max Brenner Chocolates—a target of boycotts for their financial support of the Israeli army's Golani Brigade, often cited for their involvement in war crimes in the occupied territories—then marched down and back up Broadway to rally again in the Square.
The US sends over $3 billion a year in taxpayer money to Israel. Many millions more in American money is invested in companies that are involved in the occupation.
Around the world, thousands continue to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people and demanding an end to Israeli aggression. Cities such as Paris, Oslo, Chicago, Jakarta, Rome and San Francisco have played host to demonstrations within the last week. In London alone, participation is said to have been around 10,000.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that "no international pressure" would stop him from continuing to strike Gaza. He also said that "there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan," thus expressing the intent to occupy Palestinian territory indefinitely.
Originally published at Huffington Post.
The Israeli military carried out a second night of airstrikes in Gaza July 8. As of Wednesday morning, July 9, at least 29 Palestinians had been killed since the airstrikes began July 7, including seven children under the age of 16.  At least two Israelis had been lightly wounded by rocket fire from Gaza, Haaretz reported.  The military conflict “showed no signs of abating,” according to a New York Times report on July 9. 
Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to support vigorous diplomatic efforts to end the violence, by signing our petition at MoveOn:
From the past, we know how this ends. There will be a new ceasefire. The key question is how long it will take, how many people will be killed and injured, how much will be destroyed in the meantime.
The United States can help save both Israeli and Palestinian lives by speaking out urgently in support of a ceasefire, and working vigorously with U.S. allies in the region that have good relations with both sides, such as Egypt and Jordan, to press for a ceasefire. The U.S. can help make the ceasefire last by pressing for an agreement that would permanently lift the blockade of Gaza.
The State Department should also continue to press for an investigation of the beating of U.S. citizen Tarek Abu Khdeir while in Israeli police custody. 
Press the Obama Administration to engage vigorously and urgently by signing and sharing our petition.
Thanks for all you do to help rid humanity of the scourge of war,
Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
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When the deteriorating situation in Israel/Palestine came up during today's State Department press briefing, Spokesperson Jen Psaki fluently regurgitated the official Israeli line on their escalating air assaults on Gaza: Israel is responding to rocket fire from Gaza; Israel has the right to defense itself; yada yada.
But when confronted by the question of whether Palestinians also have the right to defend themselves, Psaki apparently lost the ability to form a cogent thought. So strange a notion it was to her that anyone would need to defend themselves from Israel, she asked whether there was "a specific event or a specific occurrence" the reporter was referring to. Ultimately, she evaded the question by throwing out the word "terrorist organization" and that "the threat ... to civilian populations is of great concern to us." But really, only if they are Israeli.
Meanwhile, eight children are reported to have been killed tonight in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. How many more will US officials allow to die before they call for a ceasefire?
Read the full exchange below.
QUESTION: But you feel that sort of the Israeli air raids, like maybe hundreds of them so far this day, are proportionate to the rockets?
MS. PSAKI: That’s not – I wouldn’t validate the accuracy of that number, but I would say, Said --
QUESTION: Okay. Well, the sorties – there are hundreds of sorties.
MS. PSAKI: I would say, Said, that I don’t think any country would be expected to allow rockets to come in and threaten the lives and health and well-being of the citizens in their country, and Israel has the right to defend themselves.
QUESTION: Okay. Do you believe that the Palestinians in Gaza have the right to defend themselves?
No matter whether you participated in our Twitter campaign or not, we want your input! Fill out this quick survey to let us know what we can improve in our next social media campaign.
Hashtag is #UnblockGazaMay31 but DO NOT START UNTIL 10AM ET! Sample tweets below. Countdown: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gazaday-countdown
On April 29, 2014, Gaza's Ark—a refurbished boat that was set to sail in June from the port of Gaza out to sea carrying Palestinian export goods—was sabotaged when explosive devices caused substantial damage to its hull. Repairing the boat will cost about $30,000. The attack is still under investigation.
Gaza's Ark can be ready to sail this fall—but we need your support to make it happen.
Human rights activists have called for an International Freedom for Gaza Day on May 31 to mark the fourth anniversary of the attack on the Mavi Marmara, which killed nine Turkish and a Turkish-American human rights activist—the tenth died this week after four years in a coma —as they attempted to challenge the blockade of Gaza. Actions drawing attention to the siege will take place in Gaza, Turkey, and around the world.
If you participate in social media, you have a unique opportunity to help raise the profile of the International Freedom Day for Gaza and Gaza's Ark.
Find sample tweets in Pastebin below but DO NOT START UNTIL 10AM ET. Here's a countdown: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gazaday-countdown
In the last few days, we asked you to participate in efforts to support Gaza's Ark, a project to politically challenge the blockade of Gaza by bringing a boat out of the port of Gaza carrying Palestinian exports. Thanks to the many of you who signed the Gaza's Ark petition or participated in the Twitter storm!
Today, we have grim news. Gaza's Ark was attacked last night. 
At 3:45 AM Gaza time, the night guard on board Gaza's Ark received a call to leave the boat because it was going to be attacked. The guard left, but when nothing happened after about 5 minutes, he returned. A few minutes later, a large explosion rocked the boat, causing extensive damage. 
The boat sank part way and is now sitting on the shallow sea floor. The guard was not injured but was taken to the hospital for tests.
Investigations are underway, both to determine what happened and to determine whether the boat can be repaired.
Here's how you can help now:
1. Help us get the word out about what has happened to the boat. If you're on Twitter, share tweets from @GazaArk and @justfp about what happened. If you're on Facebook, share the Al Jazeera article.
2. Sign and share the petition. If you haven't signed the petition to the UN against the blockade yet, please sign and share. If you have signed it, please share it again. The petition currently has 6,500 signatures. We'd like to get that to 10,000 in the next few days.
Thank you for all you do to challenge the siege of Gaza,
Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
Please help us reach our April fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
Hamas and Israel have reportedly agreed to terms for a ceasefire, which should be taking effect right about now. This is a welcome development.
But just because a ceasefire has been agreed upon doesn't mean that we can or should forget the United States's hypocritical response to the violence, which was on display as late as this morning when President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued statements on a bus bombing in Tel Aviv said by some to be perpetrated by Hamas.