CAIR-NJ rallies outside of Menendez’s office calling for halt of weapons sales to Israel


The state chapter for Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) rallied outside the Jersey City office of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) urging him and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to halt the sale of weapons to Israel.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

They consistently called for the liberation of Palestine by ending the State of Israel, which they feel is oppressing their people as a colonial power.

Protestors chanted they wanted the “From the River to the Sea” several times, meaning Israel’s land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

As the rally continued on for over an hour, a Jersey police officer informed the crowd that their were some parameters to their protest.

“Don’t stand right in front of the PATH station, don’t block the entrance to the Hyatt Hotel, and do not block the entrance to 10 Exchange Place and you are good,” he said.

Around that time, they opted to march to Owen Grundy Park by the Exchange Place PATH station, where the Freedom Tower is in plaint sight, while chanting “Free, free Palestine!”

Hafsa Habehh, an activist with American Muslims for Palestine New Jersey (AMP NJ), said the money spent on arms to Israel could be used to fund elementary school teachers or food assistance.

To that end, activist leader Jessica Berrocal, a Fairview council candidate, lamented that many are suffering in the Gaza Strip where innocent children had died, she said.

“We stand in solidarity with the Palestinians who every day are oppressed!” a representative from the Party of Communist USA said.

“They Party of Communists USA will not be bystanders. The working class supports the revolution in Palestine.”

The protest was broadcast live and coincided with a phone bank webinar, where participants insisted the rally did not reflect their view on Judaism as a religion.

Additionally, a Hasidic Jewish man who declined to give is name also called for an end to Israel, exclaiming that the State of Israel is satanic.

“It’s not Kosher! It’s not allowed!” he stated.

“Long live the Intifada!” AMP NJ Vice Chair Wassim Kannan later chanted.

“We are calling on the senator to make the conscientious decision of halting material support for the destruction being brought upon the Palestinian people. This decision will position him on either the right or wrong side of history. Where will he stand?,” he asked.

“They deserve respect! They deserve liberty by any means necessary … We live in a country that directly the oppression of Palestinian people and people all across the world, and people in this country and for that reason, it is our duty to as a people, as a movement, to mobilize.

The protesters also called Israel a “terrorist state” numerous times.

Today is the first full day of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, though tensions are still high with Hamas participating in a military parade with their top leader, as the Associated Press reported.

Last week, Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said last week that “any death of civilians and innocent Jews and Arabs alike is a setback to stability and peace in the Middle East” as part of a lengthy statement.

“I am deeply troubled by reports of Israeli military actions that resulted in the death of innocent civilians in Gaza as well as Israeli targeting of buildings housing international media outlets,” he said.

“In response to thousands of rocket attacks fired by Hamas aimed at civilians, Israel has every right to self-defense from terrorists committed to wipe her off the face of the map. But no matter how dangerous and real that threat may be, I have always believed the strength of the U.S.-Israeli relationship flourishes when it is based on the shared values of democracy, freedom, pluralism, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) took a similar stance when he weighed in last week.

“I condemn the attacks by Hamas on Israel in the strongest possible terms. It is a terrorist organization that imperils the lives of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians when it initiates violence.”

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