Protesters gather outside White House against Israeli PM's US visit

Protesters gather outside White House against Israeli PM's US visit
On Thursday, Palestinians demonstrated by the White House against the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
27 August, 2021
Palestinian activists stagde a demonstration by the White House over Bennett's visit. [Laura Albast]

Around 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered to protest the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet outside the White House on Thursday morning.

The Palestinian Youth Movement, in coordination with other pro-Palestinian groups, met at Black Lives Matter Plaza by the back entrance to the White House and then marched for around two hours to an area near the front entrance.

Holding signs reading Free Palestine, End the Occupation, and Save Sheikh Jarrah, they marched under a heavy police presence, as US President Joe Biden was scheduled to meet Bennett.

The meeting was later delayed due to the news of Afghan and US military casualties during evacuation operations at Kabul airport.

"We’re asking the US to stop intervening and tipping the balance against Palestine. What we want is for them to withdraw military funding for Israel,” Rasha Anayah, an organiser with the Palestinian Youth Movement, told The New Arab, pointing to America’s $3 billion in annual aid to Israel, most of which goes to the military.

"Bennett can visit as much as he wants, but our voices will be heard."

As a Palestinian American, she grew up learning about the mass displacement of Palestinians from her grandmother. This past spring, as she followed the news of the expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah, she felt like she was seeing the Nakba again in real time.

For Tom Smith, a retired teacher, his support for the Palestinian cause goes back to his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in North Africa around the time of the 1967 War, during which time he met Palestinian medical students who told him their stories. It was the first time he’d heard a non-American perspective. He is now heartened to see a growing number of Americans, including politicians, speaking up on the issue.

"The needle is slowly moving," he told The New Arab shortly after the demonstration.

Though most of the demonstrators were Palestinian youths, the gathering also drew other progressives, as well as a small group of orthodox Jews.