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  May 16, 2016

Activists Protest Celebration of Israeli Independence Day in Fells Point, Baltimore

Pro-Israel groups Charm City Tribe and IMPACT celebrated Israel's 68th anniversary at a bar in Fells Point while protesters outside mourned for the Palestinians killed and displaced during the land grab
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SAMMY ALQASEM: So, I'm Sammy Alqasem. I'm a member of Baltimore Palestine Solidarity and Baltimore Jewish Voice for Peace. So, today we're gathering here to protest the Charm City TRIBE and IMPACT's celebration of Israeli Independence Day.

ANNIE KAUFMAN: Charm City TRIBE is mostly supposed to be fore young adult Jews who live downtown, and IMPACT is kind of like their young leadership development core through the [associate], so that's the institutional Jewish community of Baltimore.

ALQASEM: So, we did this last year as well. It was held at the Pratt Street Ale House right on Pratt Street. What we did then was, we went inside and we had little flyers with us that had different villages that were destroyed. And so, it had the village and on the back had a description of the village. So, this year we're going to do this outside, so we're going to march over to the Point at Fells.

KAUFMAN: My impression is, it'll just be a party with Israeli themes, and certainly no awareness of the fact that the political independence of the state of Israel was predicated on a military evacuation, an ethnic cleansing of Palestinian inhabitants of the territory.

So yeah, like, this is not a competition about who cares more, because we care enough to show up. That man is having an emotional experience. We do not have to participate in his emotional experience. It's enough that we instigate it, and then that's [inaud.] to deal with [inaud.]

SPEAKERS: [chanting] Stop celebrating ethnic cleansing.

There is no pride in genocide.

SPEAKER: This is for Haifa. This is for [inaud.]. This is for Gaza. This is for [inaud.]. This is for Tareq. This is for [Basher]. This is for Mahmoud. This is for [Ta'al]. This is for Fatma who was only seven and some man shot dead at school at the age of eleven. What would you do if you were occupation? Let them take your freedom or fight for liberation?

Long live the freedom fighters of the intifada fighting for freedom today because it might not be here tomorrow, now. Long live the freedom fighters of the intifada fighting for freedom today because it might not be here tomorrow. Give me liberty or death.

POLICE OFFICER: We don't have a problem with you guys protesting and stuff, or doing whatever, but you need a permit for the bullhorn and you can't stand still. You've got to move. Take a second, grab a commander, come here and talk to me, alright?

SPEAKER 1: So they are talking about people arrested? But why you guys choose the place here and [inaud.]? I didn't know that they are doing this.

SPEAKER 2: What are you doing here?

SPEAKER 1: Just getting a food and leave, though.

SPEAKER 2: Okay, okay.

SPEAKER 1: Okay, thank you very much.

SPEAKERS: [call and response] A village destroyed.

Until the last pulse in my veins.

You may deprive me of my mother's kisses.

SPEAKER, FEMALE: We're not depriving your [inaud.].

SPEAKERS: [call and response] You may destroy my history.

SPEAKER, FEMALE: [crosstalk] I'm not destroying your history. You are wrong. You are so wrong.

SPEAKERS: [call and response] You may curse my father, my people.


SPEAKER, FEMALE: No, I won't! I won't! How dare you?

SPEAKERS: [call and response] You may deprive my children of their smile.

SPEAKER, FEMALE: [crosstalk] No!

SPEAKERS: [call and response] And of life's necessities.

SPEAKER, FEMALE: [crosstalk] Israel is a democracy!

SPEAKERS: [call and response] You may fool my people with a borrowed face.

SPEAKER, FEMALE: [crosstalk] Every Palestinian person has a right to speak [inaud.].

SPEAKERS: [call and response] You may spread a wall of terror around me.

SPEAKER, FEMALE: [crosstalk] No! No! No! No!

SPEAKERS: [call and response] You may glue my eyes with humiliation.

Oh, enemy of the sun.

But I shall not compromise.

Until the last pulse in my veins.

OWNER, THE POINT AT FELLS: If you want to picket just go over there, please. Just go right over there.

SPEAKER: The police said that we can stay here.


SPEAKER: The police.

OWNER: The officers? In front of my–

SPEAKER: [inaud.] Impeding the business, so they have to clear off the sidewalk.

OWNER: Okay, get off the sidewalk, then.

CHRISTOPHER COMEAU: Eventually the owner did come and I did have a brief conversation with her again, where she said, essentially, if I had known that it was going to cause this much trouble I wouldn't have let them be here, and you should contact me next time, and that sort of thing. She said, so that's why I called the police, I guess. So, she was sort of like, at this point it's not worth kicking them out to me, and so I'm not, you know.

Basically, she was just like, call me. I don't want this to happen. She was very upset about losing business, which makes sense for a capitalist.

SPEAKER: Let's make it harder for them.

SPEAKER: We didn't hear from the bar, we didn't hear anything from the bar last year, but we didn't have a good contact. So, it's a good lesson to keep our ear to the ground about where they're going to hold it next year because it's going to get harder and harder. We just have have to reach out as soon as possible so that we can make it more and more difficult for them to find a venue.


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