On Jan. 13, 2023, crowds from different parts of the world gathered in the heart of Washington D.C. to showcase solidarity with Gaza. The Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas triggered a war that has spanned for over 100 days, where more than 20,000 Palestinians are estimated to have perished. The crowds in
Washington D.C. demanded an immediate ceasefire and for the Biden administration to take robust action in pressuring the Israeli government to stop its military operations.
The march was attended by several influential figures who have delivered a few key remarks. Cornell West, an independent presidential candidate, called for the necessity of Palestinian freedom. “You won’t have Jewish safety or Jewish security if you didn’t have Palestinian Safety and Palestinian security”, West said. He also emphasized that “Nobody is calling for the annihilation of Jewish brothers and sisters”.
In addition to West, Josh Paul, a former director at the U.S. Department of State, delivered an address. Paul recently resigned from his position, citing the American support for the Israeli response to the Oct. 7 attacks as one of the reasons. During his speech, Paul highlighted that the participants of the march and himself “will not stay silent about the atrocities that are continuing in Gaza”.
The participants of the march felt the necessity to voice their concern for the Gazans who have to endure the current war. Some of the participants were from North Carolina and shared their thoughts on why they attended this march. Ben Bienvenu, a Raleigh resident who recently moved from New York City, attended the March with his wife Shanie. Ben mentioned that he “attended the march at the invitation of some colleagues at NY who serve as campus ministers across the USA”. Ben reported that he wanted to “live out faith actively and march to pray and redress [the US government] to account for financing [the Israeli] campaign”.
This march comes at a critical time when the ongoing Russia Ukraine war, combined with the Israeli-Palestinian situation, is presenting many challenges for the current US administration. With the elections coming up, one could only wonder how the Administration’s responses could affect the voting turnout for the next cycle. It has been speculated that the Biden administration’s response to the Palestinian situation will alienate a large demographic that has voted for him in the last elections. It is difficult to tell if these marches will pressure the US government to take action in calling for a ceasefire, but it would only be a matter of time before it becomes clearer.