The International Action Center (IAC) headed for the steps of City Hall at AmNews press time to confront Mayor Michael Bloomberg over his publicly stated support for Israel over the Palestinian people in the “occupied territories” during the recent violence that enters its 13th day.
“Stand With Gaza–Shoes for Bloomberg” is the theme of the Jan.7 demonstration. “How dare Mayor Bloomberg rush to Israel to back crimes against the people of Gaza and to support sending billions of dollars more to fund Israeli war crimes while cutting city services, slashing school and health programs, and laying off workers right here in New York City,” IAC stated in their press release. Bush sent $3 billion to Israel in fiscal year 2008 and pledged another $30 billion over the next 10 years, according to U.S. government data.
“We are calling Bloomberg out,” Sara Flounders of the IAC told the AmNews. “How dare he support Israel. And we want him to know that he doesn’t speak for millions of New Yorkers.” She said they are calling on people to bring their old shoes–symbolic of the Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush last month. “This is our symbol of outrage and anger,” Flounders said.
IAC says that Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron supports their rally, saying, “The mayor does not speak for all of New York.”
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and media services, over 570 Palestinians have been killed and 2,700 wounded since Israel mounted its air strikes on Dec.27. Bloomberg also angered activists when he told a British reporter, “If Hamas would focus on building a country rather than destroying another, those people wouldn’t get injured, wouldn’t get killed.” However, Israel has bowed to the international outcry and on Jan.7 for three hours, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., allowed humanitarian aid into Gaza. According to reports, both Hamas and Israel agreed to hold the three-hour truce every day.