BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Arguing that two wrongs don’t make a right, local peace activists are holding a series of demonstrations calling for a stop to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
Members of Broome County Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and Paz Christi Upstate New York held a protest outside the Federal Building in downtown Binghamton on Friday.
They want US Senator Chuck Schumer to use his influence to stop American military and financial support for Israel’s bombing and planned ground invasion of Gaza.
Binghamton resident Imran Khattak says he condemns Hamas’s barbaric rampage through Jewish settlements in Israel. But he says the Israeli response is barbaric as well.
“I can say, as a United States citizen, I want to raise my voice for innocent people who are suffering on both sides, in Israel and in Gaza. This bloodshed has to stop,” said Khattak.
Friday’s protest was attended by several local people of Middle Eastern descent.
They argue that the seeds of the conflict come from the Palestinians lack of self-determination.
Longtime local peace activist Jim Clune says it’s not anti-Semitic to criticize the actions of the Israeli government.
“We have got to stop sending arms to the war-makers. The arms manufacturers are the only ones who are profiting from this,” said Clune.
Meanwhile, Schumer lead a delegation of five US Senators to Israel yesterday where they met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders to affirm US support for Israel.
Schumer says the country has the right to defend itself, while minimizing civilian casualties and following the rules of war. The Senate Majority Leader noted that he is the highest ranking Jewish elected official in American history.
“There are no words for the horror that happened last Saturday. It shook me to my core. I think about it all the time. I see the pictures of the little children and think, what if this happened to my four-year-old grandson? It was the most Jews killed in a single day since the Holocaust, more than on Kristallnacht, it was horrible,” said Schumer.
A handful of protesters were back in front of the Federal Building this afternoon as part of a nationwide effort organized by the group Jewish Voices for Peace.