CHICAGO (CBS) — Demonstrators filled up the area around the Thompson Center and the Daley Center on Monday, for competing rallies – one in support of Israel, the other in support of Palestinians.
WBBM Newsradio’s Veronica Carter reports the Jewish United Fund organized a rally in the plaza outside the Thompson Center, to show solidarity with Israel amid the ongoing conflict with Palestinian militants and Hamas.
Speaker after speaker talked to the crowd about bringing peace to Gaza, and how it’s not going to be achieved through terrorism.
“Trying to figure out some peaceful solution, which just seems to be impossible,” said one man who attended the rally.
“Of course the Israelis want peace. Peace is better for everybody. I think if the Israelis felt they could have security, there would be peace in an instant. Tomorrow there would be peace,” said another.
“Jewish people have a right to a state,” said Allan Muchin. “Israel is a democratic state. They are defending themselves like any other country would defend themselves.”
Pro-Palestinian activists proved the more vocal of the two groups, staging a counter-demonstration across the street, repeatedly chanting “Shame on you.” Many of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators were upset the pro-Israel rally was held on Eid, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
As they marched around the Daley Center, chanting “Free Palestine,” many in the counter-demonstration carried Palestinian flags, and signs reading “Gaza’s children are being slaughtered.”
“They know nothing about peace. They’re either brainwashed, or they’re just racist. I don’t know which one,” a woman said.
“Israel has to give something to have peace; but Israel keeps taking, not giving anything,” one man said.
One man marching with the pro-Palestinian demonstrators said, “As a Jew, I find particularly repulsive Israel’s theft of my identity. They don’t represent me.”
Abby Harms is Jewish but says what the Israelis are doing is downright wrong.
“I feel like a lot of Jewish values are standing up for the oppressed and I feel like a lot of other American Jews especially have learned things about Israel that aren’t the whole truth and I think that we don’t always realize what Israel is supporting and doing,” said Harms.