Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mobilization Against Israeli Attacks on Gaza - 01/03/09 & 1/11/09

Photos by Jonna Baldres

News Release
January 11, 2009

Reference: Christina Hilo, Northeast Coordinator, BAYAN USA, email:

Week 2: Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine;
Condemn Corporate Media's Distortion of Gaza Situation

View more pictures at:

New York-- For the second weekend in a row, Filipinos from New York City and neighboring Jersey City, under the alliance of BAYAN USA, marched with thousands of pro-Palestinian activists from Times Square to the New York offices of CNN and Time Warner to protest the continuing Israeli military invasion of the city of Gaza. BAYAN USA members organizations Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), and NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), comprised a strong and indignant Filipino contingent amidst a sea of Arab and non-Arab supporters for the Palestinian people of Gaza and the cause of the Palestinian people to end the Zionist occupation of their homeland.

News reports from various media outlets tally the Palestinian casualties to more than 800 dead and 3000 wounded in Gaza City, but pro-Palestinian protesters remain critical that facts reported in mainstream news are heavily distorted, and Palestinian victims, including women and children, are possibly under-counted. Pro-Palestinian activists marched from Times Square to the offices of media giants CNN and Time Warner near Central Park to denounce strong pro-Israel bias in mainstream news coverage of the Gaza situation.

"Today, we are all Palestinians!," shouted 20-year old Anakbayan member Yves Nibungco for BAYAN USA from the rally main stage, met with thunderous applause. "We condemn the corporate media for their distortion of the facts in Gaza and puppetry to US interests. They continue to demonize the victims and praise the murderers..... We know the violence in Gaza is not escalating because of Hamas, the violence in Gaza is escalating because of Zionism!" Nibungco stated.

According to most news reports, Hamas' so-called "terrorist activities" are projected as the main cause of the conflict, while Israel's invasion is justified as a matter of self-defense. But BAYAN USA and the other protesters in New York, see the conflict within the historical context of the ongoing Palestinian resistance to the violent 60+ year old Zionist occupation of their ancestral lands assisted by financial support from the US government.

As the largest recipient of US economic aid in the world, Israel enjoys a pork barrel of $15 million a day, or an annual average of $6 billion, from US tax dollars. Nibungco further stated that the US government's large financial investment in Israel ensures US government control over the vast deposits of oil and natural gas in the region.

Last week in Washington DC, both houses of US Congress unanimously passed resolutions in full support of Israel's continued military offensive of Gaza. As stated in Senate Resolution 10 (S.R. 10), US lawmakers united under the framework that Israel has every right to exercise "non-restraint from targeting civilians."

"Filipinos are concerned about Gaza and the liberation of Palestine because there are similarities in Philippine history and current affairs," stated BAYAN USA Secretary-General Berna Ellorin. "US tax dollars fund and enable the Israeli military offensive in Gaza and violent occupation Palestinian soil, just as US tax dollars fund and enable the Philippine military to commit gross human rights violations against the Filipino people at an alarming rate."

As a former direct colony of the US, the Philippines suffered a bloody colonization from the US military that led to the massacre of millions of Filipinos at a time when the US government was a fledgling superpower at the turn of the 20th century. Today, more subtle forms of US economic and political plunder still lord over Philippine national affairs, including a push from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for dangerous provisions to the 1987 Philippine Constitution that would allow 100% foreign ownership of the country's vast natural resources, including oil, gold, and natural gas. Opposition to Arroyo's Charter Change, or Cha-Cha, is another campaign of BAYAN USA.

While none from the BAYAN USA contingent was arrested, police officers brutalized protesters and arrested at least 10 from the march and rally. BAYAN USA, an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines and member of the International League of People's Struggle (ILPS), marched closely with allies from Nodutdol, a progressive Korean community organization based in Queens.

For more information on BAYAN USA, visit, or email ###


Photos by Jonna Baldres

03 January 2009
Times Square, Manhattan
New York, USA

BAYAN USA, with its member organizations in the North East region -- New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), Anakbayan NY/NJ, Filipinas for Rights & Empowerment (FiRE) -- join the mobilization against Israeli attacks on Gaza.


News Statement

Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:


The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of 12 Filipino organizations in the US, vehemently condemns the US government-sponsored bloodshed that is currently ongoing in the city of Gaza, in the Palestinian territories. As of the writing of this statement, the Israeli military air strikes in Gaza have killed over 300 Palestinians, and nearly 1000 more are critically wounded, including women and children. The death toll from the last 72 hours alone in Gaza marks the highest in the decades-long so-called "Israeli-Palestinian conflict". Israeli state officials claim the siege on Gaza is a response to the Hamas government's continued "violent retaliation" in the form of rocket barrages.

To understand the so-called "Israeli-Palestinian conflict" more comprehensively, one must see it in the context of US imperialism's role in dividing and plundering the Middle East to serve its economic and political interests. The state of "Israel" still serves as a strategic access point for US-imperialism to plunder the entire region's most profitable resources-- black gold and oil.The state of "Israel" is a US surrogate state that has long been funded by Washington DC to do its dirty work and uphold its interests in the region. This includes the ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinian families who were violently forced to flee from their ancestral lands beginning in 1948 with the forceful and violent Zionist occupation of Palestine and the establishment of the state of "Israel". The establishment of Israel and its systemic massacre and displacement of the Palestinian people is one of the greatest offensives of the US government in the Middle East, that duly serves the interests of US imperialism to control the region.

Israel-US government relations remain tight and intimate in this campaign. Israel is the largest recipient of direct economic and military aid from the US government since World War II. This means the Israeli military's continuing offensives on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are made possible with generous funding from the US government. The hard-earned tax dollars of the people of the US are fueling these continuing attacks of the US surrogate government of Israel against the Palestinian people. At the same time, the global economic crisis is hitting the people of the US hard with massive job lay-offs, foreclosures, evictions, and budget cuts to health care and education.

In light of their historical oppression, the oppressed Palestinian people have the every right to resist and determine their form of resistance in the interest of their national liberation. It is understandable that this heroic resistance includes armed struggle. The Palestinian people have suffered the most horrific crimes of war and massacre from US imperialism at the hands of the Israeli government.

In the same light, the Filipino people are suffering from attacks from the same enemy. If the state of "Israel" is considered US-imperialism's front door to the rest of the Middle East and Asia, then the Philippines would be the back door. For almost 110 years, the US has forcefully imposed its control over the Philippines, directly and indirectly, for the sake of maintaining this strategic geo-political and economic post in the Asia Pacific region. One of the first colonies of US-imperialism at the turn of the 20th century, the Filipino people suffered great losses. More than one-sixth of the Filipino people were massacred with the first few years of US occupation.

Like the US surrogate government in Israel, the US surrogate government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also performing the same dirty work in the Philippines to advance US imperialism's control over the country. While Israel is the largest annual recipient of US economic and military aid in the world, the Philippines is the largest recipient in Asia. But US economic aid to the Philippine government is not used for economic development of a very poor nation. Instead the Arroyo administration directs US economic aid towards beefing up the Philippine military, which has been responsible for the gravest human rights crisis in the country since the period of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship, and deepening corruption by buying the loyalty of corrupt Philippine politicians. The Philippine military is also responsible for the massive displacement of millions of Filipinos from their lands, especially the Muslim and indigenous communities.

Here in the United States, oppressed and working people have the responsibility to cripple the state terrorist machinaries of the Israeli and Philippine governments by demanding the withdrawal of US direct economic and military aid to both countries. As the global economic crisis continues to awaken the people in the US to the rotten character of US imperialism, we must strengthen our solidarity ties to national liberation struggles abroad, including Palestine and the Philippines. By intensifying our struggles and resistance against US imperialism in all parts of the globe, we can weaken our common enemy.

Furthermore, President-Elect Barack Obama's swift appointment of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief-of-Staff foreshadows continued Zionist oppression of the Palestinian people.

His father, Benjamin Emanuel, is an ardent Zionist militant who has been infamously quoted as bragging that his son will ensure the incoming Obama administration's pro-Israel agenda, and offensively remarked that Arabs in the White House are usually relegated to cleaning floors. We must therefore remain vigilant and maintain no illusion that the incoming US presidential administration can effectively or even has the intention to restore peace in the region.

In condemning the attacks on Gaza, we demand justice for the Palestinian people. This means we demand the US-Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people's ancestral land end, and that the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland be globally respected and recognized. Without justice, neither peace nor democracy can be realized or practiced in the Middle East or the Philippines.


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