As Americans Pay Income Taxes, Revenue Heads to Israel

tax day

San Francisco (04-19) – On Tax Day April 18, fourteen activists wearing t-shirts emblazoned with “75 Years of Israeli War Crimes” in front of a backdrop decorated with “Crime Scene” tape, chained themselves at the entry and escalators to the building housing the Israeli Consulate. The human chain achieved its desired effect by closing the consulate and access to the other offices in the building for the afternoon.

One of those in the human chain was Monadel Herzallah who told of how he had been verbally accosted by an irate Israeli who was locked out of the consulate. The man told him that, “This is inconvenient, you are not letting us in. You are not letting us out.” Herzallah responded by saying, “Oh my God how convenient it is for the Israeli Army to disrupt people from sleeping at four o’clock in the morning. How convenient it is for people to pray in mosques and be disrupted and taken to jail, four hundred of them” as he defiantly remained chained to the building blocking the freedom of movement of an Israeli.

The “No Tax Dollars for Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians” rally took place while many Americans were busy rushing to the post office to pay their federal income tax before the midnight deadline. The rally pointed out that the US gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual support that is being used to run its apartheid state and military in controlling Palestinians. Speakers reminded people that through their tax dollars, “We are contributing to the genocide of our families” and that Israel is the largest recipient of US tax dollars in the world.

California’s portion of this largess is $609 million dollars that the group reflected could instead be put to better use in funding among other things, public housing for 72,497 families, offer free or low-cost healthcare for 212,193 children, hire 6,658 elementary school teachers and provide 530,300,108 N95 masks. Instead, the funds given annually to Israel are used by them to “harm Palestinian life.”

One example of an impacted village like many others that are harmed is that of Wadi Foquin, a small West Bank village of 1,200 that is under direct daily threat by the Israeli military who have eradicated every aspect of the villagers’ normal lives. Their land has been illegally confiscated for the construction of a settlement; their local water supply has been taken from their control and turned over to the Israeli government and that in turn has dried up the village’s natural springs. Presently the inhabitants are unable to grow and sell produce due to the dumping of raw sewage being directed towards them from settlements along with construction materials being disposed of on their land.

The villagers’ ability to travel in and around the West Bank has been effectively terminated by “settler only” roads that they cannot use along with the ever present “flying checkpoints” that inhibit freedom of movement. Being unable to go to work, to school, to appointments or for medical treatment are all designed to make life so unbearable that people will move out of the area as part of an overall plan to take yet more land in their absence.

To their defense in calling for an end to such harassment, the village is supported by the group, Friends of Wadi Foquin, who have lobbied Congress with little effect to put an end to such abuses by the Israeli military and government. But not every village is that fortunate and there are too many thusly affected by the systematic abuses they are subjected to.

Before several hundred supporters, speakers at the rally related personal stories of mistreatment by the Israeli military and called for an end to the US military funding by declaring that they will not stand “idly by while settler colonialism and apartheid are funded by the American government.” Speaking directly to the consulate through an amplified sound system, one speaker declared that “We will not let you continue with business as usual if you will not let us live our lives in our homeland,” promising that the group would be returning to block the building as often as it takes until Israel vacated their ongoing repression of the Palestinian people.

At the end of the rally only chalk message souvenirs remained on the sidewalk calling for an end to US funding for Israel and in ending too the ongoing support of genocide against the Palestinian people along with calls for ending the “ongoing Nakba.”

Report and photos by Phil Pasquini

Phil Pasquini is a journalist

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