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Quincy protestors demand ceasefire in Gaza. Rep. Stephen Lynch says request is premature
Quincy protestors demand ceasefire in Gaza. Rep. Stephen Lynch says request is premature
Quincy protestors demand ceasefire in Gaza. Rep. Stephen Lynch says request is premature

Published on: 11/19/2023


QUINCY – More than 50 people attended a rally in Quincy Center on Wednesday calling on U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, to support a ceasefire in Gaza. Lynch, who was away in Washington, D.C., sent an aide to receive the organizers' petition and convey his view that a ceasefire would be premature.

On Oct. 7, the attack on Israelis and foreigners by Hamas militants killed an estimated 1,200 people. Ongoing Israeli airstrikes and ground incursions aimed at destroying Hamas have subsequently killed more than 12,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

People of various ages, faiths and ethnicities participated in the rally, many from Quincy and surrounding communities.

Bonnie Gorman from Houghs Neck is a combat support veteran who served as a Medevac nurse in Vietnam. She’s also a member of a Gold Star family who’s lost a family member in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

“So I have a vested interest in working for peace,” she said.

Gorman said the Netanyahu government in Israel is intentionally “wiping out” the Palestinian population. She faulted Lynch for supporting Israeli airstrikes and military actions that have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“There’s no war (Lynch) hasn’t loved and funded extensively,” Gorman said.

She said she wants Lynch to sign on to a ceasefire resolution that has been endorsed by two members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, representatives Ayanna Pressley and Jim McGovern.

Ali, from Quincy, attended the rally with his wife and daughter. He held a sign with the word “justice” written in Arabic, English and Hebrew.

"It's 'justice for all,'" he said, citing the Pledge of Allegiance. "We just want justice for all. We're all human beings."

Ali said the Palestinians haven’t had justice for 75 years, referring to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled by Israeli forces.

Victoria El Sharafi, of Braintree, attended the event with her husband, Mohammad, and daughter Laila. The three held Palestinian flags as they listened to the speakers. “I’m supporting the people of Gaza right now,” Victoria said. “We’re a Palestinian family.”

Victoria said she doesn’t want the government to use her tax money on weapons for Israel, weapons she said have inflicted violence and death on family and friends.  

Mohammad said that he’s lost 75 members of his extended family to the current cycle of violence in Gaza and the West Bank. “Children under 9, women, elderly men (were killed)” he said. “Also two doctors who had just graduated and went back to Gaza to practice.”

Mohammed said he was born in a refugee camp in Jordan after his father was driven from his land during the 1947-48 war. He said his father, a few years before his expulsion, hosted Jewish immigrants from Europe on his plantation, taught them agricultural techniques and gave them a portion of land to farm.

Mohammad said he believes another forced displacement like that of 1948 could occur, citing statements by Israeli officials and an Israeli government document outlining plans to transfer Gaza's 2.6 million inhabitants to Egypt's Sinai desert, as reported by the Associated Press.

Elsa Auerbach, the daughter of Holocaust refugees, characterized attacks in Gaza as a genocide against the Palestinian population.

Addressing Lynch, Auerbach said that silence in the face of genocide amounts to complicity. At the conclusion of her speech, Auerbach delivered a letter to Lynch’s communications director, Molly Rose Tarpey.

In a statement responding to the rally, Lynch said he strongly supports “Israel’s right to exist and to thrive as the Jewish homeland” and that he's “sponsored legislation to support the Palestinian diaspora and reduce suffering in the region.”

Lynch said he viewed classified evidence of “savage” and “Medieval cruelty” visited upon Israeli civilians by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Lynch blamed Hamas, not Israel, for the thousands of Palestinians killed in Israeli military actions, saying that Hamas would have to be “brought to justice” before any ceasefire.

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