More than 50 people rallied at Government Center on Wednesday afternoon before marching to the Israeli consulate’s office to protest the policies of President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who met in Washington earlier in the day.
The marchers voiced opposition to Israel’s plan to build settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to Trump’s campaign promise to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
They also protested Trump’s vow to build a wall along the Mexican border and his controversial temporary ban on immigrants and refugees from seven nations deemed “countries of concern” from entering the United States.
“Simply because of my religion, I am denied entry to the city where I grew up for the first 13 years of my life,” Yamila Shannan, 45, a Dorchester resident from Jerusalem, said as she addressed the protesters.
“Netanyahu is here discussing the future of my people, of millions of people, and figuring out how to continue … land theft in Palestine,” Shannan said later.
The rally was among 16 that took place around the country on Tuesday as part of a national day of action coordinated by a coalition of religious and secular groups, according to Liza Behrendt, an organizer for Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston, a coalition member.
“We’re here to say no to the policies of both of these leaders,” Behrendt said as the rally began outside the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building downtown. “They both are propagating racism and apartheid and anti-immigrant policies.”
Chanting, “Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here,” they carried signs with messages such as, “USA stop funding Israeli apartheid” and “Resist fascism.”
As the march moved through Downtown Crossing during rush hour, pedestrians stopped and stared, some wearing quizzical expressions. On Boylston Street, a driver in a hijab smiled and waved at the marchers as she honked her horn.
Outside the consulate, Gabriel Camacho, immigrant programs coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, denounced Trump and Netanyahu.
“These are two egomaniacal racists,” Camacho said. “They have implemented policies that destroy indigenous communities and communities of color.”
Raheem Albokhari, 27, a Saudi Arabian national studying at Emmanuel College, said he’s concerned about the Israeli government expanding settlements in disputed territory.
“My message to the American people is that they should support real democracy, not the Israeli Jewish state, which is a theocracy, and they should be concerned about military and US government aid to Israel,” he said.
He said he is angry that Western governments have remained largely passive amid humanitarian crises in Gaza, Syria, and Yemen.
“I think they should oppose Arab governments that support dictatorship,” Albokhari said. “They should support democracy without military intervention.”