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Thousands of protestors turned out in Washington, D.C., to support Palestinians

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

And while American conservatives by and large support Israel, a different group in Washington voiced their discontent. Hundreds of protesters marching in support of Palestinians sat down yesterday in the rotunda of a congressional office building chanting and singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Singing in non-English language).

MARTÍNEZ: Jewish Voice for Peace organized the event. Earlier in the day, thousands gathered on the National Mall.

HAL BARNETT: A core thing about Judaism is questioning things. And so if we don't question what we're doing in Israel, then we're just turning a blind eye to everything.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hal Barnett (ph) is 23 and a student at City College in New York. The march to the rotunda was led by a group of rabbis and young people carrying a large banner that read, our blood is the same color. David Sperber (ph) is 79 and traveled from Rochester, N.Y.

DAVID SPERBER: I've been to Gaza as part of a humanitarian medical delegation, and I saw up close and personal what Israel has been doing to Gaza for the last 16 years. You know, I took an oath as a medical doctor to support health and life. And so I'm out here doing this as a doctor, as a Jewish person.

MARTÍNEZ: Twenty-nine-year-old Yasmine Batniji (ph) says the march helped her take her mind off her family, who's been unreachable in Gaza for days.

YASMINE BATNIJI: The best thing that I can do right now is just being in the streets. And that's the only way that I think I can show up for my people and show up for what's right.

MARTIN: Thirty-nine-year-old Alaa Wafa (ph) says women like her who wear the hijab are very visible in the U.S. And in recent days, she has felt less safe.

ALAA WAFA: I worry about my child's safety and my family's safety. I worry about the safety also of our Jewish American friends who are also facing antisemitism.

MARTIN: She says her Palestinian grandmother is heartbroken by the current violence, but her own feelings are mixed.

WAFA: I think people just need to remember the humanity of society and stop doing the othering, divisive rhetoric and things like that. And so I truly believe this, that we're all one human family.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAXON SHORE'S "SECRET FIRE, BINDING LIGHT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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