Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine


New York City


Janaury 4, 2009




Photos courtesy of BAYAN = USA


News Release
January 4, 2009
Reference: Christina Hilo, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator, email:

Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine

Filipinos in New York City yesterday joined thousands in a long march from Times Square to the Israeli Consulate on Second Avenue in opposition to the continuing military offensives of the Israeli government on the city of Gaza, already claiming over 400 lives and wounding thousands more Palestinians, including women and children. Under the banner of the Filipino-American alliance known as BAYAN USA, members from Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, and the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) expressed solidarity for the Palestinian people's 6-decade long struggle against the Zionist occupation of their ancestral land, otherwise known as the state of "Israel".

"The Filipino people are in complete and unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle for national liberation," stated BAYAN USA Secretary-General Berna Ellorin from the rally stage in Times Square, in front of four packed city blocks of protesters, many of whom were Palestinian immigrants, who cheered in response. "In Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, the Israeli embassy is already the site of massive protests of Filipinos against the US-Israeli attacks on Gaza."

Ellorin also expressed the alliance's respect for the Palestinian people's right to choose any form of struggle to defeat their oppressors, including armed struggle. "The massacre of the Palestinian people by the US-Israeli pact is historical and systemic. The Palestinian people not only have every right to defend themselves, but to assert their claim over their occupied homeland," she also exclaimed from the loud speakers.

During the rally and march to the Israeli Consulate, BAYAN USA members painted "Free Palestine!" on their faces and learned pro-Palestinian chants in Arabic from Palestinian youth. They also drew connections between the Palestinian people's struggle and the Filipino people's continuing struggle for genuine nationalism and democracy in the Philippines, free from US government intervention in economic and political affairs through US-puppet Philippine governments such as that of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Protesters also sharply criticized US President-Elect Barack Obama's silence and inaction on the Gaza attacks. Meanwhile, Israel remains the largest annual recipient of US economic aid in the world, billions of which are used to supply the weaponry, ammunition, and technological capabilities being employed in the Israeli military offensive on the Palestinians. US foreign aid is funneled from US tax dollars.

January 3rd marked a national day of protest across the United States against the continuing US-Israeli attacks in Gaza that began as air strikes and have now evolved into ground attacks.

BAYAN USA is an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines. For more information on BAYAN USA, contact or visit To view pictures from BAYAN USA's participation in the rally in New York City, visit: . ###



Statement of the President of the 63rd Session

of the United Nations General Assembly

On Gaza airstrikes

UN Headquarters , New York, 27 December 2008

The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies.

Time has come to take firm action if the United Nations does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission.

The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.

Those violations include:

Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.



Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population facing massive violations of international humanitarian law – regardless of what country may be responsible for those violations. I call on all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move expeditiously not only to condemn Israel’s serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.




The Israeli military is doing the US government’s dirty work! Stop the ongoing massacres in Gaza now! (Updated)
December 29th, 2008

Contact: Berna Ellorin
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA

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 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.