DC-Area High School Walkout Features Calls for Israel's Destruction

Teen protesters call for 'student-led revolution'

DC high school walkout
High schoolers in D.C. area stage anti-Israel protest
May 24, 2024

High school students from around the nation's capital walked out of school Friday to march in an anti-Israel protest that included anti-Semitic chants and a speaker who glorified "intifada."

The DC School Strike for Gaza was organized by "autonomous high school students" across the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area to call for "an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to unconditional military aid to Israel from the US," among other goals, according to its website. A slew of left-wing organizations are listed as cosponsors of the event.

The protesters, who gathered at McPherson Square and marched to the White House, chanted anti-Semitic phrases and heard from a speaker who called the first intifada "a beautiful moment." Marchers chanted, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," a phrase that calls for the elimination of Israel, as they marched toward the White House.

Sana Siddiq, the regional director for Muslims for Just Futures, hosted a "teach-in" where she spoke about the history of Gaza. During her speech, Siddiq glorified the first intifada, calling it a "beautiful moment" and praising the burning of Israeli food sources.

"The first intifada … was a beautiful moment of protests, boycotts, burning Israeli produce, an attempt for Palestinians to create self-sufficiency despite the fact that Israel had a military occupation, controlled land, and had a monopoly on violence, had the army," Siddiq said.

The term "intifada" references a series of violent Palestinian uprisings in Israel. The second intifada included suicide bombings at bus stations and nightclubs.

Protesters also made clear that they thought the entirety of Israel is illegitimate. "Settler, settler, go back home! Palestine is ours alone!" the protesters shouted.

The highly organized event was encouraged by teachers and other adult groups from the area. Cosponsors of the strike include Teachers Against Genocide, Students for Justice in Palestine DMV, DC For Ceasefire, and American Muslims for Palestine. One sign at the rally read, "K-12 Teachers for Palestine." Another teacher marched alongside the keffiyeh-clad high school students holding a sign that read, "This history teacher stands with students here, and in Palestine against genocide, apartheid, and ALL forms of oppression EVERYWHERE. FREE PALESTINE."

Protesters led the march with banners that said "High Schoolers for Gaza" and "Biden Funds Genocide." Another popular chant was "There is only one solution! A student-led revolution!"

Minors younger than high school students were present, including a young girl who wrote "Free Palestine" in chalk on the pavement while she wore a princess dress.

Organizers provided lunch to protesters along with water and vegan bagels from Panera Bread.

Siddiq had a volunteer come to read the "Manifesto of Dignity and Hope: The Unity Intifada," which was written in 2021.

"The story of truth is a simple one in our land: The truth is that Palestinians are one people, one society. Zionist gangs forced out most of our people, it stole our homes and destroyed our villages," the volunteer read. "In these days, we write a new chapter, a chapter of a united intifada that seeks our one and only goal: reuniting Palestinian society in all of its different parts, reuniting our political will and our means of struggle to confront Zionism throughout Palestine."