GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A protest on Thursday calling for North Carolina lawmakers to back a ceasefire in Gaza drew a response from the state’s District 6 representative in Congress.
Thursday afternoon, protestors stood on the sidewalk at the intersection of West Market Street and South Elm Street, chanting, “Thom Tillis, you will see Palestine will be free,” as well as “Resistance is justified when people are occupied” and “Free, free Palestine.” Their chants were echoed by signs carrying pro-Palestine statements like “Palestine will be free” and “Stop the Palestine genocide.”
The protest served, in part, to put pressure on Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), the first woman to serve as Board Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America and a vocal supporter of Israel, to call for a ceasefire.
Manning recently was joined by two other North Carolina Democratic representatives and all seven of the state’s Republican representatives in voting to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who is the only Palestinian American in Congress, in a rebuke of Tlaib’s comments about the Israel-Hamas war.
“We want to demand a ceasefire,” said protestor Maitha Ali. “We’re disappointed that Kathy Manning censured the sole Palestinian American voice, and standing up for Palestine is not antisemitic, it is anti-Zionist, and it is a call for humanity and a stand for humanity.”
The rally drew a response from a spokesperson for Manning’s office, stating that the congresswoman does not intend to call for a ceasefire unless Hamas has been dissolved and hostages have been released.
“Hamas has used each ceasefire to rearm, build miles of underground tunnels, and increase their ability to manufacture lethal weapons within Gaza,” Manning’s office said. “… Congresswoman Manning supports President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s efforts to facilitate negotiations among regional powers to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid in Gaza.”
The full statement from Manning’s office is included below:
“We appreciate members of the community making their voices heard during today’s peaceful protest. We share a common goal: two states living side by side in peace. To achieve that goal, President Biden and a bipartisan majority in Congress, including Congresswoman Manning, believe we must support our ally Israel, remove the terrorist group Hamas from power, bring the hostages home, and provide humanitarian aid for Palestinian and Israeli civilians impacted by this crisis.
“A ceasefire without the dissolution of Hamas and release of the hostages would only give Hamas time to regroup and attack civilians again. We have seen this occur during the past five ceasefires between Hamas and Israel. Hamas has used each ceasefire to rearm, build miles of underground tunnels, and increase their ability to manufacture lethal weapons within Gaza. Additionally, footage released this week confirms that Hamas continues to place military commands and weapons in sensitive civilian zones, including Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
“Congresswoman Manning supports President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s efforts to facilitate negotiations among regional powers to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid in Gaza. That is one of the reasons she voted against House Republicans’ flawed aid proposal which conditioned aid to Israel and did not include any humanitarian aid for civilians. As this war progresses, Congresswoman Manning will continue to be a leading voice in support of defeating Hamas terrorists to bring about peace for both Palestinian and Israeli citizens.”