July 22 Peace Rallies
Addressing the huge gathering, organiser Ibrahim Constantine said peace was the only way forward for the embattled region.
"We are marching today, Christian and Muslims united as one, marching to give peace a chance," Mr Constantine said.
"This is a war that Israel will not win. This is a war that no one will win.
Organisers predicted up to 20,000 people would attend, but police placed official numbers at about 15,000.
At the start of the demonstration, organisers stressed the protest would be a peaceful one and warned demonstrators not to burn flags.
Police praised all involved, saying their cooperation ensured the event was peaceful and without incident.
Sadly, this united peace rally is not to be seen here, this is from the San Jose Mercury News;
Arab American group is organizing a rally today and next Friday in front of the federal building in San Jose to call for a cease-fire in the violence between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based militant group. A major Muslim civil rights group also had asked its members to lobby their legislators to condemn Israel, accusing it of ``terrorism.''
In contrast, the Jewish community has called for Israeli solidarity rallies in San Francisco and San Jose on Sunday. Smaller gatherings are scheduled at temples throughout the week.
The recent battles -- with their dramatic escalation, rising death toll and worsening Arab-Israeli tensions -- has elicited fierce loyalties on both sides.
``When there's a crisis going on, the community needs each other,'' said Jyl Jurman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley.
She recently sent an e-mail reminding people that ``As American Jews, it is our role to speak out in support of Israel, and counteract any anti-Israel bias we hear or read about.''
I have been pondering over that the whole day. Why is it, that so many Jews rally behind Israel even in the face of so much evidence of its violence towards Palestinians. Of course, I am talking about the government's policies and actions. Why are so many Jewish people who do not even live in Israel are so cavalier about 'supporting Israel' and totally disregard people's lives on both sides? I feel very conflicted myself as I see ordinary Israelis and Palestinians and Lebanese bearing the brunt of a pro-war propaganda machine here (US) and abroad, obviously feeling that the threat of Hezbullah is the best reason for 'defending themselves'. However, how did Hezbullah come about? Why do terrorist groups arise? Nothing happens in a vacuum and many times over, anywhere terrorism is a response to the inability to particpate in any legitimate (or usually the lack of an existing one) government procedure. I have so many serious (not meaning in an accusatory manner) questions, on both sides really, that I want to ask.. hence my attempt to get the blogger round table started. Which, realistically, as both Israelis and Lebanese and Gaza bloggers are in war right now (yes, it's called a crisis, I am calling it war) so this is not the best time to get people to participate. Once the dust settles, I think it will serve better to engage in discourse. Until then, I will still invite people and hope that in my very limited way, I can forge some sort of understanding or middle ground as to where to go next. I really would like to see that myself..
peace to all of you.. I feel very helpless indeed.