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AFIRE Chicago’s Statement on Palestine and the Israeli Occupation

AFIRE Chicago’s Statement on Palestine and the Israeli Occupation

The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) Chicago understands that the liberation of an oppressed people is tied to the liberation of ALL oppressed people everywhere. We call on elected officials for an immediate end to the inhumane blockade of resources to Palestinians and the end of US military funding that fuels Israel's destructive machine. We stand together for the liberation of Palestine and demand a ceasefire now.

The work of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) was born in 2004 in resistance to the systemic criminalization of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Our work is to organize toward systemic change on issues of social, racial, and economic justice that affect undocumented immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth. As a matter of practice, we uplift the leadership of those at the center of injustice; the gravest injustice is genocide.

We are not experts on Palestine, but we recognize the massive power imbalance between Palestine and the racist Israeli settler colonial state, which is the direct result of an oppressive system meant to benefit one group over another. AFIRE stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and those among our broader immigrant and refugee movements who are directly and indirectly impacted by violence. We stand against genocide and denounce the repeated language used to justify the genocide of Palestinians. We stand against anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, and anti-semitic violence, and recognize that people of all faiths support the liberation of the Palestinian people. AFIRE has shared space with Palestinian and Jewish organizations through our coalitions in the fight for immigrant rights, and AFIRE continues to stand with those same partners to condemn the on-going genocide carried out by the Israeli occupation.

The settler colonial state of Israel has violently occupied Palestine for over 75 years. Every oppressed group throughout history has resisted their oppressor, sometimes engaging in armed resistance when all other options have been exhausted. Palestinians are being denied their most basic human rights and freedoms by Israel's far-right government, which openly proclaims to "wipe Palestinians off the map." The media has shown selective outrage over Hamas as a scapegoat rather than reporting what the United Nations has called “a grave danger of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians” by the Israeli occupation. The media also continues to suppress the stories that Palestinians have been reporting of their continued oppression over several decades.

This kind of brutal oppression and manipulation is also familiar to Filipinx/a/os, as it is a longstanding part of the history of the Philippines through its occupation and colonization by Spain, Japan, and the US over a period of over 400 years. We understand it through our elders' survival of Martial Law implemented by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the continuation of his oppressive legacies. These legacies resulted in the forced migration of Filipinos in search of work and opportunities for a better life overseas. The estimated number of Overseas Filipino Workers in Gaza is 131, and approximately 30,000 in occupied Palestine. Many of them are caregivers and domestic workers with no path to citizenship due to the policies of the Israeli government. These historical contexts and present-day practices make evident our struggles are and have always been connected and affirm AFIRE’s solidarity with the Palestinian people.



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