Effects of Fighting in the Middle East Felt in the U.S.

October 15, 2000

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On October 15, 2000, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that "hundreds of Muslims gathered in downtown Atlanta on Saturday to express their solidarity with Palestinians in the Middle East and to call for an end to Israeli military strikes against them. The noisy but orderly demonstration across from CNN Center lasted three hours and attracted approximately 300 protesters, most of them Arab-Americans. Similar protests were held over the weekend in Philadelphia, New York and Washington. 'We are here because we are frustrated with the way facts are twisted when we talk about Palestinians in this country,' said Manal Melhem, a Palestinian- American pharmacist. 'All we want is peace, but we are being portrayed as violent barbarians.' As news cameras rolled, children with ketchup-spattered white T-shirts lay on the sidewalks, while a woman in a head scarf held up a sign that said, 'Shame, shame! Our tax dollars are killing children.' Other demonstrators excoriated American politicians for not understanding the plight of the Palestinians and faulted the U.S. for its continued support of Israel. Navigating her way through the crowd was a lone Jewish woman --- Ilise Cohen, program director for the Atlanta office of a Middle East peace education program, who was passing out leaflets inviting demonstrators to a dialogue between Muslims and Jews. 'I've had more incredible conversations with the people here than I've had in all my years working for the program,' Cohen said. 'They have opened their hearts and shared their sorrow. And however tragic this recent development in the Middle East is, this might be the opportunity for us to come together and seek some answers.'"