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Protesters arrested Wednesday rallying against Boeing’s business partnership with Israel

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(Megan Deppen/The DePaulia)

Four to six protesters were arrested for civil disobedience Wednesday after playing dead in the lobby of the Boeing Company downtown to protest Boeing’s business partnership with Israel.

In fake-blood spattered t-shirts, protesters “died-in” –a grim spin on the traditional sit-in– for approximately 20-30 minutes in Boeing’s lobby, fellow protester by the alias of Mikhail Pavlovich said, before they were carried away by Chicago police (CPD) to the cheers of about 80 protesters outside the building.

Pavlovich, a DePaul University alumnus, was among many college students at the rally from groups like Jews for Justice in Palestine, the Antiwar Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Students for Justice in Palestine.

One of those arrested was Ben Chametzky, a University of Chicago student. First District Police Commander Alfred Nagode said the protesters would be processed at 1718 South State Street in the first district. Other policemen denied comment.

At 10 a.m (0200 UTC or 2 a.m in Chicago), a UN brokered humanitarian ceasefire took effect to allow Gaza civilians to restock on food, water, and other supplies, the AP reported. Three mortar shells were fired toward Israel in that time, but the Israeli military did not retaliate.

The 10-day conflict has resulted in a death toll of over 230 Palestinians and one Israeli, with almost 2,000 Israeli airstrikes and more than 1,300 rockets fired by Hamas, the militant group from Gaza.

Protesters at Chicago’s 5th rally against the occupation of Palestine demanded not just a ceasefire, but a complete turnover of power in Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinian authorities.

Jennifer Bing, an organizer of the protest and coordinator from the American Friends Service Committee said a ceasefire was “not enough.”

Bing said the protesters’ demands were a boycott and divestment from corporations like Boeing whose business with Israel supplies the military with weapons that are allegedly used to occupy Palestine. Protesters also demanded the U.S. government stop military aid to Israel.

“The U.S. is funding only one side,” Bing said. “A more neutral government and the United Nations could play a more productive role.”

Many of the DePaul students at the rally were involved in the divestment movement this spring that added a referendum question to the student government ballot, asking whether or not DePaul should withdraw investments from companies like Boeing.

DePaul President Father Dennis Holtschneider responded to the passed referendum in an email applauding the students’ efforts, but declining to make any changes to DePaul’s “complex” investment practices.

“This last week is why the struggle for boycott is so crucial. If DePaul doesn’t divest, then [students’] money goes to slaughter,” DePaul graduate student and activist Ashley Bohrer said.

In her ten years of activism, Bohrer learned to speak Arabic, volunteered at a Lebanese refugee camp, and joined groups like Jews for Justice in Palestine.

With family in Jerusalem who are Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers, Bohrer said she and her relatives don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.

“I’m the black sheep of the family,” Bohrer said with a short laugh.

“I was taught Jews were supposed to repair the world. That’s not what the Israeli government is doing. Genocide is not a Jewish value,” Bohrer said.

Benjamin Balthaser, also a member of Jews for Justice in Palestine, said the occupation of Palestine contradicts the Jewish values he learned as a child too.

The Israeli occupation of Palestinian is supposed to defend against anti-Semitism, Balthaser said. “[But] the violence is increasing anti-Semitism. [Israel] is creating an identity that supports a militaristic, racist state.”

Referencing the many Jews present at the protest, Balthaser said, “Israel doesn’t represent all Jews.”

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Protesters arrested Wednesday rallying against Boeing’s business partnership with Israel