ashland.news
July 24, 2024

Rally held on Ashland Plaza on Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Attendees listen to speeches on the Ashland Plaza Wednesday. Ashland.news photo by Morgan Rothborne
November 29, 2023

Dozens display signs, listen to speakers, musicians

By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news

Kayla and Andrew Blanchflower didn’t feel right holding their monthly folk dance event on Nov. 29. Instead, on Wednesday, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the couple organized a rally in the Ashland Plaza featuring speeches, music and information, said Kayla’s mother, Kim Keller. 

“It’s all grassroots, just people,” that made the event happen, Keller said. 

She stood at the edge of the Plaza where around 40 people were gathered in front of a backdrop and microphones. The Blanchflower’s five children were working the sound system for speakers and musicians while the family’s “skoolie” (a former school bus converted into a living space) was parked nearby, Keller said. 

“We’ve encountered a lot of resistance, locally, for this (cause),” she said.

A sign calls for boycotts of a number of companies on the Ashland Plaza Wednesday. Ashland.news photo by Morgan Rothborne

The Ashland rally was one of many going on across the country and around the world on the anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly’s 1947 resolution regarding the partition of Palestine, a date marked by a U.N. resolution in 1977.

Wednesday afternoon in Ashland, three Ashland police officers stood by on a nearby street corner. Keller said organizers had ensured “de-escalators” were ready and waiting at the rally. 

Interfaith minister Khalil Mark Elliot gave a speech focused on defining terms — the only way to have an intelligent conversation about the issue, he said. 

“Judaism and Israel are not synonyms,” he said. “Judaism is one of the religions of the world, Israel is a nation-state.”  

Musicians take the stage at a rally on the Ashland Plaza Wednesday. Ashland.news photo by Morgan Rothborne

Elliot went on to say that semitism is an ethnic designation as opposed to Judaism, a religion. It is possible for someone to be semitic and not Jewish, or Jewish and not semitic, he said. Opposing Israel isn’t antisemitism any more than opposing the United States government is opposition to Christianity, he said. 

“I have been speaking out against the nation-state of Israel for decades, many of my friends who are rabbis are doing the same. … I’m not in support of Hamas. I support no one lashing out at children,” he said. 

A sign to his right listed businesses like Home Depot and Sabra Hummus, encouraging attendees to “boycott, divest and sanction,” these businesses in order to “demand human rights and put an end to apartheid.” A sign on the other end of the Plaza said simply, “Israel is committing genocide.” 

Attendees listen to speeches at a rally on the Ashland Plaza Wednesday. Ashland.news photo by Morgan Rothborne

Kayla Blanchflower took the microphone and said it was time to, “pull some voices together.” 

A small group of women gathered around the microphones and led the crowd in a song based on a quote by author James Baldwin: “The children are always ours, every single one all across the globe.” 

The Jewish Voice for Peace Rogue Valley organization supported the Blanchflowers in holding the event and distributed flyers at an information table. 

“Supporters of Palestinian rights are losing their jobs, being doxxed and harassed online, being attacked physically, and facing congressional censure for trying to save lives,” the flier said. “In fact, the agenda of white nationalists, war profiteers, and anti-Palestinian organizations has nothing to do with protecting Jewish people, and all to do with harming our intersectional movements for justice.

“Warmongers try to make it hard, but it’s actually really clear and simple: fighting for Palestinian freedom and against antisemitism are intertwined. We are deeply committed to both.”

For more information, visit the Jewish Voice for Peace Instagram page at @jvp_roguevalley or email the organization at roguevalley@jvp.org

Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at morganr@ashland.news.

A sign at a rally on the Ashland Plaza Wednesday. Ashland.news photo by Morgan Rothborne
Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

Related Posts...

Obituary: Patricia Ann Wixon

Obituary: Patty Wixon, 89, passed away peacefully July 17 at home with her children and Vince Wixon, beloved husband for nearly 50 years, by her side. She asked that those remember her by doing something kind for someone else in her name — from giving food to a homeless stranger to volunteering at an organization in your community or donating to a scholarship fund at a favorite school.

Read More »

Butler-Perozzi Fountain work moves ahead

The fundraising campaign for the restoration of the historic Butler-Perozzi fountain in Lithia Park is nearing completion following a $20,000 grant awarded by the State Historic Preservations Office’s Preserving Oregon Grant Program.  

Read More »

Latest posts

Obituary: Patricia Ann Wixon

Obituary: Patty Wixon, 89, passed away peacefully July 17 at home with her children and Vince Wixon, beloved husband for nearly 50 years, by her side. She asked that those remember her by doing something kind for someone else in her name — from giving food to a homeless stranger to volunteering at an organization in your community or donating to a scholarship fund at a favorite school.

Read More >

Butler-Perozzi Fountain work moves ahead

The fundraising campaign for the restoration of the historic Butler-Perozzi fountain in Lithia Park is nearing completion following a $20,000 grant awarded by the State Historic Preservations Office’s Preserving Oregon Grant Program.  

Read More >

Poetry Corner: Where we’re from, where we live

Poetry Corner: Both of today’s poems speak to the importance of community and identity. Louise M. Paré’s poem tells how the connection to her ancestral homeland of Ukraine continues to shape her persona. Seth Kaplan’s recent move from the Applegate to Talent describes how he has easily become attached to his new place and discovered the “us” in his community.

Read More >

Explore More...

The fundraising campaign for the restoration of the historic Butler-Perozzi fountain in Lithia Park is nearing completion following a $20,000 grant awarded by the State Historic Preservations Office’s Preserving Oregon Grant Program.  
Poetry Corner: Both of today’s poems speak to the importance of community and identity. Louise M. Paré’s poem tells how the connection to her ancestral homeland of Ukraine continues to shape her persona. Seth Kaplan’s recent move from the Applegate to Talent describes how he has easily become attached to his new place and discovered the “us” in his community.
Shakespeare’s "Coriolanus" hit the stage Tuesday at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Directed by Rosa Joshi, the play tells the story of a powerful yet starving population and a war hero turned politician.
Childcare providers have until Friday, July 26, to submit applications for Early Childhood Affordability Grant Program grants, according to an announcement by the city on Monday, July 22. The application period opened July 12, the release said.
A master plan tailor-made to guide the city of Ashland’s approach to homelessness was unanimously approved Thursday evening by the final committee standing between the plan and a review from Ashland City Council. A review of the master plan is scheduled for the Aug. 5 council study session. 
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)

Don't Miss Our Top Stories

Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox three times a week.
It’s FREE and you can cancel anytime.