Activists, artists rally for Palestinians at Art Basel Miami Beach
The South Florida Coalition for Palestine, joined by South Florida artists, led a rally at the Miami Beach Convention Center during Art Basel Miami Beach on Friday to demand a permanent ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. And an end to millions of dollars in Israeli bonds purchased by Miami-Dade County.
“I believe that artists hold a special power: the ability to reveal truths that can shift people's awareness of the world around us,” said Agua Dulce, a Miami-based queer artist, activist, and community organizer. “I think there’s a societal avoidance of the internal reflections required to accept that genocide is currently occurring because that would lead to the admittance of the unsightly truths of history.”
“As an artist and creator, I believe that my role right now is to awaken that spark of humanity in those who’d rather not engage with it,” Dulce said in a statement released by the coalition prior to the rally.
“I am the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors,” Monica Uszerowicz, a rally participant told WPLG-10 News. She said there is “no justification” for what she described as a “genocidal” attack on Palestinians.
Local media reported two arrests in connection with Friday night’s pro-Palestine rally and protest.
The rally comes as the conflict in Gaza enters its third month.
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has surpassed 17,400, the majority women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths.
Israel holds the Hamas militants responsible for civilian casualties, accusing them of using civilians as human shields, and says it has made considerable efforts with evacuation orders to get civilians out of harm’s way. It says 93 Israeli soldiers have died in the ground offensive after Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 raid in Israel that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostage.
Israeli warplanes struck parts of the Gaza Strip in relentless bombardment Saturday, hitting some of the dwindling bits of land it had told Palestinians to evacuate to in the south.
The strikes came a day after the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, despite its wide support.
In addition to demands for a ceasefire, demonstrators on Friday are pressing Miami-Dade officials to stop buying Israeli bonds.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced Oct. 17 that the county had boosted its investment in Israeli bonds by $25 million following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks, bringing the total investment to $76 million.
“I am proud to make this additional investment in Israel bonds, as we send a clear message that Miami-Dade stands together with Israel and all nations that champion democracy,” the mayor said in a statement in October.
The county commission also approved a resolution supporting Israel and condemning the war launched by Hamas. The U.S. State Department has declared a Hamas a terrorist organization.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.