WASHINGTON — More than 40 pro-Palestinian groups organized the “People’s State of the Union” outside the White House hours before President Biden’s State of the Union address. According to protesters, “the state of our union is genocide.”

“We are here to give a diagnosis of the fate of our union,” Cindy Wiesner, executive director of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, said. “The current trajectory of genocide of the Palestinian people is in our name and we are saying here in the streets of D.C…. not in our name.”

The organizations gathered in protest of the United States’ funding of Israel’s military and in support of an “immediate and permanent ceasefire,” according to a press release from the organizers. 

The United States gave $3.8 billion of financial assistance to the Israeli military in 2023, compared to $154 million to Gaza and the West Bank.

In Biden’s State of the Union address, he said that the only long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to find a “two-state solution.” He announced a plan to build a temporary port on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to provide humanitarian relief by sea. Protesters, though, remained weary about Biden’s sudden efforts toward people in Gaza. 

“Enough with the arming of the genocide while carrying out these publicity stunts,” Ahmad Abuznaid, Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said. He said that if the U.S. hadn’t funded Israel’s military in the first place, Palestinians “could build [their] own damn ports.”
During the rally, a counter-protester drove a white Ford Mustang toward the crowd and revved the vehicle’s engine at protesters. He was subsequently arrested by police officers and the rally continued. Organizers acknowledged that the incident shook many attendees, but protester Jasmine Blacksher was among the vast majority who stayed.

“He definitely could have ran through the whole crowd,” Blacksher said. “Honestly, I hope that person gets the help they need.”

Soon after the start of the rally, a counter-protester revved his engine at protesters and was arrested. Protesters rallied in front of the vehicle after. (Aidan Johnstone/MNS)

The driver was arrested by multiple police officers. (Aidan Johnstone/MNS)

An organizer speaks to “People’s State of the Union” attendees. (Aidan Johnstone/MNS)

Protesters projected “Genocide Joe” onto a neighboring building. (Aidan Johnstone/MNS)

Doctors Against Genocide installed an art piece commemorating a recent attack by Israel’s military where more than 100 Palestinians were killed while waiting in line for flour. (Aidan Johnstone/MNS)

Protesters rallied against Joe Biden in front of the White House. (Aidan Johnstone/MNS)