Peace on Earth begins in Palestine
A woman puts her hand prints in green paint on a mural of the Palestinian flag during an event showing solidarity with the Palestinian people and calling for peace in Gaza in Havana, Cuba, Oct. 23, 2023. | Ramon Espinosa / AP

Redemption, hope, renewal, peace—they’re in the prayers and wishes of many this time of year. Looking at the brutal and horrific war in Gaza, though, all of them seem in even shorter supply than usual.

Redemption—Can there be any redemption for the military leaders in Israel and their accomplices in Western capitals who have unleashed what amounts to a campaign of extermination against the Palestinian people? What about for the militants who targeted civilians on Oct. 7?

Hope—Do the families and loved ones of the 20,000 who’ve been murdered in Gaza over the past several weeks still have any hope left in their hearts? For the nearly two million who’ve been made homeless, are they now hopeless as well?

Renewal—The Oslo Accords some 30 years ago seemed such a breakthrough, promising a future where a Palestinian state and Israel would live side-by-side. Those agreements are long dead, killed by assassin’s bullets and the political disease of ethno-religious nationalism. Will there ever be a renewal of the spirit of diplomacy that prevailed when Rabin and Arafat shook hands in Washington?

UAW President Shawn Fain speaks at a D.C. event where labor leaders and progressive members of Congress called for support for H.Res. 786. He is flanked by Reps. Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib, leaders of the ceasefire movement in the House. | Photo via UAW

Peace—With all the forementioned, how is it possible to imagine peace in this moment? In Tel Aviv, government ministers declare there is “no such thing as Palestinian people” and cheer for “Nakba 2023.”

From here in the United States, we might not have any control over the extremists in the Netanyahu cabinet, but we can take action to force our own government—especially the administration of President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress—to change course. Millions of Americans have already joined the fight for a ceasefire, but they need reinforcements.

A ceasefire majority

Surveys consistently indicate that a majority of the U.S. electorate disapproves of Biden’s lockstep support for Israel’s war and supports an immediate ceasefire. The latest public opinion polls suggest Biden is courting disaster thanks to his intense loyalty to Netanyahu.

Only 32% of Americans said “the U.S. should support Israel” in a Reuters/Ipsos poll released recently. A massive 68% expressed support for a ceasefire, and only 31% backed sending more weapons to Israel.

Among voters aged 18 to 34, some 70% oppose Biden’s handling of Israel’s war, with his support slipping most rapidly among Black and Latino youth. But it is among Arab-Americans that the drop of support for Biden has been most catastrophic. In the 2020 election, 59% of Arab-American voters cast ballots for Biden, but now a minuscule 17% say they will do so in 2024.

Biden has steadfastly refused to utter the word ceasefire, however, and has banned officials in his government from using terms like “de-escalation.” He’s even sought ways to secretly top up funding for Israel over and above the billions already given.

Dissent to the president’s stance has broken out into the open in embarrassing and politically dangerous ways. The next U.S. elections are less than a year away, and the White House can’t ignore the warning signs that are flashing.

Action for peace

Staffers at the State Department and other agencies are in revolt, Palestinian-Americans have filed lawsuits to stop U.S. support for genocide in Gaza, White House staffers have held peace vigils on Biden’s front lawn in Washington, and voters are increasingly turning on the president as they watch hospitals being bombed and children made orphans.

Demonstrations expressing solidarity with Palestinians and opposing U.S. imperialist support for Netanyahu have swept U.S. cities, with protests or blockades happening somewhere on a daily basis. Notable among the organizations leading these efforts are Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, among others.

The labor movement is standing up for peace as well, with a broad array of unions and workers’ groups joining the ceasefire momentum: the United Auto Workers, the United Electrical Workers, National Nurses United, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Education Association, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and more.

Several city councils have passed resolutions demanding the U.S. government pressure Israel for a ceasefire; the more ambitious ones have called for a halt to further U.S. arms shipments. More resolutions are in the works.

In Congress, Reps. Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib are leading the fight for a ceasefire resolution, facing down the power of both the arms manufacturers and the pro-Israel lobby, whose dollars buy votes in Washington. As of this writing, fewer than 20 representatives have backed Bush’s H. Res. 786, though several dozen more have spoken up for a ceasefire. In the Senate, only four members have made the call.

So, although it is easy to feel distraught when thinking of the horrors in Gaza right now, it’s clear that even here in the United States, on the opposite side of the globe, we are anything but helpless. There is so much more work still to be done to win an immediate ceasefire, halt the flow of deadly weapons, and blockade the path to more endless war.

Peace on Earth begins in Palestine this holiday season. What will you do to help?


● GET YOUR UNION TO PASS A CEASEFIRE RESOLUTION: Check out these sample templates.


● WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE using this form and tell them to support H. Res. 786, Rep. Cori Bush’s ceasefire resolution.

● CALL CONGRESS and tell them to vote “no” on more weapons for Netanyahu’s war machine.

● SIGN THE PETITION: Ceasefire Now!

Henry Lowendorf contributed resources for this article.


C.J. Atkins
C.J. Atkins

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at People's World. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from York University in Toronto and has a research and teaching background in political economy and the politics and ideas of the American left. In addition to his work at People's World, C.J. currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of ProudPolitics.