January 29, 2024

A rally, organized by CAIR and joined by a number of other organizations, is protesting Biden administration’s support of Israel


“For her to come here and tell us that she cares about our health and wellness, while she bombs women who look like us is not going to be acceptable.”

cair-sfba executive director zahra billoo

There were some heated moments Monday at a tour stop headlining Vice President Kamala Harris.

She was in San Jose for her “Reproductive Freedoms Tour” but was met with protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters inside the event, interrupted Vice President Kamala Harris moments after she kicked off the San Jose tour stop and several more times throughout her talk.

The calls for cease-fire started hours before the event with many protesters taking to the streets outside of the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San Jose.

“For her to come here and tell us that she cares about our health and wellness, while she bombs women who look like us is not going to be acceptable,” said Zahra Billoo, Executive Director at the Council on American Islamic Relations, San Francisco.

Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting San Jose to show support for reproductive rights as protesters call for Israel-Hamas war cease-fire at event.

They want the U.S. to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, speaking in support of Palestinian mothers lacking basic healthcare.

“Palestinian mothers are facing miscarriages, they don’t have access to feminine hygiene products, they cannot access anesthesia, and now, the us is urging their starvation,” Billoo said.

About 100 people gathered outside Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home this New Year’s Day, demanding a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

The health ministry in Gaza says more than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war against Hamas, a majority, being women and children.

“Vice President Harris is complicit in genocide and it is a complete farce that she would try to visit San Jose to talk about reproductive freedom, she is not welcome here,” Billoo said.

These protesters argue not enough is being done to protect women in Gaza.

“When Kamala Harris is telling me that oh I’m going to protect the reproductive, I see that as a double standard and the double standard must stop,” Nasteho Ahmed, a healthcare worker said. “Human being is equal. We all, no matter where we come from, if one hurts, we all hurt.”

Inside the event, the vice president responded as the first protesters were escorted out.

“Let me say, in a real democracy, everyone has a right to have their voice heard,” Harris said, “And I will say, we all want this conflict to end as soon as possible, and the President and I are working on that every single day.”

Harris’s team said the San Jose stop was to highlight work done in California to protect reproductive rights since the overturning of Roe V. Wade.

“California, Californians, thankfully, we have a state that has done beautiful and important work, to protect rights, to put it in the Constitution,” Harris said, “This is very important.”

Organizers say they plan to continue holding similar demonstrations at future visits from the Biden Administration until they see a permanent ceasefire.

“That’s why I’m here, to fight until the day I see change, I’m not going to stop,” Ahmed said.

Demonstrators held a rally and briefly hung a massive banner from San Francisco’s Coit Tower in support of Gaza that read, “Jews Say: Let Gaza Live.”

San Jose City Councilmember Peter Ortiz represents the area where the event was held. Like Harris, he said he respects the protesters rights to have their voices heard.

“I will never try to shame an individual for protests. I had been an activist before I was an elected official,” he said, “I support them, I think maybe not interruptions during the speech, but right out here in front of the Mexican Heritage Plaza.”

Despite the protests, he said a Vice Presidential visit at this venue is important for the community he represents. “I think it’s really important that she chose East San Jose, the Mexican Heritage Plaza as the location for her to come here in the city of San Jose,” he said.

Following the San Jose tour stop, the Vice President and second gentleman visited a campaign reception in Los Gatos before heading back to San Jose to return to Washington D.C.