BY JOHNNY HAZARD
On Saturday, Oct. 28, I walked in the march against Israeli aggression in Mexico City. It was the second march to be held here since the events of Oct. 7 and the Israeli reprisals.
Between 2,000 and 4,000 people marched from the Ángel de la Independencia (near the U.S. Embassy and the Zona Rosa) to the Zócalo (the main square), site of the presidential palace. Another 2,000-plus watched supportively from the sidelines all along the route.
The giant banner at the head of the march read “No es guerra. Es un genocidio” (It’s not a war. It’s genocide). This slogan was also chanted throughout the march. Some participants felt that this was a bit strange,
that war and genocide are not mutually exclusive. There was a surprising international presence, including a small group with a sign that said, in English, “Ireland stands with Palestine.”
The local movement has matured significantly since a few similar events that I attended in 2009, in which a few people shouted anti-Jewish utterances, everything except “The Jews killed Santa Claus.” (The latest census report from 2021, indicates that there are 64,000 Jews in Mexico, out of a total population of 226 million.) Participants in the Oct. 28 march were mostly individual and unaffiliated, including a few Mexican Jews critical of Israel and a few Muslims of unknown nationality and a few people who appeared to be U.S. tourists who spontaneously joined in or expressed support from the sidelines.
But there was also a significant presence of leftist (especially Trotskyist) groups, human rights advocates, students, and one contingent from the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE)—a large dissident caucus of the main teachers’ union. Some of the slogans from the left groups: “Por un Palestina secular, libre y socialista, Por una revolución obrera árabe-hebrea” (For an Arab-Hebraic workers’ revolution), and “Romper los acuerdos económicos y militares con Israel” (Break economic and military agreements with Israel). I don’t know that there are any military accords between Mexico and Israel, and I suspect that there are not. The closest thing to it may be the massive use of Israeli-made Pegasus spyware by the previous president and, we now know, by the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who promised not to do so. This is equipment that intervenes in telephones, smart televisions, etc. much more efficiently than other products and is used in Mexico to monitor and repress dissent.
López Obrador´s government is in “sensitive negotiations” with its Israeli counterpart, seeking the extradition of Tomás Zerón, a high-level functionary in the previous regime who is not Jewish but fled to Israel because the two countries lack an extradition treaty. He is wanted for his participation in the events of 2014 in the state of Guerrero that included the disappearance or murder of more than 43 education students.
Two percussion groups, one called the Anti-Militar(y) Social Club, provided musical accompaniment for the march.
The next march will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5, set to coincide with the U.S. national march in Washington and the end of the week of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico.