As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaims in genocidal undertones his army’s “holy mission” to invade Gaza, Jewish American peace activists are ramping up their nationwide effort to bring about a cease-fire in the three-week war.
“We’re watching a genocide unfold in real-time. In just three weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza, among them over 3,000 children,” Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) said early Monday. “That’s more than the annual number of children killed in conflicts across the globe since 2019.”
“Jewish people all throughout the United States are protesting in unprecedented numbers against Israel’s destruction of Gaza and the United States’ unwavering support,” JVP noted, with Liv Kunins-Berkowitz, the group’s media coordinator, calling the movement “the largest mass mobilization of Jews in American history.”
JVP, along with Jewish-led groups—mainly IfNotNow—and allies have held demonstrations large and small across the United States since October 7, when Israeli forces launched their latest war on Gaza following the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that killed 1,400 people.
“From Albuquerque to Minneapolis, Seattle to Miami, Washington D.C. to Detroit, students, elders, faith leaders, and activists… are organizing sit-ins in congressional offices and blocking streets as they demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza,” the group continued, adding that demonstrations have also been held in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
On Friday evening, thousands of JVP members and allies took over Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan, where more than 400 people were arrested while holding a sit-in and hanging banners that read, “Cease-fire Now,” “Never Again for Anyone,” “Palestine Should Be Free,” and “Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living.”
Thousands are sitting in at Grand Central Station demanding a #CeasefireNOW.— Jewish Voice for Peace (@jvplive) October 28, 2023
In just two weeks, more than 7,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis were killed. Right now, Israeli warplanes are flattening entire neighborhoods in Gaza. This is what the US government is supporting. pic.twitter.com/QybGb9j3XV
“For decades, Jewish Americans have criticized the Israeli occupation of Palestine. American Jews are no longer willing to be silent—they are speaking up louder than ever before and taking to the streets to demand an immediate cease-fire,” Kunnis-Berkowitz asserted on Monday. “We will not sit by as a genocide is waged in our name.”
While the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has thwarted international efforts to bring about a cessation in hostilities, a group of 18 congressional Democrats led by Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has introduced a resolution urging the administration to push Israel for an immediate de-escalation and cease-fire in Gaza.
VIDEO THREAD: Jewish-led activists held a sit-in inside and then protest outside Senator Bernie Sanders' office on Capitol Hill demanding he support a ceasefire by Israel.— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 25, 2023
Capitol Police arrested about 15 people demanding "ceasefire now" and "not in our name!" pic.twitter.com/occAuXInGw
Some co-sponsors of the resolution—especially Muslim Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who is Palestinian—have faced bipartisan indignation, right-wing death threats, and in the case of Tlaib, a censure motion brought by far-right Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Critics have noted the irony of Greene—who once suggested that a “Jewish space laser” started a California wildfire—baselessly accusing Tlaib of antisemitism.
“There can be no business as usual while our tax dollars are used to fund a genocide in Palestine,” JVP insisted. “From congressional offices, to the halls of the Capitol, to the center of New York City, we will do everything in our power to demand an end to U.S. support for genocide and apartheid,” referencing the billions in annual U.S. military aid to Israel.
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