Update: Police have arrested at least eight Jewish demonstrators who were occupying the offices of the Friends of the Israeli army in New York.
Here are bulletins from Alex Kane’s twitter feed, from the office of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces offices in New York:
Breaking: over a dozen Jews engaging in civil disobedience at Friends of the IDF office. .Demanding end to Gaza war
Outside, more protesters demonstrating at the Friends of the IDF office, doing a die in. The demand: stop funding the army attacking Gaza
For past 20 minutes, Jewish New Yorkers have occupied the Friends of the IDF office in Manhattan, reading the names of those killed in
Police have arrived:
NYPD is at Friends of the IDF office.
At least 8 protesters arrested by NYPD after occupying Friends of the IDF office
Here is the press release from Jews Say No:
Deeply concerned Jews in New York City, as well as Jews across the country, are engaging in acts of civil disobedience to stand against Israel’s current massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza–and to demand that the truth be told about the horrendous violence being perpetrated by the Israeli government and army against 1.8 million Palestinian people in Gaza and the underlying causes of that violence.
In New York City, demonstrators are engaging in civil disobedience at the offices of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) today, July 22, at 11 AM ET on Broadway between 40th and 39th (1430 Broadway #1301)
Carolyn Klaasen, a participant in today’s action and member of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organizer of today’s protest, said: “We are engaging in civil disobedience at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) because the IDF and Israeli government are responsible for the systematic and ongoing brutality against the Palestinian people. In this most recent vicious assault alone, the IDF has caused the deaths of upwards of 550 Palestinians, including more than 100 children, as well as over 3000 injured. Calling the IDF a defense force is absurd; it’s an illegally occupying army.”
The group demands that the IDF ends its brutality and is calling on American Jews and all Americans to stand against Israel’s military occupation of Palestine and its ongoing assault against the people of Palestine. The two Jewish groups make clear that, despite claims to the contrary by the Israeli government, they and thousands upon thousands of Jews vehemently oppose Israel’s behavior and stand firmly with the Palestinians of Gaza during this time.
According to Alana Krivo-Kaufman, from Jewish Voice for Peace, an organizer of today’s protest: “This is far from being a defensive operation, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is claiming. It is, in fact, an aggressive operation of destruction, fuelled by the Israeli government’s insatiable desire for Palestinian land. We are demanding an end to funding of Israel’s war crimes, from the US government to so-called charitable organizations like the Friends of the IDF, which fundraises for a foreign military complicit in on-going occupation and a war of destruction against the Palestinian people.”
Participants in the protest point to the hugely disproportionate use of Israeli force in Gaza. Jane Hirschmann, from Jews Say No!, another of the action’s organizing groups, stated: “The Palestinian people, who have been stateless for decades and many of whom who are being held captive as prisoners inside of Gaza, are being bombarded by Israel with some of the most advanced weapons in the world–funded by US dollars. And the Palestinian people have no shelters to run to and no way to leave. While the current violence is out of control, the pattern of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people is long-standing.”
Maia Ettinger, a daughter of a Holocaust survivor who travelled from Connecticut to participate, also points to one of the fallacies of the Israeli hasbara (propaganda) spin: “The Israelis claim they are not targeting civilians but the destruction of hospitals, schools, and water and electrical lines is clearly intended to create widespread suffering among the entire population.”
The call for an immediate end to Israeli state violence and the call for human rights and justice for the Palestinian people are reverberating across the globe. Calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel and companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine have intensified and are now more important than ever.
Today’s action was sponsored by two Jewish organizations, Jews Say No! (http://jewssayno.wordpress.com), a group in NYC that stands as a partner in the broader movement for justice in Palestine/Israel and also engages with the Jewish community through street protests and community education, and Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org), a national, grassroots organization dedicated to achieving a just and lasting peace that recognizes the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 130,000 online supporters, 40 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Cabinet, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.