Democratic Political Leaders Face Protests by Young Jews and other Progressives Demanding Condemnation of Israeli Violence on Gaza
On Thursday evening, members of IfNotNow, MPower, and other progressive allies took action outside of the offices of Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, and Harris to make it clear that the future of the Democratic Party lies with #ProgressivesForFreedom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 25, 2018
Contact: Yonah Lieberman, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, New York and San Francisco, CA- A broad coalition of young Jews, Muslims, and other progressives gathered last night from coast to coast in two powerful protests aimed at getting Senators Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris — progressive representatives — to speak out against Israeli violence on Palestinian protesters in Gaza. Since March 30th, when the Great March of Return began, Israeli forces have killed 113 Palestinians in Gaza, injuring more than 12,000 others. Much of the Israeli violence occurred on the day that Trump moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which was seen by the progressive alliance as an intentional provocation and act that will further entrench the Occupation.
In New York City, dozens of mostly Jewish protesters marched with two coffins from the United Nations to the front door of the offices of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand — symbolically labeled “#4 out of 113” and “#5 out of 113” — representing the Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers.
In San Francisco, over 100 Muslims and Jews gathered together for an #IftarInTheStreets in front of Senator Kamala Harris’ office. Iftar is the traditional meal meant to break fast at sunset during Ramadan. In addition to hosting an Iftar, the group brought a coffin labeled “#6 of 113”, creating a national count of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces.
In both demonstrations, they read out the names of the Palestinians and said mourners kaddish, a prayer traditionally said by Jews for friends and family that have died, and at both locations, representatives of the Senators chose to ignore the protesters rather than meet with them.
“As an American Jew, I will not let our leaders — be they in the Jewish establishment or on capitol hill — forget the real human cost to Israeli violence. Each of the coffins we symbolically delivered has a very real coffin in Gaza, with very real friends and family that are now in mourning.” said Eliana Fishman, 29, member of IfNotNow in New York City, “I refuse to allow my progressive representatives to be silent while the Trump Administration and Netanyahu government work together to permanently entrench the Occupation.”
The actions are part of a broader effort by the progressive movement to ensure their progressive representatives like Schumer, Gillibrand, and Harris are also #ProgressivesForFreedom, working as hard for Palestinian freedom and an end the Israeli Occupation as they are to ensure universal healthcare and a higher minimum wage in the United States. The protesters made it clear that they believe the United States should hold Israel to basic standards of morality and democratic values, condemning Israeli violence and denial of freedom as loudly as any political representative would similar actions in our own country.
“The ongoing, escalating aggression by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians is a crisis unfolding in real time before our eyes—with the support of the U.S. political establishment. Our elected officials—especially those who label themselves progressive—must condemn the inhumane violence carried out by the Netanyahu government,” said Mohammad Kahn, Campaign Director of MPower Change. “Politicians can’t claim to oppose a bigoted far-right administration here in the U.S. while at the same time supporting one abroad. In this holy month of Ramadan, when we are called to our highest values, we are joining together with allies from across different communities to demand that our officials gather the courage to condemn violence against Palestinians. We will continue speaking out against injustice—no matter how powerful those who seek to uphold it may be.”
The opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was celebrated by Prime Minister Netanyahu, their far-right allies, and the American Jewish establishment, while thousands of Palestinians protested for basic human rights just over 40 miles away. The split screen images of smiling, well-dressed American and Israeli politicians greeting each other in Jerusalem, contrasted with thousands of bloodied Palestinian protesters in Gaza simply trying to live, brought the daily realities of the Occupation to the TV screens of millions across the country.
The progressive coalition is committed to continuing to keep the pressure up on these Democratic Party leaders until they speak out against they condemn Israel’s violence against Palestinian protesters, call for an end to the blockade of Gaza and an end to the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and support for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.
IfNotNow is a movement led by young Jews to transform the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation into a call for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.
MPower Change is the largest Muslim led social and racial justice organization in the United States.