FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 10, 2018
FOUR TWIN CITIES JEWS ARRESTED BY JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL IN PROTEST OF ISRAELI VIOLENCE ON GAZA
Young American Jews demand that JCRC condemn the killing of 30 Palestinian protesters and the injuring of over 1000 more by Israeli live fire near the Gaza border.
CONTACT: Miriam Kelberg, firstname.lastname@example.org, (952) 692-1705
MINNEAPOLIS, MN: This morning, two days after the end of Passover, young Twin Cities Jews locked arms in front of the entrance of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of MN, blocking entrance to the many businesses in the building. They called on the JCRC to condemn Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza, in which 30 Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli military forces and 1,000 injured last week alone.
The JCRC provides pro-occupation speakers and lobbies government officials to support Israel unconditionally. While claiming to represent the American Jewish community, the JCRC has been absolutely silent in the wake of the Israeli military shooting at unarmed protesters in Gaza.
The demonstration was planned by IfNotNow — a movement of young Jews working to end the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation — and comes on the heels of two other IfNotNow civil disobedience protests in opposition to Israeli violence: 8 arrests in Boston last Tuesday after shutting down the Israeli Consulate and 7 arrests in NYC on Monday after shutting down Senator Schumer’s office.
“The JCRC acts as a voice for Jewish individuals and organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas, and its silence on the killings in Gaza speaks volumes. If the JCRC won’t condemn Israel’s murder of nonviolent protesters, we will – we’re taking our voice back and building a Jewish community that stands for freedom and dignity for all, and we hope that the JCRC will join us in that call,” said Imogen Page, an IfNotNow member protesting today.
At 8AM, 20 members of IfNotNow Twin Cities blocked the entrance of the building that houses JCRC. The downtown building is home to a multitude of businesses, whose employees were blocked from entering in an attempt to disrupt business as usual. The protesters made a human chain while joined by the crowd in saying kaddish for the Palestinian lives lost. Protesters read the names of the 30 Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers next to a large banner that reads the same names in Arabic. Police arrived and arrested the protesters who refused to move.
Today’s protest in Minneapolis follows multiple incidents of Palestinian protesters in Gaza being met with live ammunition by Israeli snipers. Yet the JCRC remains silent on the issue. Large posters at the protest read, “How many more?” in reference to how many Palestinians would have to die for the JCRC to speak out.
On Friday March 30, just hours before Passover began, more than 30,000 Palestinians marched in Gaza and IDF snipers responded to the protest with live gunfire. Last Friday, tens of thousands of protesters returned and again the IDF shot into the crowd, killing 9 Palestinians. In response to the protest — which has been overwhelmingly nonviolent and led by a diverse coalition of young Palestinians — the U.S. condemned “leaders and protesters who call for violence or who send protesters including children to the [Gaza] fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed,” and for the second week in a row, blocked the United Nations Security Council from calling for an independent investigation into Israel’s use of force.
“The occupation has made their lives a nightmare, and then ended them. Their lives were no less valuable than the lives of Jews, but their rights to live in freedom and dignity were violated by an army claiming to act on behalf of all Jews. The occupation is a moral disaster for the people supporting it, including our own American Jewish institutions who are too afraid to speak out against endless occupation and killings” said Imogen Page of IfNotNow Twin Cities.
The protesters aim to shift the voice of the Jewish American community, namely, by putting pressure on institutions like JCRC to speak up and condemn the violence on Gaza.
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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. IfNotNow has over 1,700 members and chapters in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the San Francisco Bay Area, Toronto, and Washington, DC.
You can learn more about IfNotNow at www.ifnotnowmovement.org