FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 11, 2018
4 LOS ANGELES JEWS ARRESTED AFTER SHUTTING DOWN THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER LOS ANGELES OFFICES TO PROTEST VIOLENCE ON GAZA
The protest is the latest in a series of civil disobedience actions this week across the nation by young Jews against Israeli violence on Palestinian protesters; today’s demonstration brings the total number of American Jews arrested by Jewish leaders to 23.
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LOS ANGELES, CA: This afternoon, four Jewish young people were arrested after blocking the doors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ offices. The demonstrators called on the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to condemn Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza, in which Israeli military forces have killed 31 Palestinian protesters and injured more than 1,000 others with live fire over two weeks of protest. The violence was Israel’s response to The Great March of Return, one of the largest Palestinian protests the Gaza Strip has seen in years — a protest which has not injured or endangered Israeli soldiers or civilians.
“I grew up in the Jewish community of Los Angeles, where I learned that freedom and dignity are core Jewish values. As young Jews and members of this Jewish community, we’re asking the Federation to do the bare minimum and condemn this unconscionable violence. How long will they stay silent as live ammunition is used against Palestinian protesters? How many more Palestinians need to be killed before they speak out?” said Elon Glickman, who was one of five IfNotNow members arrested at the protest.
These arrests of four young American Jews in LA bring the total number of millennial Jews arrested in the past week to 23, following demonstrations in Boston at the Israeli Consulate, in New York City at Senator Schumer’s office, and in the Twin Cities at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota. At each location, the young Jews demanded a statement condemning Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters, and at each location the organization or individual chose to arrest the protesters instead of releasing any statement. According to an IfNotNow spokesperson, there are two other civil disobediences happening in the coming days.
At 5pm, about 30 young American Jews — all members of IfNotNow — protested outside of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, following a call for JFNA to release a statement condemning the violence, which was ignored. This prompted protesters to unite and disrupt business as usual at the Jewish Federations’ offices by reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish, a Jewish prayer traditional recited for family or community members who have died, reading the names of the 31 Palestinian protesters who were killed and then taping those names to the walls, and to block the entrance to the Federations’ offices.
“We simply cannot be silent anymore. We came to the Federations office today to ask them to lead — but since they have chosen to remain silent, we will be the leaders our community needs. Our generation is rising up alongside Palestinians and Israelis working to end the Occupation,” said Shay Roman, an IfNotNow member who was at the protest.
Today’s protest comes just five days after the second Friday in a row that Palestinian protesters in Gaza were met with live fire from Israeli snipers. Yet the Jewish Federations of North America continued their silence, prompting the young Jews to chant periodically, “How Many More?” in reference to how many more Palestinians would have to die for the the Federations to speak out. They also had a series of massive posters asking that same question. The protesters also chanted, “Jewish Federation, Condemn the Occupation” and noted that just a few months ago the Jewish Federations of North America quickly criticized Israel for backtracking on their promise for an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall. For the protesters, this begs the question, “Why is Palestinian freedom different from other peoples’ freedom”?
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.
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. The organization was founded in 2014 during the Gaza War as a moral call to the American Jewish community to oppose the war. 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.
Learn more about IfNotNow at www.ifnotnowmovement.org