Jewish Voice for Peace Occupies Statue of Liberty to Demand Ceasefire

November 8th, 2023 - by Chris Walker and Zane McNeill / TRUTHOUT

“As Long as the People of Gaza Are Screaming,
We Need to Yell Louder”
Chris Walker and Zane McNeill / TRUTHOUT

(November 6, 2023) — Hundreds of Jewish activists and their allies staged a large-scale demonstration at the Statue of Liberty on Monday afternoon, demanding that U.S. leaders pressure the Israeli government to agree to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

According to Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist group that organized the action, around 500 protesters took part in the demonstration. Activists dressed uniformly in black gathered on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal shortly before 1 p.m., dropping enormous banners that read “The Whole World is Watching” and “Never Again for Anyone.”

The protest lasted around 20 minutes. Demonstrators continued chanting and demanding an Israeli ceasefire on the ferry back to the mainland.

“Our grief is being used to justify genocidal violence against the people of Gaza. It has to stop,” IfNotNow, a movement of American Jews organizing in solidarity with Palestine, said on social media. “10,000 dead. We NEED a #CeasefireNOW.”

“We came to the Statue of Liberty today because we are inspired by the words of our Jewish ancestor, Emma Lazarus, that are etched into the monument,” said Jay Saper, a JVP organizer. “Those words compel us to take action to support the Palestinians of Gaza yearning to be free. And we will continue to take action until we bring about a cease-fire and until Palestinians are free.”

“As long as the people of Gaza are screaming, we need to yell louder, no matter who attempts to silence us,” artist Nan Goldin, who took part in the demonstration, said in a press release from JVP.

“This is one of the greatest symbols of New York City and our supposed commitments to universal values of liberty and freedom and respite,” said New York Assembly member Zohran Mamdani, who took part in the protest. “And yet what we’ve seen is our country allowing for a genocide to take place.”

The Statue of Liberty demonstration is the latest high-profile protest led or co-led by JVP. In mid-October, the organization led demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol building grounds and at the White House, blocking entrances and disrupting business as usual at both locations to demand an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza.

The group also recently shut down train stations in Philadelphia and New York City to demand an end to the genocide.

Earlier this month, a Jewish rabbi affiliated with the group interrupted a Biden campaign event, urging the president to pressure the Israeli government to end the genocidal campaign that has killed at least 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza so far.

“Mr. President, if you care about Jewish people then, as a Rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire now in Gaza,” Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg said at that event in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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