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Israeli War on Gaza sparks ‘largest mass mobilisation of Jews in American history’

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Picture: Jewish Voice for Peace – At a Jewish-led anti-Islaeli demonstration that has seen millions of American Jews take to the street in protest, with the rally call, ‘Not in Our Name’, Jewish Voice for Peace activists say they will not stand by in silence, ‘watching a genocide unfold in real-time. In just three weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza, among them over 3,000 children’.

By Brett Wilkins

“We will do everything in our power to demand an end to US support for genocide and apartheid.” – Jewish Voice for Peace

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaims in genocidal undertones his army’s “holy mission” to invade Gaza, Jewish American peace activists are ramping up their nationwide effort to bring about a ceasefire in the three-week war.

“We’re watching a genocide unfold in real-time. In just three weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza, among them over 3,000 children,” Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) said early Monday. “That’s more than the annual number of children killed in conflicts across the globe since 2019.”

“Jewish people all throughout the United States are protesting in unprecedented numbers against Israel’s destruction of Gaza and the United States’ unwavering support,” JVP noted, with Liv Kunins-Berkowitz, the group’s media coordinator, calling the movement “the largest mass mobilisation of Jews in American history”.

“We will not sit by as a genocide is waged in our name.” – JVP

JVP, along with Jewish-led groups — mainly IfNotNow — and allies have held demonstrations large and small across the United States since October 7, when Israeli forces launched their latest war on Gaza following the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that killed 1,400 people.

“From Albuquerque to Minneapolis, Seattle to Miami, Washington DC to Detroit, students, elders, faith leaders, and activists … are organising sit-ins in congressional offices and blocking streets as they demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza,” the group continued, adding that demonstrations have also been held in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

On Friday evening, thousands of JVP members and allies took over Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan, where more than 400 people were arrested while holding a sit-in and hanging banners that read, “Ceasefire Now”, “Never Again for Anyone”, “Palestine Should Be Free”, and “Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living”.

“For decades, Jewish Americans have criticised the Israeli occupation of Palestine. American Jews are no longer willing to be silent — they are speaking up louder than ever before and taking to the streets to demand an immediate ceasefire,” Kunnis-Berkowitz asserted on Monday. “We will not sit by as a genocide is waged in our name.”

While the administration of US President Joe Biden has thwarted international efforts to bring about a cessation in hostilities, a group of 18 congressional Democrats led by Rep (Representative) Cori Bush , D-Mo (Democrat-Missouri), has introduced a resolution urging the administration to push Israel for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza.

Some co-sponsors of the resolution — especially Muslim Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), who is Palestinian — have faced bipartisan indignation, right-wing death threats, and in the case of Tlaib, a censure motion brought by far-right Republican Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Critics have noted the irony of Greene — who once suggested that a “Jewish space laser” started a California wildfire — baselessly accusing Tlaib of antisemitism.

“There can be no business as usual while our tax dollars are used to fund a genocide in Palestine,” JVP insisted. “From congressional offices, to the halls of the Capitol, to the centre of New York City, we will do everything in our power to demand an end to US support for genocide and apartheid,” referencing the billions in annual US military aid to Israel.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams. This article was first published on Common Dreams