Eight American Jews from the “If Not Now Movement” were arrested in front of US Senator Chuck Schumerâ€™s office in Manhattan, on Monday.
The activists were chanting, â€śHow many more Chuck?â€ť referring to the number of Palestinian protesters killed at the Gaza Border.
The New York senator has not bothered to shake his head at the Israeli governmentâ€™s reaction to protesters, let alone speak out against the violence. Though not surprising to Palestinian-Americans, American Jews are appalled at the senator’s silence.
After If Not Now, activists requested the senatorâ€™s office to release a statement condemning Israelâ€™s use of live fire during the Gaza border protests, which have left more than 30 Palestinians dead and thousands wounded. Senator Schumerâ€™s staff rebuked the protesterâ€™s request, sparking a blockade to his office on Monday.
The members of If Not Now gathered in front of Schumerâ€™s office protesting his silence, standing in solidarity with Palestinian protesters and reciting the Qaddish, a Jewish prayer for the souls of the dead, the families that mourn, and the call for universal peace.
Last week, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was quick to criticize the Israeli government, stating that he believed they â€śoverreactedâ€ť. Sanders’ counterpart in Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy, has also voiced his skepticism of the Israeli governmentâ€™s motives.
An aid from his office stated that Israelâ€™s actions in Gaza should be considered as a violation of the â€śLeahy Law,â€ť a US law that prohibits aid to foreign military units that engage in human rights violations.
After statements made by Senator Sanders and Senator Leahyâ€™s office, representatives Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Barbara Lee of California also tweeted their concern and called on the international community to do more to end the violence and resolve the conflict.
Even so, Senator Schumer has remained silent to what the US would consider a blatant violation of the first amendment which gives ensures the, â€śright of the people peaceably to assemble.â€ť
In related news, the Israeli government recently barred Dublin Lord Mayor MĂcheĂˇl Mac Donncha from entering Israel because of his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
According to HaaretzÂ newspaper, the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry, the organization in charge of fighting delegitimization of Israel, said that the reason for the decision was was Donnchaâ€™s ties with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which promotes boycotts of Israeli companies and international companies who work in Israel.
According to the ministry, the mayor promoted the IPSCâ€™s ideas through the city council and publicly expressed support for them.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said , â€śThe policy I set is clear: He who works consistently to boycott Israel will not enter here.â€ť
In January, Israel summoned the Irish ambassador in Israel for clarification and to express dissatisfaction in light of a proposed bill in Irelandâ€™s national parliament calling for a boycott of Israeli settlements.
04/10/18Â Dublin City Council Votes to Support BDS
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.