Eight American Jews from the “If Not Now Movement” were arrested in front of US Senator Chuck Schumerâs office in Manhattan, on Monday.
The activists were chanting, âHow many more Chuck?â 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 governmentâs 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 senatorâs office to release a statement condemning Israelâs use of live fire during the Gaza border protests, which have left more than 30 Palestinians dead and thousands wounded. Senator Schumerâs staff rebuked the protesterâs request, sparking a blockade to his office on Monday.
The members of If Not Now gathered in front of Schumerâs 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 âoverreactedâ. Sanders’ counterpart in Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy, has also voiced his skepticism of the Israeli governmentâs motives.
An aid from his office stated that Israelâs actions in Gaza should be considered as a violation of the âLeahy Law,â a US law that prohibits aid to foreign military units that engage in human rights violations.
After statements made by Senator Sanders and Senator Leahyâs 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, âright of the people peaceably to assemble.â
In related news, the Israeli government recently barred Dublin Lord Mayor MĂcheĂĄl 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 Donnchaâs 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 IPSCâs ideas through the city council and publicly expressed support for them.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said , âThe policy I set is clear: He who works consistently to boycott Israel will not enter here.â
In January, Israel summoned the Irish ambassador in Israel for clarification and to express dissatisfaction in light of a proposed bill in Irelandâs national parliament calling for a boycott of Israeli settlements.
04/10/18Â Dublin City Council Votes to Support BDS