Thousands of Jewish Americans demonstrate at New York’s Grand Central station, demand ceasefire in Gaza - GulfToday

VIDEO: Thousands of Jewish Americans demonstrate at New York’s Grand Central station, demand ceasefire in Gaza


"We're refusing to allow genocide be carried out in our names, with our tax dollars," the Jewish advocacy group said.

A sea of hundreds of Jewish Americans filled the main concourse of New York City’s famed Grand Central Terminal during the evening rush hour on Friday, chanting slogans and unfurling banners demanding a cease-fire as Israel intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Wearing black T-shirts saying "Jews say ceasefire now” and "Not in our name,” at least 200 of the demonstrators were detained by New York Police Department officers and led out of the train station, their hands zip-tied behind their backs. The NYPD said the protesters were taken briefly into custody, issued summonses and released, and that a more exact number of detentions would be available on Saturday morning.

Some protesters hoisted banners as they scaled the stone ledges in front of leaderboards listing departure times. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority asked commuters to use Penn Station as an alternative. After the sit-in was broken up by police, the remaining protesters spilled into the streets outside.

The Jewish advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace said in a statement: "Thousands of Jews and allies are staging an emergency sit-in at NYC's Grand Central Station during rush hour to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza — and we won’t leave until the world knows that Jews and allies demand a ceasefire now!

"In just two weeks, more than 7,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis were killed. Right now, Israeli warplanes are flattening entire neighbourhoods in Gaza with mostly US-made bombs. Shell-shocked Palestinian children are searching for their parents under the rubble. The Israeli government has cut off all access to food, water and medicine, and hospitals are on the verge of collapse.

"We are taking over Grand Central Station with THOUSANDS of people, including rabbis, elected officials, celebrities, elders and children, because this must stop. We're showing mass refusal in the face of genocidal violence against Palestinians. Hundreds are risking arrest.

Protesters hold signs at Grand Central Terminal during the rally. AP

"As Jews and people of conscience, we're stopping business as usual. We're saying never again — for anyone. We're refusing to allow genocide be carried out in our names, with our tax dollars. Both US and Israeli political leaders are telling us that the answer to all this bloodshed is more war. But the events of the past two weeks have made it clear: the lives of Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined, and safety can only come from equality, justice, and freedom for all.

"We know that the bombs will stop once there is a sufficient mass outcry from the international community. It’s on us to build that outcry — as fast as we possibly can. Ceasefire now to save lives!"

The scene echoed last week's sit-in on Capitol Hill in Washington, where Jewish advocacy groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now, poured into a congressional office building. More than 300 people were arrested for illegally demonstrating.

Israel stepped up airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on Friday, knocking out internet and largely cutting off communication with the 2.3 million people inside the besieged Palestinian enclave. Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry says more than 7,300 people have been killed, more than 60% of them minors and women.

Protesters display a banner showing ‘Palestinians should be free’ in front of a leaderboard listing departure times.

The Israeli military’s announcement it was "expanding” ground operations in the territory signalled it was moving closer to an all-out invasion of Gaza, where it has vowed to crush the ruling Hamas group after its bloody incursion in southern Israel three weeks ago. More than 1,400 people were slain in Israel during the attack, according to the Israeli government, and at least 229 hostages were taken into Gaza.

The UN General Assembly approved a non-binding resolution calling for a "humanitarian truce” in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities. It was the first UN response to Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks and Israel’s ongoing military response.

Associated Press

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