‘Not In Our Name!’ Hundreds Arrested at US Capitol as Jewish-Led Protest Demands Gaza Ceasefire

"Ceasefire is the first step to stop the ongoing genocide by the Israeli military of the over 2 million Palestinians in besieged Gaza," asserted Jewish Voice for Peace.

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Hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a protest demanding members of Congress push Israel for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed over 12 days of relentless Israeli bombardment.

Thousands of protesters led by members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), IfNotNow, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and other groups rallied on the Capitol grounds and inside the building, where hundreds of people took part in a sit-in.

Their chanted slogans—including “not in our name” and “ceasefire now”—resounded thunderously under the Capitol Rotunda, while at other times they clapped their hands and sang with solemn determination in Hebrew.

“We’re here to say: not in our names, and never again,” JVP declared. “And we’ll continue our civil disobedience until Congress calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, or until they force us to leave.”

“Ceasefire is the first step to stop the ongoing genocide by the Israeli military of the over 2 million Palestinians in besieged Gaza, unable to leave,” the group continued. “In the past week, over 3,000 Palestinians, including 1,000 children, were murdered by Israeli and U.S. bombs. Over 1 million people are displaced. We have the power to stop this violence.”

“What we know from past Israeli state atrocities against Palestinians is that the bombs only stop once there is a sufficient mass outcry from the international community,” JVP added. “It’s on us to build that outcry—as fast as we possibly can.”

Speaking outside the Capitol, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—the only Palestinian American in Congress—said that “the majority of Americans are literally against oppression.”

“They are,” she insisted. “They are against occupation. They are against human rights violations. If you just tell them the truth, they will be on our side. So we have to speak the truth.”

Tlaib had a message for President Joe Biden, who has declared his “rock-solid and unwavering support” for Israel, which he visited Wednesday and receives nearly $4 billion in annual U.S. military aid.

“I want him to know, as a Palestinian American and also as someone of the Muslim faith: I’m not gonna forget this,” she vowed. “And I think a lot of people are not gonna forget this.”

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who led a resolution with Tlaib and 14 progressive co-sponsors calling on Biden to push for a ceasefire, also spoke at the rally.

“We thank our Jewish community for being out here saying ‘Never Again’,” she said.

Author and activist Naomi Klein told the demonstrators that “it’s crucial that we become huge, become unignorable, and throw all our support behind this brave legislation.”

JVP, IfNotNow, and peace activist Ariel Gold—who was at the event—said hundreds of protesters were arrested.

Wednesday’s protest and arrests followed a string of Jewish-led peace demonstrations across the nation, including two major rallies in Washington, D.C. IfNotNow’s website lists many events planned in cities around the country in the coming days.

“The Israeli military is preparing for a massive ground invasion of Gaza. Israeli and American leaders are dehumanizing Palestinians with vitriolic rhetoric that calls to mind the most hysterical days of… [the] War on Terror,” JVP said Wednesday. “We know where this will lead: genocide.”

“Many of us are mourning our Israeli and Palestinian friends and loved ones,” the group continued. “We are in pain and grief, trying to process a week of horrific violence that has left so many that we know injured, traumatized, kidnapped, or killed.”

“But we refuse to let our grief be weaponized to justify the murder of more Palestinians,” JVP added. “As American Jews, we demand a ceasefire now. No genocide in our name.”

“Many of us are mourning our Israeli and Palestinian friends and loved ones,” the group continued. “We are in pain and grief, trying to process a week of horrific violence that has left so many that we know injured, traumatized, kidnapped, or killed.”

“But we refuse to let our grief be weaponized to justify the murder of more Palestinians,” JVP added. “As American Jews, we demand a ceasefire now. No genocide in our name.”

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

6 thoughts on “‘Not In Our Name!’ Hundreds Arrested at US Capitol as Jewish-Led Protest Demands Gaza Ceasefire”

  1. Anyone living in the NYC area is invited down to a prayer vigil at City Hall tomorrow, Friday Oct. 20th at 1:00 PM…

    JUMMA MUBARAK! Let us pray.

  2. Oct 18, 2023 “Stop the War”: Israeli Peace Activist Whose Parents Were Killed in Hamas Attack Calls for Ceasefire

    We speak with Israeli peace activist Maoz Inon, whose parents Bilha and Yakovi Inon were killed in the surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7 that killed over 1,300 people in Israel. He wants the war to end. “Let’s call for peace. Let’s call for hope. Let’s call for a complete ceasefire. Let’s call for building bridges,” says Inon. “We must build the future, and this future must be based on equality, on partnership, on peace.”

    https://youtu.be/4PPJrP2TKjA?si=VBj-LFO5X8RIH7dM

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