Hundreds hold ‘Liberation Seders’ outside (and inside) major Jewish American institutions in five major cities, demanding that the Jewish community take a stand against Israel’s occupation. ‘The history of Jewish oppression is not an excuse to oppress Palestinians, but rather an imperative to fight for freedom for all people,’ one arrestee tells +972.
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — Twenty-three American Jews were arrested over the past week in a series of anti-occupation demonstrations across the United States.
The protests, which took place in major American cities ahead of the weekend’s Passover holiday, brought out over 500 members of the Jewish anti-occupation collective, IfNotNow. Demonstrators used civil disobedience to push major American Jewish institutions to publicly end their support for Israel’s occupation policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Protests took place in Washington DC, Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Berkeley.
The demos followed a similar formula in every city: demonstrators who were willing to be arrested usually tried to enter a major Jewish institution and lead a “Liberation Seder” — a take on the traditional Passover meal, in which the Jews recount the story of their enslavement and struggle for freedom in Egypt. The Liberation Seders, however, fused the traditional ritual with Jewish freedom songs, chants against the oppression of Palestinians, and calls for the collective liberation of all those living in Israel/Palestine.
The first demonstration took place on April 19th, when over 100 activists demonstrated in Washington DC outside the headquarters of Hillel International — the largest Jewish student organization in the world. Later that afternoon Jewish activists in Boston chained themselves to the entrance of the local AIPAC office. The demonstrators then decided to escalate the action, chaining themselves inside the lobby. Six protestors were arrested; they were released later that night and summoned to court the following day. Their next court date is scheduled for May 18.
IfNotNow activists arrested during protest at the ADL:
On Thursday over 100 demonstrators held a Liberation Seder inside the entrance to the the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York City. Seventeen people were arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, with some of spending over 20 hours in jail.
On Wednesday afternoon approximately 40 activists gathered at the Chicago Jewish Federation to hold their Liberation Seder, while 50 people protested outside the Jewish Federation...Read More