A growing movement of American Jews is mobilizing against U.S. immigration policy across the country. ‘We’re fighting for the soul of our country, for our very humanity.’
NEW YORK CITY — Hundreds of American Jewish demonstrators staged a sit-in at one of Amazon’s flagship stores in New York on Sunday, to protest the company’s ties to the big-data firm Palantir, which contracts directly with Immigration and Custom Enforcement forces. The action resulted in the arrest of 44 people, including a New York City councilman, several rabbis, and high-profile public figures like Eli Valley and Molly Crabapple.
The protest, organized by a coalition of Jewish groups including T’ruah, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and Never Again Action, as well a number of synagogues, was organized in solidarity with immigrants threatened with deportation by ICE and who are vulnerable to attacks by white nationalist terrorists. It was one of many protests involving thousands of American Jews in cities across the United States planned to coincide with Tisha B’Av, a traditional Jewish day of mourning.
After a silent march through midtown Manhattan, the protesters, dressed in black, occupied the Amazon store and conducted a Tisha B’Av service that combined the traditional liturgy with readings of testimonies from immigrants detained by ICE. Speakers drew direct parallels between the treatment of Jewish immigrants during World War II and that of Latinx immigrants today, and the crowd periodically chanted the refrains “close the camps” and “never again is now.”
“The cries of the Jewish people, of our people, against the forms of oppression visited upon us through our migrations across Jewish history, require us to speak out about what’s being done now,” said Brad Lander, a Jewish city councilman from Brooklyn who was among those arrested during the sit-in inside the Amazon store. Lander pointed to the similarities between the historical experiences of Jews and those of Latinx immigrants today, a parallel that the Never Again Action protests have insisted on drawing.
“Amazon has chosen to make itself a corporate partner to ICE,” he added. “And if they’re either so addicted to profit or so callous to suffering that they are willing to continue to...Read More