Hundreds of far-left Jewish New Yorkers occupy Statue of Liberty to demand Gaza ceasefire

Activists from Jewish Voice for Peace occupy the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty on November 6, 2023 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP)
Activists from Jewish Voice for Peace occupy the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty on November 6, 2023 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP)

Hundreds of far-left US Jewish activists have peacefully occupied New York’s Statue of Liberty to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s “genocidal bombardment” of civilians in Gaza.

Dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with the slogans “Jews demand ceasefire now” or “Not in our name,” the protestors unfurl banners reading “The whole world is watching” and “Palestinians should be free” at the base of New York’s iconic landmark.

“The famous words of our Jewish ancestor Emma Lazarus etched into this very monument compel us to take action supporting the Palestinians of Gaza yearning to breathe free,” Jay Saper of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the gathering’s organizer, says in a statement, referring to the 19th-century activist who helped Jewish refugees fleeing to New York from Europe.

The statement quotes Lazarus’s poem “New Colossus,” which is engraved on the statue’s base as an ode to US immigrants.

New York City, a famed melting pot of migrants, has been rocked for the past month by dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The city is home to some two million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Muslims and has so far avoided any violence related to the conflict, though tensions are palpable in certain spots such as university campuses.

Activists from Jewish Voice for Peace occupy the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty on November 6, 2023, in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP)

But opinions are not monolithic in either community.

A small liberal segment of American Jewish youth — Jews vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party — has unleashed harsh criticism of Israel, which it accuses of perpetrating “genocide” on Palestinians in Gaza.

They also denounce US President Joe Biden’s military and diplomatic support for Israel, which has engaged in a month-long bombardment of the Palestinian territory since Hamas’s October 7 attack that Israeli officials said left 1,400 people.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of demonstrators, some brought by JVP, gathered in Washington to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and to denounce US policy of support for Israel.

In late October, thousands of protesters, many gathered by JVP, occupied the huge Grand Central station in Manhattan with the same demands.

Separately, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters, including some from US Jewish organizations, shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, leading from Manhattan to the multicultural and fashionable borough across the East River.

Most Popular