American Jews occupy Statue of Liberty to demand Gaza Cease-Fire

US jews

NEW YORK: Hundreds of US Jewish activists peacefully occupied New York’s Statue of Liberty to demand a cease-fire by Israel and an end to the “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 protesters unfurled banners reading, “The whole world is watching” and “Palestinians should be free” at the base of New York’s iconic landmark.

The huge copper statue sits on Liberty Island at the entrance to New York Harbor.

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“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, or JVP, the gathering’s organizer, said 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.

Participants from the Institute for Middle East Understanding demanded “an end to Israel’s genocidal bombardment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

“As long as the people of Gaza are screaming, we need to yell louder, no matter who attempts to silence us,” said photographer Nan Goldin, standing alongside several local elected officials, some with strong roots in the political left.

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 2 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and it so far has avoided any violence related to the conflict, though tensions are palpable in certain spots such as university campuses.

The death toll in Gaza surpassed 10,000 people Monday, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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