New York/PNN/Shirin Zarqa
Eight American Jews from the IfNotNow Movement were arrested in front of US Senator Chuck Schumer’s office in Manhattan on Monday.
The activists were chanting, “How many more Chuck?” referring to the number of Palestinian protesters killed at the Gaza Border.
The New York Senator has not bothered to shake his head at the Israeli government’s reaction to protestors, let alone speak out against the violence. Though not surprising to Palestinian-Americans, American Jews are appalled at the Senators silence.
After If Not Now, activists requested the senator’s office to release a statement condemning Israel’s use of live fire during the Gaza border protests, which have left more than 30 Palestinians dead and thousands wounded. Senator Schumer’s staff rebuked the protester’s request, sparking a blockade to his office on Monday.
The members of the If Not Now Movement gathered in front of Senator Schumer’s office protesting his silence, standing in solidarity with Palestinian protesters and reciting the Qaddish, a Jewish prayer for the souls of the dead, the families that mourn, and the call for universal peace.
Last week U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was quick to criticize the Israeli government, stating that he believed they “overreacted.” Sanders counterpart in Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy has also been voiced his skepticism of the Israeli government’s motives.
An aid from his office stated that Israel’s actions in Gaza should be considered as a violation of the “Leahy Law,” a US law that prohibits aid to foreign military units that engage in human rights violations.
After statements made by Senator Sanders and Senator Leahy’s office, representatives Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Barbara Lee of California also tweeted their concern and called on the international community to do more to end the violence and resolve the conflict.
Even so, Senator Schumer has remained silent to what the US would consider a blatant violation of the first amendment which gives ensures the, “right of the people peaceably to assemble.”