Weekly The Generation, Year 1, Issue 13
November 28, 2023
Jewish Voice for Peace Estimates More Than 1,500 Protesters Calling for Permanent Ceasefire Blocked Cars Amid Holiday Traffic
New York peace activists calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza staged their most dramatic action to date on Sunday, closing down the Manhattan Bridge for three hours as people were returning from the Thanksgiving break.
Organizers with the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP) estimate more than 1,500 protesters blocked traffic on the bridge connecting lower Manhattan to Brooklyn as they chanted “let Gaza live” and other messages calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Palestinian territory where Israel and Hamas have warred since October.
The demonstration came on one of the heaviest travel days of the year. And it followed a series of orchestrated pro-ceasefire disruptions, including sit-ins at Grand Central station and marches timed to snarl traffic and maximize commuter disruption.
“We know that business-as-usual can’t continue while the US government is continuing to fund and fuel genocidal attacks against the Palestinians of Gaza,” a JVP spokesperson, Jay Saper, told the Guardian on Monday. “We know that taking mass action is necessary to help build international outcry that can stop the bombings permanently.”
Saper said that Monday’s announced, two-day extension of a pause in Israeli military action was a sign that mass protests in US cities and western capitals had been effective. The protest on Sunday had been an interfaith action that included rabbis, pastors, imams and Palestinians who had joined Jewish New Yorkers at the bridge crossing.
The civic protests had made it impossible for the US government to ignore polling that showed a majority of Americans want a permanent ceasefire, Saper added.
Saper said: “We are continuing to organize in historic fashion – we shut down Grand Central station, causing the largest mass arrest for civil disobedience the city has seen in two decades, one of the largest mass sit-ins in Congress, and took over the Statue of Liberty.”
According to Saper, these actions were making it impossible for politicians to continue to support the actions of Israel unless they were willing to withstand mounting pressure.
Saper said: “We know we have to keep speaking out, and we will continue to speak out, until all Palestinians are free.”