Aug 12, 2019
More than 1,000 Jewish activists and allies gathered at an Amazon book store in New York City on Sunday to protest the online retail behemoth's collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which swept up nearly 700 people last week in what was reportedly one of the agency's largest-ever raids.
Over 40 demonstrators were arrested during Sunday's action, which included a sit-in inside the Amazon store.
As Gizmodoreported, the activists rallied "to draw attention to [Amazon Web Service's] cloud contracts with ICE and Palantir Technologies, which provides the agency with data for use in immigration raids and other enforcement actions."
\u201cAmazon could change their relationship with ICE - and stop profiting from inhumane detention and deportation.\n\nInstead they decided to call the police on #JewsAgainstICE.\n\n\u201d— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN) 1565562529
Amazon, run by world's richest man Jeff Bezos, has been described as a the "the invisible backbone of ICE's immigration crackdown" due to its lucrative government contracts.
Demonstrators hoped to call attention to Amazon's role in ICE's nationwide terror campaign against immigrants, which has been intensified by President Donald Trump.
\u201cAmazon profits from ICE\n\nSo #JewsAgainstICE are taking over the Amazon bookstore in NYC.\n\nRight now.\n\n\u201d— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN) 1565556068
\u201cAmazon collaborates with ICE, and everyone needs to know that. When we say Never Again we mean it, Never Again to camps, Never Again to roundups, and Never Again to profiting from misery.\n\nIf you\u2019re in New York, join us! Amazon Books on 34th Street in Manhattan, 7 W 34th Street.\u201d— \u2721\ufe0f Never Again Action \u2721\ufe0f (@\u2721\ufe0f Never Again Action \u2721\ufe0f) 1565556162
The protest in New York City was one of a number of nationwide demonstrations against Trump's anti-immigrant agenda on Tisha B'Av, a Jewish day of mourning.
According to the Washington Post, thousands of Jewish activists took part in demonstrations in around 60 locations across the United States, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. One organizer said over 250 Jewish activists have been arrested over the past month for protesting ICE's mass detention and abuse of immigrants.
"We mourn the destruction of all things holy on the Jewish observance of Tisha B'Av," Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi with Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, toldGizmodo in a statement.
"This current administration's attacks on immigrants, Muslims, Jews, people of color, and so many others are likewise horrific destruction of holiness," said Kleinbaum. "CBST is proud to stand with all those suffering today and against the evil of the camps, ICE policies, and the separation of families. Never again is now."
Rabbi Shai Held added that there is "a tremendous amount to mourn--the relentless assault on the most basic values of empathy and decency; the cruelty daily enacted in our name; the metastasization of racism and antisemitism in our country."
"We mourn," Held said, "but we are also here today to say that beyond mourning, we will fight."
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