The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

MJ Edery, (929) 352-4172,  

Sonya E. Meyerson-Knox, (929) 290-0317,


41 Jewish New Yorkers Sit Shiva at Senator Schumer's Office for Palestinians Killed by Israeli Military in Gaza - 14 Arrested


On Thursday morning, 41 Jewish New Yorkers with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) sat shiva at the New York City district offices of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, mourning the 41 Palestinians killed while protesting in Gaza by the Israeli military in the last four weeks. Fourteen members of Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC were arrested after refusing to leave until Senator Schumer condemned these killings. They were supported by a crowd of 75 New Yorkers with JVP, calling for Senator Schumer to take a stand against Israel's flagrant violations of human rights.

"Senator Schumer has, time and again, proven himself a hawkish supporter of the Israeli government and its gross human rights violations against Palestinians," said MJ Edery, a Jewish New Yorker and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC. "As Senator Schumer's constituents and as American Jews, we are fed up. We need leaders who will take a stand for human rights and justice, not politicians who tacitly condone military attacks against peaceful protesters through their silence."

Dressed all in black, with torn clothing, each of the 41 Jewish New Yorkers sitting shiva carried the name of one of the Palestinians killed by the Israeli military while protesting in the Great March of Return in Gaza. Stones were also placed in front of Senator Schumer's office, part of the Jewish tradition of mourning.

On Tuesday, a delegation representing the seven chapters of JVP across New York State met with Senator Schumer's staff in Washington D.C., asking the Senator to speak out and call for an independent investigation into the killings of Palestinian protesters. Israel's violence has prompted condemnations from ten U.S. members of Congress, including Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as well as Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Betty McCollum (D-MN).

"The catastrophe of Palestinian dispossession and expulsion by the Israeli government has gone on for 70 years," said Molly Saffer, a Jewish New Yorker and member of JVP-NYC. "We represent tens of thousands of American Jews who not only mourn with those recently killed, but draw inspiration from today's historic organizing in Gaza. We stand with Palestinians in their calls to return home."

Since March 30, thousands of Palestinians have formed a tent city - marching, forming reading circles, flying kites, and dancing - along the militarized fence that separates Israel from Gaza, under the banner of the Great March of Return. Demonstrators are calling for an end to Israel's brutal 11-year military siege of Gaza and for the right to return home for refugees. On the first day of protests alone, Israeli snipers killed 19 Palestinians and wounded over 1,400. To date, 41 Palestinians have been killed, including at least four children and two journalists. Senator Schumer has remained silent, failing to issue a condemnation of these gross violations of human rights.

Weekly demonstrations will culminate on May 15, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic work for "catastrophe," when 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes for the creation of the state of Israel. This comes one day after the Trump administration plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in a devastating blow to future prospects for peace and justice, and prompting concern that the Israeli government's crackdown on protesters will continue and worsen.

Photos and video footage of the 41 Jewish New Yorkers sitting shiva and of the 14 Jewish New Yorkers getting arrested is available upon request

Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

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