"As Jewish New Yorkers we want to make crystal clear that President Biden is not welcome in our city while he continues to fund and arm the Israeli government's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," said one protester.
Around 100 Jewish American and allied activists were arrested in New York City Wednesday after they blocked President Joe Biden's motorcade route to protest U.S. complicity in Israel's genocidal war against the Palestinian people and to demand an immediate Gaza cease-fire.
The group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) led the Upper East Side demonstration, during which activists sat down in the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, where the president was attending a nearby fundraiser.
"As Jewish New Yorkers we want to make crystal clear that President Biden is not welcome in our city while he continues to fund and arm the Israeli government's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," saidJVP's Jay Saper.
JVP activist Maya Edery noted that this is Biden's first visit to New York since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel.
"Instead of answering to the majority of his base that is calling for a cease-fire, he is meeting with corporate donors behind closed doors," Edery said.
Biden's staunch support for Israel—which includes asking for an additional $14.3 billion in U.S. military aid atop the nearly $4 billion the country already receives from Washington and repeatedly bypassing Congress to expedite armed assistance to the key ally—has prompted many activists to call him "Genocide Joe."
The president has also come under fire for casting doubt on the number of Palestinians killed and wounded by Israeli forces.
As JVP noted:
The Israeli military has killed over 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza, over 11,000 of whom were children, in four months of bombing and military assault. Gaza has been made uninhabitable by design, with Israeli airstrikes destroying 70% of infrastructure, including hospitals, universities, and the electricity and water grids. Nearly 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes; 1.9 million are sheltering in the southern city of Rafah, where the Israeli military has lately launched airstrikes.
"Biden says that he is funding and arming Israel for Jewish safety. We're here to call his bluff," said JVP's Eve Feldberg. "The president is advancing the U.S.' own military interests."
Wednesday's demonstration was the latest in a wave of Jewish-led protests by groups including JVP and IfNotNow that have shut down transportation hubs, taken over the Statue of Liberty, and disrupted speeches by Biden and other administration officials.
Also on Wednesday, dozens of members of the peace group CodePink were arrested for blocking entrances to the Woodward weapons manufacturing plant in suburban Chicago.
"Woodward is a weapons manufacturer. They supply arms to Israel," said one protester. "So we are here today to prevent workers from going in and from building bombs that have been dropped on Palestinians in Gaza."
Five CodePink activists were also arrested after blocking an entrance to Travis Air Force Base in northern California on Wednesday, a day after members of the group including Jewish co-founder Medea Benjamin confronted Democratic California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi over an Israel aid bill in the House.