"We refuse to allow a genocide to be carried out in our names," said organizer Jewish Voice for Peace. "Ceasefire now to save lives!"
Hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies rallied Monday at the Statue of Liberty in New York to demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza as the death toll from Israel's monthlong assault on the Palestinian territory topped 10,000.
Members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), IfNotNow, and other groups were joined by unaffiliated Jews of conscience and allies at a sit-in at the iconic New York landmark, where rabbis led songs, chants, and prayers.
"We refuse to allow a genocide to be carried out in our names," JVP said on social media. "Cease-fire now to save lives! Never again for anyone!"
Many demonstrators wore the same T-shirts reading "Not in My Name" that have been seen at other Jewish-led protests including the takeover of Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan and a rally at the U.S. Capitol last month, part of what JVP has called the largest-ever mobilization of Jewish Americans for Palestine.
"My ancestors were greeted by the Statue of Liberty while escaping pogroms. While it is a symbol of refuge for my family, I am hauntingly aware that the U.S. denied entry to Jewish refugees throughout the entirety of the Holocaust," said Sarah Koshar of JVP. "From Ellis Island to Gaza, never again means never again—for anyone."
JVP's Jay Saper said that "the famous words of our Jewish ancestor Emma Lazarus etched into this very monument compel us to take action supporting the Palestinians of Gaza yearning to breathe free."
Renowned photographer and activist Nan Goldin, who was at the sit-in, asserted that "as long as the people of Gaza are screaming, we need to yell louder, no matter who attempts to silence us."
Democratic socialist New York state Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani (D-36), who also attended the protest, toldIntelligencer that the Statue of Liberty is "one of the greatest symbols of New York City and our supposed commitments to universal values of liberty and freedom and respite. And yet what we've seen is our country allowing for a genocide to take place."
Mamdani—who was among the many protesters arrested last month outside the home of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) while calling for a cease-fire—added: "How many children have to be killed until we can finally see a position of cease-fire from our White House and federally elected officials?"
Monday's sit-in comes as the death toll from Israel's relentless assault on Gaza topped 10,000—most of them civilian men, women, and children. Tens of thousands of others have been wounded, nearly half the homes in the embattled strip are destroyed or damaged, and over 1.4 million Palestinians have fled for their lives since Israel began bombarding the besieged territory following the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel that left more than 1,400 people dead.
At least 155 Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past month.
Far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday again rejected growing calls for a cease-fire, saying there would be no stop to his country's relentless onslaught "without the return of the hostages" held by Hamas. Israeli officials have repeatedly claimed there is "no humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.
While around two dozen U.S. lawmakers back a Gaza cease-fire, President Joe Biden—who has been accused of genocide denial for aspersing Palestinian officials' casualty figures—has rebuffed calls to support one. Instead, Biden is calling for a humanitarian "pause" in the war.