Press Release: Jewish Millenials at Senator Feinstein's Office Ask Her to Oppose Israel's Actions in Gaza

Illana Newman, IfNotNow
Friday April 13, 2018 - 10:02:00 AM

Watch the livestream here.

American Jewish millennials are demanding that Senator Feinstein condemn the killing of 31 Palestinian protesters and the injuring of over 1300 more by Israeli live fire near the Gaza border.

UPDATE: SAN FRANCISCO: Nine young Jews from IfNotNow Bay Area were just arrested for blocking Senator Dianne Feinstein's office, demanding that she join Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in condemning Israeli violence on protesters in Gaza. 

Watch the livestream here.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Right now, there are 20 American Jewish young people blocking the doors of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco office. The demonstrators are calling on her to condemn Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza, in which Israeli military forces have killed 31 Palestinian protesters and injured more than 1,300 others with live fire over three weeks of protest. The violence was Israel’s response to The Great March of Return, one of the largest Palestinian protests the Gaza Strip has seen in years — a protest which has not injured or endangered Israeli soldiers or civilians.

“We know that Senator Feinstein has spoken out against the U.S. embassy move from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and the demolition of Palestinian villages — oppressive policies that harm Palestinians and Israelis. We commend her for that. But Senator Feinstein cannot pick and choose when she stands up for Palestinians and Israelis. If she really believes that Bibi Netanyahu does not speak for her which she has claimed in the past, then she must speak out. As American Jews and as her constituents, we demand that she condemn Israel’s use of deadly force against Palestinian protesters.” said David Granberg, who is one of 12 IfNotNow members prepared to risk arrest at the protest if Senator Feinstein refuses to condemn Israeli violence.

In the past 10 days, 23 millennial Jews have been arrested by Jewish leaders, following demonstrations in in Boston at the Israeli Consulate, in New York City at Senator Schumer’s office, in the Twin Cities at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota, and in Los Angeles at the Jewish Federation. At each location, the young Jews demanded a statement condemning Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters, and at each location the organization or individual chose to arrest the protesters instead of releasing any statement.

The protest at Feinstein’s office began at 9:30 am, when about 20 young American Jews — all members of IfNotNow — entered the lobby of 1 Post St #2450, San Francisco, CA 94104, where Senator Feinstein’s San Francisco Office is located. While the Senator is in DC this week, once inside, they asked to speak with a staffer to demand Senator Feinstein issue a statement condemning Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza. When the staffer refused, the young Jews began to block the turn styles that lead into the elevator hall, in an attempt to disrupt business as usual. They read the names of the 31 Palestinians that were killed by Israeli forces in the past two weeks and recited the Mourner’s Kaddish, a Jewish prayer traditionally recited for family or community members who have died.  

Today’s protest comes on the third Friday in a row that Palestinian protesters in Gaza were met with live sniper fire from the Israeli army. Yet Feinstein continued her silence, prompting the young Jews to chant periodically, “How Many More?” in reference to how many more Palestinians would have to die for the Senator to speak out. They also had a series of massive posters asking that same question. The protesters noted that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), also an American Jew, had condemned the violence on the day it happened, saying: “The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.”  

“Palestinians in Gaza came out by the thousands today to protest for their freedom. They were met with more live ammunition, more teargas, more violence. If Senator Feinstein does nothing, this is going to continue happening. How many more Palestinians need to die before she speaks out?” said Adam Hirsch, who is also prepared to risk arrest if the senator refuses to issue a statement. 

On Friday March 30, just hours before Passover began, more than 30,000 Palestinians marched in Gaza and IDF snipers responded to the protest with live gunfire, killing 17 protesters. On Friday, April 6th, tens of thousands of protesters returned and again the IDF shot into the crowd, killing 9 Palestinians. The Palestinian protest has been overwhelmingly nonviolent and led by a diverse coalition of young Palestinians. For two weeks in a row, the United States blocked the United Nations Security Council from calling for an independent investigation into Israel’s use of force. 

In December 2017, Senator Feinstein condemned the embassy move to Jerusalem. She also condemned the demolition of Palestinian villages and a bill in the Israeli Parliament that would legalize settlement outposts in the West Bank.