Approximately 50 demonstrators gathered outside the offices of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer Monday morning to condemn the officials' support for Israel.
The protesters called on Congress to end military aid to the Israel Defense Forces through enforcement of the Leahy Law, a human rights law that prevents the United States from aiding foreign militaries that commit war crimes.
“Senator Schumer has repeatedly supported Israeli government aggression against the Palestinian people, including the latest assault on the Palestinians of Gaza,” said Candace Graff from Jewish Voices for Peace-NY. “And both Senators have failed to seek enforcement of laws requiring U.S. funding to be cut off to units of a country’s armed forces that have committed a ‘gross violation of human rights.’”
More than 20 organizations signed on to endorse the event and the attending protesters said that they represented more than a dozen of those organizations, including, CodePink NYC, Direct Action Front for Palestine, Jews Say No, Veterans for Peace and several Students for Justice in Palestine chapters.
“Senator Schumer has been egregious in standing up for Israel—not in just standing up for Israel as virtually all members of Congress do, but in actually pursuing very right-wing, hawkish policy in Israel,” said Brandon Davis, a member of Jewish Voices for Peace. “He calls himself the ‘guardian’ of Israel and I think that is a ridiculous foreign policy for a senator of the United States. He’s the ‘guardian’ of New York State and the United States, not Israel.”
The protesters, who plan to stay outside until 7 p.m., took questions, simulated an Israeli military checkpoint, and read the names of Palestinian children that were killed in Gaza this summer.