37 U.S. Jews have been arrested across the United States in the past week for staging protests calling on Israel to end its violence against unarmed Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border, an NGO said Wednesday.
IfNotNow, an NGO mainly consisting of U.S. Jews against Israel's policies in the State of Palestine, said that they had staged demonstrations in Boston, New York, Twin Cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, and most recently they had protested in front of Maryland Senator Ben Cardin's office on Capitol Hill on Monday.
Their calls asking the Democrat senator to denounce Israel's actions, specifically its use of live ammunition against Palestinians, went unanswered by him, but police arrested five IfNotNow activists protesting outside.
On April 13, nine out of a group of 20 were arrested after protesting outside of California Senator Dianne Feinstein's office in San Francisco. They demanded Feinstein join Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in condemning the violence, to which she later responded with a tweet saying the events in Gaza were "exceptionally destructive for both the Palestinians and the state of Israel. It must end. Violence is not the pathway to reconciliation."
On April 11, another group of five activists were arrested after they blocked the doors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
On April 9, seven demonstrators were arrested for asking New York Senator Chuck Schumer to release a statement condemning Israel's use of live fire during the Gaza protests and blocking the doors of the senator's New York City Office.
And on April 3, when IfNotNow launched the protests after Israeli snipers shot dead 17 Palestinians, Boston police arrested eight protesters who chained themselves to the door of the Israeli consulate.
Tension has mounted in the blockaded Gaza Strip since March 30, when Palestinians began holding mass rallies along the coastal enclave's 45-kilometer eastern border with Israel.
Since then, at least 35 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed-- and another 3,000 injured -- by cross-border Israeli army gunfire.
The rallies are part of a planned six-week border protest that will culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".
Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.