Hundreds of progressive American Jewish activists on Monday peacefully occupied the Statue of Liberty in New York to demand that Israel cease fire in the Gaza Strip and put an end to the genocide caused by its bombing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

The activists, most of whom were young, wore black T-shirts with slogans printed on them, including “Jews demand a ceasefire now” and “Not in our name,” and they stood at the base of the monument that symbolizes New York.

The demonstrators held banners reading, “The whole world is watching… The Palestinians must be liberated, and stop shooting now”.

A statement quoted Jay Saper of the Jewish Voice for Peace organization as saying, “The famous words of our Jewish grandmother (the nineteenth-century American poet) Emma Lazarus inscribed on this monument compel us to work to support the Palestinians of Gaza who aspire to live in freedom”.

In turn, the “Institute for Middle East Understanding” (IMEO) issued a statement in which it demanded “an end to Israel’s genocidal bombing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza”.

For her part, American photographer Nancy Golden said, “As long as the people of Gaza are screaming, we must scream louder, no matter the attempts to silence us”.

Local elected officials, the majority of whom were from the left, participated in the demonstration.

A month ago, New York, a multicultural city hosting millions of immigrants, witnessed pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

New York, which is inhabited by about two million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Muslims, is still safe today from violence between the camp that supports Israel and the camp that supports the Palestinians, but tensions are clear, especially in universities such as Columbia University.

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