Members of the Jewish community and supporters marking the annual day of mourning Tisha B’Av took to the streets Sunday to protest the treatment of immigrants by the Trump administration.
Dozens were arrested in the Jews Against ICE protest as demonstrators occupied an Amazon Books store in midtown Manhattan. Protesters were demanding that Amazon Web Services end its cloud computing contracts with U.S. Customs and Enforcement and other technical services that help agents track down immigrants. People arrested were cheered as they were led to a city bus commandeered by police to transport their detainees.
Protesters gathered elsewhere in Washington, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and scores of other cities. Protesters chose Tisha B’Av, traditionally a day when Jews fast and remember the destruction of two ancient temples and other disasters suffered by their community, to also mourn the suffering and fight for justice for immigrants in America.
“As American Jews, we use this commemoration to mourn and resist the policies of our current government that are endangering, abusing, incarcerating, and deporting refugees and immigrants seeking safety,” said a statement from the organization T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, one of several groups that participated in the protest.
Many protesters wore T-shirts or held aloft banners reading “Never Again,” referring to the Holocaust. Others held signs underscoring comparisons between America and Hitler’s Germany, and concentration and “migrant camps.”
“This is personal for the Jewish community,” Rabbi Yael Rapport of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York told Haaretz. “Public outcry, especially in our modern age, can really change attitudes, and change policy. This is a deeply Jewish thing to do.”
Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, told The Washington Post: “We chose today, our traditional day of mourning, to be sad together. But we also wanted to share our anger.”