Four IfNotNow activists were arrested outside of the offices of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas Tuesday morning. The demonstration was protesting the lack of response from the JCRC to “condemn Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza.”
Minneapolis Police Department Sgt. Darcy Horn said that the four who were taken away by the police were cited disorderly conduct – a misdemeanor. She said it would be up to the city attorney if charges would be filed. Horn said the arrests were made out of concern for public safety because they were blocking traffic.
On the Friday Passover started, Gaza residents went to the fence separating themselves from Israel in what started as a protest that would be continuing for several Fridays. According to news sources in Israel, Israeli soldiers opened fire on suspected Hamas terrorists, killing 15 – some were civilians.
“The JCRC acts as a voice for Jewish individuals and organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas, and its silence on the killings in Gaza speaks volumes. If the JCRC won’t condemn Israel’s murder of nonviolent protesters, we will – we’re taking our voice back and building a Jewish community that stands for freedom and dignity for all, and we hope that the JCRC will join us in that call,” said Imogen Page, an IfNotNow member.
In a statement to TC Jewfolk, JCRC’s executive director Steve Hunegs said that the JCRC did not request that the members of IfNotNow be arrested – which Horn of the MPD confirmed.
“We have fundamental differences with If Not Now on a wide range of issues including its ambiguity towards Israel’s existence and Israel’s right to defend itself. The facts show Hamas terrorists have manufactured the current crisis as part of its long-standing campaign to destroy the Jewish state of Israel,” Hunegs said. “Informed discussion is the key to civil conversation about difficult issues. Despite our significant differences, we remain interested in discussing civilly how we as Minnesotans can improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”
The death toll is currently 31. There may have been a handful of Hamas terrorists killed, but the large majority of them were civilians. A Palestinian photo journalist wearing a press vest was shot and killed. I think it is important for us Jews to face this brutality head on. Whether or not anyone feels this level of force is justified, I think it is important to accurately report what is happening in Gaza so people can make up their own minds with complete and accurate information.