New York police arrest some 20 rabbis protesting Trump travel ban

The rabbis were protesting the Trump administration's most controversial executive order to date when they were arrested for blocking traffic.

February 7, 2017 12:25
1 minute read.
holds a sign in support of Muslim family members as people protest against U.S. President Donald Tru

A girl holds a sign in support of Muslim family members as people protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on Muslim majority countries.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A group of about 20 rabbis was arrested on Monday night in Manhattan, according to The New York Times. The rabbis were arrested by New York Police for blocking traffic on Columbus Drive outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower, while protesting US President Donald Trump's executive order which restricts travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The protest was organized by T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, a non-profit group of whose mission is to "bring together rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism, together with all members of the Jewish community, to act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people."

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T'ruah is led by Rabbi Jill Jacobs, who was named by The Jerusalem Post as a "Woman to Watch" in 2013. She was quoted by The New York Times as saying, "We know that some of the language that’s being used now to stop Muslims from coming in is the same language that was used to stop Jewish refugees from coming."

"We remember our history, and we remember that the borders of this country closed to us in 1924 with very catastrophic consequences during the Holocaust," she said in reference to Jewish immigration between the World Wars.

Approximately 200 people participated in Monday night's protest.

A US federal appeals court will hear arguments on Tuesday over whether to restore Trump's temporary travel ban, the most controversial policy of his two-week old administration.

In a brief filed on Monday, the Justice Department said last week's suspension of Trump's order by a federal judge was too broad and "at most" should be limited to people who were already granted entry to the country and were temporarily abroad, or to those who want to leave and return to the United States.

The new Republican president has said the travel measures are to protect the country against the threat of terrorism. Opponents say the 90-day ban is illegal, barring entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and imposing a 120-day halt to all refugees.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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