Hundreds of Israelis to protest Trump immigration policies on Tisha Be'av

Democrats Abroad Israel has organized a #CloseTheCamps protest for 6:30 p.m. across from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
August 14, 2019 23:50
2 minute read.
Hundreds of Israelis to protest Trump immigration policies on Tisha Be'av

People hold signs 'Families against ICE' at immigration protest. (photo credit: OMRI NAHMIAS)

Hundreds of Israelis are expected to protest the policies of America's immigrant detention camps on Sunday in solidarity with concurrent events that will take place around the United States.

Democrats Abroad-Israel has organized a #CloseTheCamps protest for 6:30 p.m. across from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
 
The protest is specifically organized for the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, a day of fasting and mourning on the Jewish calendar.


“Tisha Be'av is a day of communal mourning, commemorating several catastrophes in Jewish history,” explains the website of a similar protest being organized in Howard County, Maryland. “This year, on Tisha Be'av, we demand an end to the modern catastrophe of deportations and detention camps. Jews throughout Maryland and allies will demonstrate publicly that we will not turn our backs on refugees arriving in our country or on our immigrant neighbors already here.”


Heather Stone, chair of Democrats Abroad-Israel, said that "we must bear witness. We must stand up and object. It is our duty and obligation – especially as children of immigrants who crossed through Ellis Island yearning to breathe free. We cannot forget our history.


“As Jews, we should follow the directive of the Torah: ‘The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself – for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,’” Stone continued, quoting Leviticus 19:34.


In the US, a Jewish-run group, Never Again Action, has been leading such a charge. It has more than 40,000 followers on Twitter, thousands more following its Facebook and Instagram accounts, and has become one of the most outspoken groups against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and President Donald Trump, the latter who the organization says has drawn too hard a line in his efforts to deport Central American migrants.


“When Jews Say Never Again, They Mean It” is the slogan that tops the organization's site in capital letters.

“Many of the hallmarks of fascism listed on a poster sold by the Holocaust Museum in Washington are present now in America,” Stone explained, noting what she views as unacceptable treatment of immigrant families, such as young children being separated from their parents and forcing immigrants to live in overcrowded facilities that lack safety and some sanitary items.


Last month, hundreds of protesters, most of them progressive Jews, attended a rally in Washington against these same policies. Then, attendees, who came from all over the United States, held signs that read, “Families against ICE,” “Dignity, not detention” and “Abolish ICE.”


Those partnering with the Tel Aviv event are Bend the Arc, J Street, HIAS, the National Council of Jewish Women, Torah Trumps Hate and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.


“One day, our children and grandchildren will be asking what we were doing during this dark time in our history,” Stone said. “We owe it to them to stand up and fight for the children.”


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