40 Jews were arrested in New York protesting Amazon.
A protest of Amazon’s work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) saw forty Jews arrested in New York City. Close to 700 people were pulled out in the previous week in the agency’s largest-ever raid. The activists rallied together to bring attention to Amazon’s cloud contracts with Palantir Technologies and ICE. Palantir Technologies gives ICE data which they make use of in enforcement actions as well as immigration raids.
The protesters weren’t alone. They were joined by 50 other demonstrations which happened across the United States to highlight Tisha b’Av. Tisha b’Av is a Jewish day of mourning and was observed by Jews in the United States to oppose the immigration policy of the United States. The protests took place in many cities such as Washington D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. Forty Jewish protestors were arrested including a Jewish city councilman, Brad Lander. The other venues didn’t see any arrests.
The protests were organized by a group called Never Again Action. The protests aim to draw a link between the current treatment of undocumented immigrants and the Holocaust.
Sophie Ellman-Golan, a leader of Never Again Action and volunteer organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), said the protest drew over 1,000 participants.
The Trump administration has described refugees and immigrants in racist as well as bigoted terms. In addition to verbal insults, they have directed ICE to plan and execute mass raids of undocumented immigrants in their workplaces, communities, and homes.
Sharon Kleinbaum, a senior rabbi, has said that all Jews mourn the destruction of everything during Tisha b’Av. Rabbi Shai Held has said there is a lot to mourn. Jews mourn for the destruction of basic values of decency and empathy, cruelty which is enacted in their name, and the “metastasization of racism and antisemitism in our country.” Held has said they will mourn as well as fight.
JEREJ tweeted that the NYPD had requisitioned a public bus in order to transport all of the arrested individuals.
Amazon released a statement in the last month which said they’ve “provided a proposed legislative framework” for governments to use their artificial intelligence technology responsibly.
Some Jews have criticized the protestors for comparing the Holocaust to the United States immigration policy. They have said that using phrases such as “concentration camp” trivializes the Holocaust.