About a hundred people joined the Minnesota Jews Against Genocide March in downtown Minneapolis on Monday morning. The group is calling for a cease-fire and humanitarian aid measures in Gaza.
Protesters met in Gold Medal Park and marched to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office to ask her to support their demands.
Community organizer Liz Loeb addressed the crowd at Gold Medal Park before the march started.
“There is nothing sacred or holy that could ever come from the violence being targeted at the people of Gaza by the state of Israel in this moment,” she said.
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The march was organized by If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace, two Jewish groups that advocate for human rights in Palestine and an end to Israeli occupation.
They say they want to show political leaders — and the public — that there are Jewish constituents who oppose U.S. military aid to Israel and the attacks in Gaza.
Nat El-Hai works with Jewish Voice for Peace.
“Young Jews are coming forward and saying, ‘not in our names,’” El-Hai said. “We are building a Judaism beyond Zionism, and it's beautiful and it works. This is the way we can live in a safe world with everyone, with our whole community.”
As the march moved through downtown, a smaller group of protesters headed inside the office building to demand a meeting with Klobuchar. Two organizers were able to meet with a staff member.
They passed on a letter with hundreds of signatures from hundreds of Jewish Minnesotans calling for de-escalation, a cease-fire and humanitarian aid in Gaza.
While the meeting took place, the marchers outside linked arms and blocked the main entrance to the building, hoping to add pressure to the conversation. Organizers led them in prayers and speeches.
Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg is an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace. She was one of the two in the meeting with Klobuchar’s staffer. She said she appreciated the show of support at the protest, and she’s hoping political leaders will see it.
“I feel our power as people who are standing up and saying no, but until we see more leadership in Washington calling for de-escalation and cease-fire, I'm going to be still heartbroken and still afraid of what's happening,” Rosenberg said.
Klobuchar, as well as other Minnesota politicians including Gov. Tim Walz, have made statements in support of Israel since Hamas attacked on Oct. 7. Israel has cut off water and electricity in Gaza and has ordered more than one million residents to evacuate.
El-Hai plans to keep working with the Jewish community to call for peace in Palestine — beyond this stage of the war.
“We, as U.S. Jews, will not stop until all U.S. military aid to Israel ends,” El-Hai said. “While we’re asking for a cease-fire now, there are broader calls to end all U.S. military funding to Israel and to [end] the ongoing ethnic cleansing happening not just to Gaza, but in the entire region and all of occupied Palestine.”