Monday, January 17th | 15 Shevat 5782

July 4, 2019 9:52 am

Jewish Protesters Shut Down Boston Traffic Over Migrant Detention Centers

avatar by

Jewish protesters shut down Boston traffic on July 2, 2019, over migrant detention centers on the US southern border. Photo: Screenshot. – More than 1,000 demonstrators, including Jewish ones, shut down traffic in Boston on Tuesday, some chanting the post-Holocaust rallying cry “Never again” to protest the reportedly horrific conditions at migrant detention centers in the United States.

The protesters marched from the New England Holocaust Memorial to the Suffolk County House of Correction, which consists of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees.

“Many of the demonstrators were young, wearing prayer shawls and head coverings, and drawing on lessons learned in Hebrew school and from relatives who survived the Holocaust to urge the Trump administration to ‘close the camps,’ ” reported The Boston Globe.

“When we grew up hearing the words ‘never again,’ it’s referring to a moment like this,” event co-organizer Michaela Caplan, 23, told the outlet.

Related coverage

January 17, 2022 3:20 pm

Former Iran Hostage Announces Hunger Strike: ‘No Deal Unless Hostages Are Free’

One of the victims of the Iran hostage crisis is launching a hunger strike this week to pressure Washington and...

“Show me what the Torah looks like,” tweeted prominent Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, sharing a then-breaking news post about the demonstration.

Tuesday’s traffic blockade came a week after US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said in an Instagram video that the United States is “running concentration camps on our southern border,” in reference to the Trump administration’s policies regarding illegal immigrants.

Ocasio-Cortez’s Holocaust comparison was condemned by many, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, told JNS, “I don’t need to get caught up in comparison to the Holocaust in order to be completely horrified and motivated to action by what our government is doing in our name at the border.”

However, Burton conceded that “one can absolutely” protest both Ocasio-Cortez’s Holocaust analogy and the conditions at the migrant detention facilities.

‘Most people sympathize with detainees, Ethiopians’

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action applauded the demonstration.

“I am inspired by the outpouring of Jewish protesters physically resisting ICE and CBP’s cruel, inhumane treatment of immigrants in our name,” Stosh Cotler, the organization’s CEO, told JNS. “Recent visits to border detention facilities by members of Congress have revealed atrocious conditions, and are a reminder of the urgency with which we need to act to stop the Trump administration’s policies of harm and suffering.”

She continued, “We must continue to take action by demanding that Congress hold this administration accountable and cut off funding to the agencies overseeing these human rights atrocities.”

American Jewish scholar Jonathan Sarna went beyond the Boston protest and noted an apparent trend.

“In both Boston and Israel, protesters are shutting down traffic—in Boston to protest against immigrant detention centers and in Israel to protest against police killing of an unarmed Ethiopian Jew,” he told JNS.

Protests dissolved into violent riots Tuesday night, following the funeral earlier in the day of Solomon Tekah, a 19-year-old Israeli-Ethiopian who was killed by an off-duty police officer on Sunday. Police reported 136 arrests and 111 officers wounded across the country.

“The aims, in both cases, seem to me laudable: Most people surely sympathize with the detainees and with the Ethiopians,” said Sarna. “The actions, however, seem to me highly questionable.”

“Why should totally innocent commuters be victimized because migrants and Ethiopians are mistreated? In what moral universe are innocents punished for the sins of government officials?” he continued. “In my view, opponents of detention centers should protest at the offices of Homeland Security, and opponents of police brutality should protest at police stations. Just as we try to avoid harming innocent civilians in war, we should likewise try to avoid harming innocent civilians in protests.”

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.