Activists blocked a major transport hub in Chicago to protest Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. Most of the protestors were Jewish and traveled from states including Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois, for an organized demonstration outside the Israeli embassy, which is located at the Ogilvie Transportation Center, a major rail station in the Windy City.
Police arrested more than 100 protestors for misdemeanor offenses related to blocking escalators in and out of the building. Groups including Jewish Voice and IfNotNow were involved in the demonstration; both organizations describe themselves as “progressive” Jews who object to US support for Israel and wore t-shirts stating “Not in our name.”
Clara Belitz of IfNotNow Chicago said, “We will not let a genocide happen in our name. Our Jewish values compel us to speak out.” She accused the Jewish state in the Middle East of operating an “apartheid system.”
Israel is engaged in a war with the terror group Hamas, which murdered more than 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7. Critics say Israel’s bombardment of Hamas-ruled Gaza amounts to a “genocide,” while the Israeli government says it has warned residents to leave the area numerous times.
Hamas says more than 13,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict so far, but Israel’s Defense Force (IDF) accused the designated terrorist organization of using its people as human shields. In October, Israel said it had proof that Hamas had established “command and control centers” underneath Gaza’s main civilian hospital and has long accused the terror group of deliberately basing military targets inside residential areas, as well as schools and mosques.
While some Jewish groups object to Israel’s war against Hamas, most American Jews support the Jewish state, and a poll in November found that 87% approve of US military aid to Israel. In the same poll, 75% of American Jews said they feel less safe since October 7 and believe antisemitism is rising in the US.