Forty-four protesters were arrested while demonstrating against Amazon Web Services' (AWS) cloud contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a New York Amazon Books store Sunday evening.
On the Jewish holiday Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Jerusalem messianic temples and memorializes other Jewish tragedies, several liberal Jewish organizations protested deportations by occupying one of Amazon’s brick-and-mortar locations.
"Today Jews from across organizations and congregations and synagogues came together as one to decry Amazon's relationship with ICE, Amazon's collaboration with ICE and the way in which Amazon enables the deportation machine," Audrey Sasson, executive director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, told PIX11 of New York. "We are calling on Amazon to cut their ties with ICE."
“As Jews, we know too well about what can happen when white nationalism takes over in a society,” Rabbi Rachel Timoner of JFREJ told Fox Business, after she was arrested during the rally. “We are committed, as Jews, that nothing like the Holocaust ever happens again.”
She said the “government policies of brutalizing immigrants” and their dehumanization of certain groups had contributed to the rise of White Nationalism, which she and her colleagues found alarming. She added that Amazon employees pleaded with the company to not be complicit in providing a platform and the technology for ICE.
The organization chronicled the protest on Twitter.
The groups used the hashtags #JewsAgainstICE and #NeverAgainIsNow. In similar comments in June, Democratic Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez was accused of minimizing the Holocaust when she claimed the “fascist” Trump administration was "running" concentration camps at the border.
This round of protests came after ICE detained more than 600 people in raids last Wednesday.
Video shows ralliers sitting in at the store, praying and singing songs, including Kol Ha’Olam Kulo, a Hebrew song that urges against giving into fear. Eventually, New York police officers took protesters who refused to leave the premises into custody.
Jews for Economic and Racial Justice said more than 1,000 people attended the rally.
After protests earlier this summer at ICE headquarters, a leaked internal Amazon email revealed revealed that Amazon was struggling to defend the company’s position. The group Never Again rejoiced in their success and has since fortified their efforts.
"We said we were going to shut down ICE yesterday, and that is exactly what we did," Never Again said in July. "We kept this agency — an agency that is cruel in its design — from going about their business of terrorizing immigrant communities."
Neither Amazon nor the New York Police Department responded for comment.
“We will stand with our sisters and brothers that have committed no crime other than looking for a safe, better life and the Jewish people understand that because we came to this country looking for the same things,” Rabbi Timoner said, “There will be more protests and we will not stop until everyone is treated with the dignity they deserve.”