Police Arrest Hundreds of Jewish New Yorkers Protesting Israel’s Gaza Attacks

Hundreds of people were arrested Friday when police broke through a large demonstration of mostly Jewish New Yorkers who had taken over the main hall of Grand Central Station in protest of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, police and organizers said.

The protesters, who wore black sweatshirts with slogans such as “Not in Our Name” and “Cease Fire Now”, blocked the main concourse of the city’s central rail station for several hours, chanting and holding up banners in support of Palestinian rights.

The New York Police Department said at least 200 people had been arrested, while protest organizers put the number at more than 300.

Photos from the scene showed long lines of young people standing in handcuffs and being escorted by police officers.

The sit-in was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace-New York City, a group that opposes Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and advocates for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

The event began with rabbis lighting Shabbat candles and reciting the Jewish prayer for the dead, known as the kaddish, for the victims of the violence in Gaza and Israel.

“While Shabbat is typically a day of rest, we cannot afford to rest while genocide is unfolding in our names,” said Rabbi May Ye in a statement released by organizers. “The lives of Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined, and safety can only come from justice, equality, and freedom for all,” the rabbi said.

Israel launched its offensive on Gaza after Hamas gunmen stormed across the border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping over 220 others, according to Israeli officials.

The Hamas-run health ministry said Friday that Israeli strikes on Gaza had now killed 7,326 people, more than 3,000 of them children.