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Jewish Voice for Peace Protest at 30 Rock Precedes Biden’s “Late Night” Appearance

Around 50 participants in the protest were arrested before Biden's interview on the NBC program.

Jewish demonstrators and their allies engaged in a protest in the lobby at 30 Rockefeller Center on February 26, 2024, the same day President Joe Biden planned to be interviewed by NBC late night host Seth Myers.

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On Monday afternoon, dozens of Jewish protesters and their allies demonstrated at the headquarters for NBC television in New York City, demanding that President Joe Biden — who was appearing there later in the day — call for an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza.

Since October 7, Israel’s genocidal siege and bombardment of Gaza has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians, including more than 12,300 children. Thousands more are believed to be buried under the rubble. Government officials in Gaza have warned that over 700,000 Palestinians in Gaza — a third of the population — are at risk of starving to death due to Israel’s relentless starvation campaign.

Jewish demonstrators and their allies engaged in a protest in the lobby at 30 Rockefeller Center on February 26, 2024, the same day President Joe Biden planned to be interviewed by NBC late night host Seth Myers.

The New York City chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated the protest inside the lobby at 30 Rockefeller Center, NBC’s headquarters, prior to Biden’s arrival. Around 100 demonstrators took part in the protest, according to the organization, and around 50 members were arrested.

Beyond calling for a ceasefire, protesters demanded that Biden stop funneling billions of dollars in military aid to Israel.

“As Jewish New Yorkers we are absolutely outraged that President Biden is actively supporting a genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza,” said Jay Saper, an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace.

Jewish demonstrators and their allies engaged in a protest in the lobby at 30 Rockefeller Center on February 26, 2024, the same day President Joe Biden planned to be interviewed by NBC late night host Seth Myers.

“The President needs to start answering to the American people,” said Eve Feldberg, another member of the organization who took part in the protest. “Not the genocidal Israeli government. And the people have made it clear: we want a ceasefire now and weapons embargo on Israel.”

The lobby was filled with protesters chanting “Let Gaza Live” while wearing black shirts that read “Not in our Name.” Protesters also unfurled banners that read “Never Again for Anyone.”

Jewish demonstrators and their allies engaged in a protest in the lobby at 30 Rockefeller Center on February 26, 2024, the same day President Joe Biden planned to be interviewed by NBC late night host Seth Myers.

The protest marks the second time Jewish Voice for Peace sought to directly confront Biden while he was visiting New York City; earlier this month, the organization blockaded his motorcade during a political fundraiser he was attending.

Later, after the protesters dispersed, Biden visited an ice cream shop near the Rockefeller lobby, where he told reporters that a ceasefire was possible within the coming days.

“My national security adviser tells me we’re close, we’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire,” Biden said, holding his ice cream cone.

Israeli officials were apparently caught off-guard by Biden’s comments, and said that they were unaware of any plans for a ceasefire agreement within that time frame.

Biden appeared less optimistic about the possibility of a ceasefire during his interview with Myers, which was shown on television late Monday evening. “There is a path forward, with difficulty,” he said.

Human rights advocates have repeatedly denounced Biden for his participation in Israel’s genocide. A ceasefire agreement “could have been reached a very long time ago if Biden actually wanted it,” The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill said on X, responding to Biden’s claims that such an agreement was coming soon. “But he made sure that would not happen and continued to funnel arms and political support to Israel’s scorched earth war against Gaza.”

Americans largely agree that the U.S. should call for a ceasefire. In a Data for Progress poll published in December, 61 percent of respondents said that the government should use its influence to demand a ceasefire. Only 28 percent said that the U.S. shouldn’t do so.

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