Dozens of Jewish protesters and their allies were arrested on Wednesday morning after they blocked rush hour traffic on a busy Los Angeles highway to demand a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Palestinians in Gaza.
The disruptive protest action, planned by IfNotNow, a movement of American Jews who organize against U.S. support for Israel’s apartheid system, sought to push U.S. lawmakers to demand an end to the Israel Defense Force (IDF)’s genocidal siege of Gaza.
“Millions face death by bomb, bullet, starvation & disease in Gaza. No more business as usual,” the organization said in a social media post.
The demonstration blocked southbound lanes of Interstate Highway 110 around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, backing up traffic for several miles during a busy time for commuters.
Many of the Jewish protesters wore black shirts with white lettering that read “Not In Our Name” and held up signs demanding a permanent ceasefire.
The message is urgent, a matter of life and death: Biden and Congress MUST support a ceasefire, and stop funding war crimes against Gaza.
A report from Reuters indicated that around 75 demonstrators were arrested by California Highway Patrol (CHP) about an hour after the protest began. The highway was cleared of any protesters by 10:30 a.m., but traffic problems persisted as some vehicles had stalled out during the demonstration.
Since October 7, the IDF has waged a relentless bombing campaign and ground invasion in Gaza that has killed nearly 19,000 Palestinians so far — amounting to roughly 250 to 300 Palestinians per day, nearly a third of whom are children.
Further demonstrating that the attacks are likely in violation of international law, a new U.S. intelligence assessment has revealed that nearly half of the IDF’s airstrikes have been orchestrated using so-called “dumb bombs” — bombs that don’t have a definitive target but are simply dropped into a region without regard for who is killed.
“It is a massive civilian harm problem if they do not have that accuracy, and if you can’t even give a benefit of the doubt that that the weapon is actually landing where the Israeli forces intended to,” said Brian Castner, a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer who now serves as a senior crisis adviser on arms and military operations with Amnesty International.