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Rabbi Interrupts Biden Speech to Demand He Forcefully Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

Outside of the speech, dozens of protesters held a sit-in demanding that Biden call for an Israeli ceasefire.

President Joe Biden listens as Vice President Kamala Harris introduces him during an event about his administration's approach to artificial intelligence in the East Room of the White House on October 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

President Joe Biden’s speech to political donors on Wednesday night was interrupted by a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a Jewish-led anti-Zionist organization that has been calling for an end to Israel’s genocidal war on Palestinians in Gaza.

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, a member of JVP, stood up during Biden’s remarks at a donors-only event in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rosenberg called on the president to demand that the Israeli government stop its relentless indiscriminate bombing campaign against Palestinians in Gaza.

“Mr. President, if you care about Jewish people then, as a Rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire now in Gaza,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg’s comments were met by jeers and hisses from people in the audience, and she was removed from the event over her interruption.

IfNotNow,a Jewish-led group that has joined with JVP in recent protest actions against Israel’s genocidal siege of Gaza, echoed Rosenberg’s call for an immediate ceasefire on social media.

“Tonight, as Biden raises money in Minnesota, Palestinians in Gaza are being massacred,” IfNotNow wrote on Wednesday. “No food, no water. Hospitals without electricity. And almost 4,000 children murdered. @JoeBiden, you have the power to stop this. We are BEGGGING you, call for a #CeasefireNOW.”

Following Rosenberg’s removal from the room, Biden responded to her call for action.

“I think we need a pause. A pause means time to get the prisoners out,” Biden said, referring to Israeli hostages being held by Hamas.

The White House has previously stated Biden’s support for a “humanitarian pause” to allow delivery of aid into Gaza, as Israel’s current siege has blocked desperately needed food, water, electricity and medicine from reaching Palestinians. Since October 7, Israeli forces have killed more than 9,000 Palestinians in Gaza, more than 3,600 of whom are children.

Outside of the area where Biden’s speech took place, 50 Minnesotan Jews and allies gathered for around three hours in a sit-in against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. Those in attendance “prayed, mourned and called for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, the release of all hostages and political prisoners, and an end to 75 years of occupation and apartheid,” according to a press release from JVP. They also condemned Biden’s recent call for billions in additional funding for Israel.

In 2022, the United States gave around $3.3 billion to Israel, 99.7 percent of which went toward funding the IDF. Since Israel’s inception, the U.S. has given the country an average of $3.1 billion a year, according to data from USAFacts.org — more than the U.S. has funded any other country since World War II.

Recent polling shows that most Americans support calls for a ceasefire. A Data for Progress survey published in mid-October found that 66 percent of Americans agree with the statement that “the U.S. should leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths.”

That opinion transcends partisan lines, with support from 80 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans, the poll found.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in downtown Minneapolis during the president’s speech on Wednesday, calling for a ceasefire and an end to the violent Israeli occupation.

“We stand on the side of saving life. We stand on the side of peace,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told a local ABC News affiliate about the protest. “We stand on the side of recognizing the humanity of Palestinian children. We are not only disappointed, we are outraged.”

Also on Wednesday night, members of the Chicago chapter of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), along with other pro-peace activists, held a sit-in at the Chicago-based offices of Democratic Congressman Sean Casten, calling on him to sign on to a ceasefire resolution in the House of Representatives. The sit-in lasted for about five hours, during which demonstrators “completely [shut] down business” in the office, they said on Facebook.

“Casten is an apologist for Israel who pays lip service to caring about Palestinian lives,” said Nadiah Alyafai of USPCN-Chicago, according to a press release. “He represents so many of our community members in the 6th District, so if he doesn’t say clearly, RIGHT NOW, TODAY, that Israel must stop its bombing and ground campaigns, he’s being disingenuous.”

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