Updated Oct 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

49 arrested at White House protest calling for Israel-Hamas cease-fire

US Secret Service arrest more than 30 demonstrators as a group of Jewish activists stage a demonstration near the White House, calling for the cease fire between Israel and Palestinians, in Washington DC, United States on October 16, 2023.

U.S. Secret Service officers arrest protesters as a group of Jewish activists calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas stage a demonstration near the White House on Monday. Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images

Dozens of Jewish demonstrators calling for President Biden to press for an Israel-Hamas war cease-fire were arrested outside the White House on Monday.

Driving the news: USSS officers arrested 49 protesters at the demonstration for allegedly crossing safety barriers or blocking entrances during the demonstration at the White House complex, per a statement from Special Agent Steve Kopek, an agency spokesperson, on Monday night.

A screenshot of a retweet by Jewish group If Not Now of a tweet by Axios' Barak Ravid, saying "BREAKING: Blinken says President Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday" with the comment: "After a day of unprecedented American Jewish protest against war in Gaza *in front of his house*, President Biden better be going to do everything in his power to push for a ceasefire.   This moment demands nothing less."
Photo: IfNotNow/Axios' Barak Ravid via X
  • Officers arrested 33 people on suspicion of unlawful entry and another 16 for allegedly incommoding, he said.

The big picture: The protest comes as Biden prepares to visit Tel Aviv on Wednesday in a show of support for Israel as its forces ready for a ground offensive in Gaza.

  • The anti-war Jewish groups plan more protests this week against the war.

What they're saying: IfNotNow, which organized the protest with Jewish Voice for Peace, said in a statement during the protest: "American Jews and allies have now blocked 4+ doors to the White House. We're prepared to put our bodies in the way of more slaughter — we're ready to stay here until Biden forces a ceasefire."

  • Jewish Voice for Peace shared a video online of author and social activist Naomi Klein calling for others to join her at the groups' D.C. rally on Wednesday, with the comment: "Naomi and all of us are all in to do everything we can to prevent genocide in Gaza."

Go deeper: In claiming neutrality, China picks a side in Israel-Hamas war

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Jewish Voice for Peace and further context.

Go deeper