U.N. protesters arrested for blocking traffic


NEW YORK (JTA) — A small group of rabbis and protesters was arrested for blocking traffic in front of the United Nations.

Some 20 protesters, flanked by almost as many journalists, walked into the center of First Avenue between 40th and 41st streets and blocked traffic for nine minutes.

After being warned by waiting New York Police that they would be arrested for disorderly contact, most returned to the sidewalk. A smaller group of five or six, including Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, remained and was arrested for disorderly contact.

Police said they were taken to a local precinct for processing. According to an e-mail from one of the protesters, they were processed within an hour and released. They were ordered to appear in court Dec. 5.

The protest had been delayed because First Avenue had already been blocked by the police due to the arrival of President Obama’s motorcade.

The demonstrators, while all condemning the United Nations, held an array of views on the Middle East ranging from wanting a Palestinian state to denying the existence of a Palestinian people.

"If you believe in a Palestinian state, you think [the U.N.] is the wrong way," Rabbi Jason Herman told JTA. "If you don’t believe in a Palestinian state, you think the U.N. is in the wrong."

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