BOSTON (JTA) — Hundreds of Jewish protesters and other activists marched through this city, disrupting rush hour traffic, calling out private companies that are doing business with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The protest Thursday afternoon was organized by Never Again Action, a new Jewish group of young activists that is invoking the memory of the Holocaust to refer to ICE’s treatment of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border and other locations.
The activists marched from the New England Holocaust Memorial about 1 1/2 miles across a bridge to the Cambridge office of Amazon in the heart of the city’s high technology hub.
The group said it targeted Amazon because its technology is being used by ICE to detain and deport immigrants, according to the Boston Globe, which reported that 12 demonstrators were arrested on trespassing charges. Amazon did not comment.
Its call for the protest posted on Facebook Never Again Action cited examples from the Holocaust of companies like IBM that “actively aided the Nazis, and even profited off of Jewish internment and suffering,”
Among those arrested was Miles Meth, who wrote that he was moved to engage in civil disobedience because his grandparents were Holocaust survivors who were helped by non-Jewish Germans.
“At the time, they took a risk to help my Grandparents escape a country in which they would be hunted like animals,” Meth wrote in a Never Again Action Facebook post. “I’ve told myself that if there were ever something even remotely similar in my lifetime, I hope I’d do whatever it takes to stop the creeping evil.”
Marchers, dressed in white as a sign of mourning, chanted “Never again means abolish ICE,” the Globe reported. One sign read, “I was just following orders,” a reference associated with the Holocaust. One person blew a shofar.
This week’s action followed the group’s first rally, in July, that drew 1,000 people to downtown Boston, also halting traffic.
“I really feel like this is the future of the Jewish people,” Rabbi Susan Abramson told the Globe. She is the longtime rabbi at Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington, a suburban congregation active in interfaith programs.
Abramson, who leads monthly rallies at a local ICE detention center, told the Globe that she had come to learn from the young group about how to ‘up the ante’ at her own community’s protests.”