On Tuesday, activists with Jewish-led IfNotNow organized a sit-in protest at the entrance of Congressman Adam Schiff’s office in Burbank. After hours of attempting to contact Schiff, four protesters refused to leave, were arrested, and charged with trespassing. 

IfNotNow describes itself as an organization of American Jews working to end US support for Israel’s apartheid system. Activists say their intention was to arrange for a meeting with Schiff to ask for him to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, reject money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and advocate for an end to unconditional military aid to Israel. 

“I’m a constituent of Adam Schiff – I live in Glendale – and essentially I just want him to represent what I believe, which is that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is killing tens of thousands of people and the US taxpayer shouldn’t have to be paying for those weapons that are killing people in Gaza,” Seth Reid, a volunteer with IfNotNow LA and one of the protesters who was arrested. 

It is estimated that more than 31,000 people – more than 13,000 of whom are children –have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. 

Representatives from Schiff’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Schiff recently secured the top spot in the primary for the open California US Senate seat and will face Republican Steve Garvey in the November election. 

Schiff has said that he supports Israel’s “right to defend itself from terrorists” and that he would not have supported a resolution from Senator Bernie Sanders to conduct a State Department study on whether Israel has committed war crimes. He also said during his campaign that he would not support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza “as long as a terrorist organization is governing Gaza.” Schiff is also endorsed in his primary race by Israel lobby AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Activists with IfNotNow also protested Schiff’s primary victory rally to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

Some protesters, including Reid, also took part in a 3-day fast in what they say is in solidarity with people starving in Gaza. “This is a very small thing to give up eating for 3 days, but it feels like I’m giving a little bit of solidarity and care back to those people who are suffering because of my government’s imperialism,” says Reid. 

Protesters held up a fake cheque from AIPAC with money allotted towards “genocide,” regularly chanted “ceasefire now,” and “Let Gaza live,” and read poetry by Palestinian writers. At one point, one activist left a voicemail with Schiff’s office reading out names and ages of children who had reportedly been killed in Gaza.

Towards 5 PM, Schiff staffers opened the door to their office to respond to a person not part of the protest and one protester wedged their foot in the door to keep it from closing. They then asked the Schiff staffers if they could get Schiff on the phone to respond to them and the Schiff staffers declined to do so. Then one staffer said they called the Burbank Police Department. 

After the Burbank Police Department arrived at the door, one officer attempted to negotiate with protesters, saying that the building manager would charge them with trespassing if they did not leave. Protesters continued to demand an audience with Schiff, and the officer said he made an attempt but was unable to have Schiff respond to the protesters. 

Shortly after 6 PM, the officer said that all present – including journalists – must leave the building or they would be arrested. Four activists remained and were taken to a police van. They have since been released from detention and were charged with trespassing.