Princeton graduate Bill Plevan was one of the rabbis arrested while protesting Trump’s EOs

He sat outside Trump Hotel, blocked traffic, and was arrested and detained

Princeton Religion PhD graduate Bill Plevan was one of the 19 rabbis who marched from Central Park to the car lanes outside Trump Hotel in Manhattan, sat down, and blocked traffic for a few minutes before getting arrested and detained in a precinct a few days ago as a part of a protest against Trump’s immigration ban.

The 11 men and 8 women who were arrested and detained until 1AM the morning after have been summoned for a court hearing on accounts of disorderly conduct, Plevan said in an interview with the Tab. All 19 will show up to court, Plevan said.

According to Plevan, the demonstration, which ended in a mass arrest, was a highly coordinated effort with NYPD. He said that he was asked a few days before by T’ruah, the group behind the effort, whether he would risk arrest. He agreed.

“There’s no question that being arrested draws more attention to the issue. By getting arrested, we are making a statement that we are prepared to take significant action of civil disobedience to fight any polices that we deem unjust, especially ones that are racist and bigoted,” Plevan said.

According to Plevan, as soon as the group of rabbis sat down on Columbus circle, NYPD begin blasting recordings of warnings. When they didn’t leave after a few minutes, the officers came by and put plastic handcuffs on everyone. They were then put on a police bus and taken to the 33rd precinct.

“We wanted to show our strong moral and religious objection to Trump’s policies,” Plevan said.

The rest of the 200 people who were protesting during the same time remained in the demarcated area and were not arrested. Plevan acknowledged that one must be strategic in planning acts of civil disobedience.

“In our case we were building bridges, but civil disobedience can have the effect of hurting bridges,” he said.

Plevan told the Tab that his family consists of immigrants who came to America at the turn of the 20th century was when it was very welcoming. Yet, the same case does not describe the many families in his community.

“As a Jewish community, we all know families who had difficulties escaping Nazi Europe. As American Jews, we are raised with a communal memory of countries, not just the US, closing doors to refugees who desperately needed refuge,” he said.

We, the Jewish community takes this issue very seriously, he added.

This event marks the largest group of rabbis to be arrested at a single time in US history.

Princeton University Tab Princeton