The recent campaigns taking aim at Birthright and the American political establishment are more than symbolic — they are sowing the seeds of a powerful resistance movement against Israel's occupation. By Oren Kroll-Zeldin Passover is a celebration of freedom, justice, and liberation. In Hebrew it is referred to as zman heruteynu, the season of our freedom. As I reflected during my Passover seder this year on what it means for Jews today to be free, I thought back to an oft-cited quotation from Jewish American poet and social activist Emma Lazarus that says: “Until we are all free, we are none…Read More... | 33 Comments
Eight Birthright participants who walked off of their trip earlier this week to learn about the occupation were on a tour with Breaking the Silence when settlers began harassing them, culminating with paint thrown on their guide's head. If the settlers of Hebron were trying to show a group of Birthright participants who had walked off their trip earlier this week that their views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are skewed, it's safe to say that they failed miserably. Halfway through a tour of occupied Hebron that the eight Birthright participants were taking with Israeli anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence on…Read More... | 10 Comments
The Jewish community’s traditional unconditional support for Israel's occupation is rapidly changing. Now is the time to present an alternative to those who justify a violent military regime. By Frima (Merphie) Bubis Two months after the U.S. Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem, the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, hosted AIPAC, America’s largest pro-Israel lobby at an official event in the national palace. There, he called on his government to follow in the footsteps of President Trump and move the its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. AIPAC's presence at the event was no coincidence: the “pro-Israel” lobby, primarily known…Read More...
A group of young American Jews are challenging the the institutionalized myths they were taught about the Jewish state in classrooms, youth group trips, and summer camps. By Emma Goldberg U.S. anti-occupation movement IfNotNow released its “Liberation Syllabus” last week. Crowd-sourced from teachers, students, journalists, and rabbis, the syllabus offers a collection of resources — from picture books to nonfiction, cookbooks to podcasts — that Jewish institutions can integrate into their curricula to offer more balanced and just lessons about the occupation. [tmwinpost] The syllabus is part of IfNotNow’s “You Never Told Me” campaign, in which alumni of Jewish summer camps,…Read More... | 22 Comments
From Boston to San Francisco, young activists from IfNotNow demonstrate outside the offices of prominent Jewish institutions and senators, demanding they condemn Israel's violence against Gaza protesters. Thirty-seven American Jews were arrested across the United States last week in a series of actions outside the offices of major Jewish institutions and elected officials to protest the ongoing violence against Palestinians at the Israel-Gaza border. [tmwinpost] The actions, organized by the Jewish-American group IfNotNow, took place in Boston, New York, Twin Cities, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and Washington DC, where young Jews demanded statements condemning Israeli violence against the unarmed protesters taking part in the "Great…Read More... | 12 Comments
For too long, the Right has claimed a monopoly on fighting antisemitism, especially when it relates to Israel. It's been a fraught year for the American Jewish Left. Anti-Semitism continues to be stoked by the president and his inner and outer circles; the institutional Jewish community is openly courting anti-Semites; and verbal and legislative assaults from the Israeli and American right on 'traitorous' Jewish anti-occupation and BDS advocates continue to rack up. Meanwhile, Congress recently hosted a debate about anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses, largely geared toward making criticism of Israel a part of Title VI's definition of anti-Semitism. [tmwinpost] Moreover, a number…Read More... | 3 Comments
Where was the Israeli Left when the army tore down a joint Palestinian-Jewish protest camp, or when the police broke the arm of a Jewish American activist in Jerusalem? By Amitai Ben-Abba Freedom Camp in Sarura, South Hebron Hills. On May 29, large army and Border Police forces raided the little that was left in Sarura after the previous raid the week before. They confiscated mattresses, a generator cable, a car belonging to Fadel Aamer (one of the landowners), two tents, food, and water bottles. They also detained three Palestinian activists, one of them Aamer's son, confiscated their phones and destroyed their…Read More... | 5 Comments
New York's annual, lavishly-funded Celebrate Israel parade was interrupted by scores of American Jewish activists, several of whom were arrested in the process. Seven Jewish protesters were arrested in New York on Sunday afternoon as over 100 activists disrupted the annual Celebrate Israel parade. The event, which sees thousands of participants march down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue accompanied by elected officials such as Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, has received nearly $800,000 in funding from the Israeli government over the last seven years. [tmwinpost] The counter-demonstrations were held by Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, who blocked the progress of…Read More... | 7 Comments
Sarah Brammer-Shlay, whose arm was broken by Israeli police as they forcibly removed her from a Jerusalem Day protest, will be undergoing a $25,000 operation on Thursday. An American-Jewish activist whose arm was broken by Israeli police as they forcefully dispersed a Jerusalem Day protest last week will need to undergo surgery. [tmwinpost] Sarah Brammer-Shlay, 25, was part of a group of American and Israeli Jews who staged a demonstration at Damascus Gate last Wednesday. The protesters, who sat in a row along the entrance to the Old City in order to try and have the annual March of the…Read More... | 23 Comments
Israeli police forcefully dispersed American Jewish anti-occupation activists, who had gathered in the Old City to protest Jerusalem Day and the March of the Flags. Israeli police broke the arm of an American Jewish activist and injured several other anti-occupation demonstrators while forcefully dispersing a Jerusalem Day protest in the Old City on Wednesday. [tmwinpost] The demonstration, held at Damascus Gate by American and Israeli Jewish activists with IfNotNow, Free Jerusalem and All That's Left, took place during the March of the Flags, an annual right-wing parade that habitually results in violence against Palestinians from both its participants and the Israeli police units…Read More... | 24 Comments
Soldiers dismantle a protest camp built by Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jews in the south Hebron Hills — less than 48 hours after it was built. Video by Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org Dozens of Israeli soldiers dismantled on Saturday night a protest camp in the West Bank village of Sarura, which was established by Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jewish activists a day earlier. At the time of the dismantling, around 80 people were there, roughly 60 American Jews and 20 Palestinians. [tmwinpost] The camp, called "Sumud: Freedom Camp," was built in the south Hebron Hills on the former site of Sarura, whose residents were expelled…Read More... | 42 Comments
Hundreds of activists, organized by a coalition of Palestinian, Israeli and American Jewish groups, built an encampment in Surara, from where Palestinians had been expelled in the 1990s. By +972 Magazine staff Around 300 Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jewish activists staged a direct action in the village of Sarura in the south Hebron hills of the West Bank on Friday, building a protest camp on land from which Palestinians were evicted in the 1990s. The event was also intended to mark 50 years of occupation. The event was organized by a coalition of groups, including the Center for Jewish Nonviolence,…Read More...
In a recent article comparing Jewish anti-occupation activists IfNotNow with Black Lives Matter, the prominent Jewish American columnist creates divisions precisely where alliances are needed. By Tom Pessah The word privilege gets thrown around a lot in activist circles. People tend to interpret its use as an accusation, which it sometimes is. But reflection about privilege can also be a crucial tool for building social justice movements across different groups that enjoy unequal resources. [tmwinpost] Those of us carrying privilege around need not apologize for it, — you can’t blame yourself your social location. However, by taking responsibility for it…Read More... | 12 Comments
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