American Jews Fighting To End Establishment Support for Israel

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By Michaela Whitton at theantimedia.org

 

A series of protests across the United States has resulted in the arrests of over twenty Jewish anti-occupation activists. Last week’s demonstrations in Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, New York City, andBerkeley coincided with the Jewish festival of Passover and saw hundreds of young Jews demonstrating outside major institutions. Across the country, they demanded an end to the American-Jewish establishment’s support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Following a similar format in each region, a series of “Liberation Seders” was part of a national week of actions that expressed increasing frustration with Israel’s brutal human rights violations. The Passover Seder feast is an important ritual in the Jewish calendar that celebrates the liberation of the ancient Hebrews in Egypt.

Ironically, during a festival celebrating freedom from slavery, the acts of civil disobedience demanding liberation for all saw 23 of the protesters handcuffed for their troubles. Seventeen activists were arrested at the New York office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) after preparing a Seder feast on the floor and singing Hebrew songs of resistance. Another six were arrested after chaining themselves to a symbolic Seder table at AIPAC’s Boston office.

The protests were organised by IfNotNow, an emerging movement of young American Jews demanding freedom and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians. Founded by Simone Zimmerman — recently suspended by the Sanders campaign two days after being hired as a Jewish outreach coordinator — the movement is awakening the consciences of American Jews and mobilizing them to fight systemic, unquestioning support for Israel.

Birthed during Operation Protective Edge — Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014 that claimed over 2000 Palestinian lives — IfNotNow began when young American Jews united in horror at the offensive. Organising sit-ins and protests in a dozen cities across the U.S., their demands at the time included a halt to the war in Gaza, an end to the occupation, and freedom and dignity for all.

Since then, the vibrant and diverse community has grown rapidly and is open to anyone who seeks an end to American-Jewish support for the occupation. With no unified stance on Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS), Zionism — or the question of  statehood — the relatively diverse members claim they prefer to focus on issues that unite them.

The IfNotNow website states:

We will be the generation that ends our community’s support for the occupation. Today the Jewish community is faced with a choice. Will we leave our tradition in the hands of out-of-touch leaders or will we fight for a vibrant, liberated Jewish community that supports freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians?”

Also pushing for a long overdue shift in public opinion, the movement encourages the examination of frequently touted narratives on Palestine — where one group’s theology has become another group’s bondage. A refrain used by activists and often seen at demonstrations is “Dayenu,” meaning “that’s enough.”

The group’s logo is inspired by the burning bush, which they claim symbolizes their generation’s call to leadership in the Jewish community. According to the volunteers, just as Moses was commanded to return to Egypt to fight for the liberation of his people, so they are called to take responsibility for the future of their community.

“We know the liberation of our Jewish community is bound up in the liberation of all people, particularly those in Israel and Palestine,” the emerging movement writes.

As a response to the demonstration, the activists were invited to a meeting with the ADL to discuss “shared goals.” In a press statement responding to the invitation, the activists were frank. With a polite ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ they said they can no longer stomach endless negotiations with the establishment about what they are allowed to say about Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.

They added:

“We appreciate the ADL’s offer for a meeting and recognition that we are, in fact, part of the Jewish community. However, we are looking for meaningful action and real moral leadership from our communal institutions – not just opportunities for dialogue or empty rhetoric. We are committed to building a Jewish community that acts in accordance with the fundamental values of freedom and equality we were taught to admire.”

In addition, the Jewish activists were adamant they will continue taking action until Jewish establishment leaders admit Israel’s occupation of Palestine is a moral crisis for the Jewish community — and takes steps to address it.


This article (American Jews Fighting To End Establishment Support for Israel) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton andtheAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email[email protected].

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Zionism is what has wrecked it for the Jews in Israel. Sounds like the majority of Israelis want an end to the violence against Palestinians, and permanently. US should end all military aid to Israel immediately, and monitor compliance of a peace treaty. Rothschild Zionists want to control it all. They must be stopped. Listen to your conscience & say NO to the NWO.

    • @Martin
      Get out much? Arab animals would decimate the Jews in a matter of weeks if the U.S. cut aid to Israel. The entire world knows this. Israel has engaged in shameful behavior towards the Arabs, and the Arabs? Why, they’ve been nothing but model world citizens, right?? Hardly. The American Left has tried to keep the blinders on what people see and experience as a basic reality. Sharia, theocracy. These are taboo words for the left when talking about Israel.

      • “Arab animals”

        That tells the world everything they need to know about Zionist racists and their genocide of the Palestinian people.

        Kudos to the decent Jewish people who are doing the right thing and condemning Israel for its terrorist activities.

        Anyone who supports Zionism, the illegal occupation of Palestine or is anti-BDS should be shunned and isolated from the rest of the world… And maybe thrown in Gitmo and forgotten about.

        Zionists are the Nazi’s of the 21st century. Those who support Zionism are guilty of supporting terrorists.

        Choose your side wisely.

    • What on earth is a Rothschild Zionist? The Rothschilds follow the American Joo Lite Kosher Style dream of assimilation. However, I as an Israeli, would dearly like to see the cessation of American aid to us. These financial credits, put in place as a means of subsidizing your somewhat outdated weapons industry, also ties us to purchasing only your products in addition to our providing all of the very necessary technical improvements. Your country (administration) has never been a friend of Israel, as neither have its Jewish element, but merely a product supplier.

  2. It seems to me that these naive narcissists’ symbol should be the Golden Calf, not the burning bush. The Palestinian leadership has stated again and again that they do not want peace or a Jewish homeland of any type in the region. They are truly lacking moral courage if they are willing to betray their own people to gain the love of the anti-Semites.

    • “Palestinian leadership has stated again and again that they do not want peace”

      More Zionist lies and treachery.

      In “By Way of Deception” – an expose by former Mossad agent Victor Orstrovsky – the author admits that former Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat was completely dedicated to the peace process and wanted to avoid war with Israel at all costs.

      The Mossad (Zionist terrorists/Israeli “intelligence”) did not want peace and created fake evidence to present to the Israeli PM of Arafat’s “plot” to attack Israel.

      This fabricated evidence was then used to justify a pre-emptive strike on Palestine.

      There is no limit that Zionists will use to try to convince the world that their terrorism is justifiable.

  3. Where is his poster that Jews are purple? I mean if he will carry around lies, he may as well carry around a g’zillion posters. People like him know nothing of the San Remo Convention, are not familiar with the Torah.. Jews are Israel and Israel are Jews. Israel the core value of being Jewish and Israel is the land of the Jews. It is not the indigenous land of the Arabs. Period.

  4. Where is his poster that Jews are purple? I mean if he will carry around lies, he may as well carry around a g’zillion posters. People like him know nothing of the San Remo Convention, are not familiar with the Torah.. Jews are Israel and Israel are Jews. Israel the core value of being Jewish and Israel is the land of the Jews. It is not the indigenous land of the Arabs. Period.

  5. PLEASE realize that not all American Jewry hate themselves !! Every religion has nutjobs, these are ours. The only aparthied in the Middle East is practiced by every Arab country. Just try to find Jews there, you won’t, they were stripped of their land, their bank accounts and homes and told to leave long ago. Israel? You’ll find happy Arabs there, just don’t look to Jerusalem cause you’ll find Palestinians blaming Israel for Palestines’ woes instead of blaming the gov’t of Palestine!

  6. Jews who take such stances are ignorant of the history of this conflict. It began long before the birth of the modern state of Israel……..the Arabs there (long before they started calling themselves Palestinians) slaughtered Jews regularly. In 1929, 67 Jews were slaughtered with machetes and knives in Hebron, simply for being Jews. Their community in Hebron went back more than 800 years. So, you see, the “occupation” is a cheap excuse for murdering more Jews. Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs living in any Arab state, and many of them realize this and say they prefer to live in Israel. In any case, there is no “occupation”. Occupation occurs when a foreign army takes over a sovereign nation, and there was no sovereign nation in Palestine when Israel was born. The land is DISPUTED, and this is dispute is but one of more than 100 going on worldwide at this time. Yet for somereason, Israel is the only nation receiving such flak. I wonder why Israel has been singled out, hmmmmmmmm……

  7. “Occupation” occurs when a foreign army takes over a sovereign nation, and there was no nation in Palestine when Israel was born in 1948. The land is DISPUTED, and this dispute is but one of more than 100 happening worldwide at this time. Jews taking such a stance are clearly ignorant of the history of this violence…….it began with Arabs slaughtering Jews long before the modern state of Israel was born. In 1929 for instance, 67 Jews were murdered with farm implements in Hebron. This was before the area was illegally annexed by Jordan and re-named “the west bank” in 1948, it was still known as JUDEA and Samaria. Three of the victims were under the age of five. The Palestinians (which the Arabs there have been calling themselves only since 1964) could have peace overnight if they stopped the rocket attacks, stabbings and suicide bombings. Israel has offerred to make peace and recognize a Palestinian state several times, and the Palestinian authorities have refused every time, even when a freeze on settlement building and east Jerusalem as their capitol were offered.

    I am a big fan of ANONYMOUS, this is the one stance I feel you have wrong.

  8. It’s a great pity pity that stances of this kind, which have the effect of stemming the almost inevitable rise in Antisemitism being generated by Israel’s brutal dispossession of Palestinians; are nullified to a great degree by the mouthings of the truly racist Anti-Arab

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