Israel and apartheid | Opinion

May 4, 2021

SPECIAL TO THE South Florida SUN SENTINEL  MAY 04, 2021 

By DONNA NEVEL

Palestinian laborers some wearing protective face masks amid concerns over the country's coronavirus outbreak, cross illegally into Israel from the West Bank through an opening in a fence, south of the West Bank town of Hebron on Sept. 6, 2020. One of the world's best-known human rights groups says Israel is guilty of the international crimes of apartheid and persecution. Human Rights Watch cites discriminatory policies toward Palestinians within Israel's own borders and in the occupied territories. In so doing, the New York-based group joins a growing number of commentators and rights groups that consider Israel and the territories as a single entity in which Palestinians are denied basic rights that are granted to Jews.

Palestinian laborers some wearing protective face masks amid concerns over the country’s coronavirus outbreak, cross illegally into Israel from the West Bank through an opening in a fence, south of the West Bank town of Hebron on Sept. 6, 2020. One of the world’s best-known human rights groups says Israel is guilty of the international crimes of apartheid and persecution. Human Rights Watch cites discriminatory policies toward Palestinians within Israel’s own borders and in the occupied territories. In so doing, the New York-based group joins a growing number of commentators and rights groups that consider Israel and the territories as a single entity in which Palestinians are denied basic rights that are granted to Jews. (Oded Balilty/AP)

While he wears his great friendship with Israel as a badge of honor, it would do the governor well to read a historic report just released by the prominent global human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch, which documents in great detail and over a period of many years the ways that Israel is committing “crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against Palestinians.Advertisement

Gov. DeSantis has long championed the state of Israel and has called himself Israel’s greatest friend. In fact, while campaigning for governor, DeSantis proclaimed, “As soon as I take the oath of office, that very day, we’ll have the most pro-Israel governor in the country.”

This comes on the heels of another position paper the governor should have read, issued last January by Israel’s premier human rights organization, B’Tselem, which came to similar conclusions. While the charge of apartheid continues to be denied by Israel’s defenders, the evidence could not be any clearer, as laid out in this 213-page report and the numerous well-documented accounts of Israeli apartheid that preceded it.

Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is a Jewish social justice activist living in South Florida.
Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is a Jewish social justice activist living in South Florida.

The Human Rights Watch report details how Israel, in order to achieve its goal of domination over the Palestinians living there, practices institutional discrimination. As stated in the report, “On the basis of its research, Human Rights Watch concludes that the Israeli government has demonstrated an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territory). In the OPT, including East Jerusalem, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression of Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid.”

The report goes on to point out that government policy has, for decades, been guided by the clear objective “of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power and land.” And, as the report also documents, “In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

One often hears Israel claiming that it carries out certain practices for security reasons, yet the Human Rights Watch report makes clear that the Israeli government often uses security as a justification to advance its demographic objectives, and so its claims of security needs have served as a pretext for its acts of aggression and violence against Palestinians.

It is no secret that Israel has sought since its inception and in whatever ways it had at its disposal to maintain its control over the land, and that it has long-denied Palestinians their civil, human and national rights. Palestinian human rights groups, scholars, writers, activists and researchers have long described and applied the apartheid framework to Israel. Israel’s laws have always been discriminatory toward Palestinians, and the government has engaged in massive land theft and displacement of Palestinians from their homes. According to Adalah, a legal justice center protecting the human rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the OPT, which has welcomed the HRW report, “Israel has long promoted Jewish supremacy and racial segregation between Jews and Palestinians in all the territories under its control.”

The HRW Report echoes what Palestinians have been saying in great detail for decades. It is also worth noting that over the years, no fewer than four Israeli prime ministers, from David Ben Gurion in 1967 to Ehud Olmert in 2007, have warned that Israel would be an apartheid state if it continued to rule over Palestinians. It is impossible to read the HRW and other reports and testimonies and not recognize the reality of Israeli apartheid. Florida doesn’t need a governor who is an apologist or cheerleader for Israel’s discriminatory system, but, rather, one who stands firmly for liberty, human rights and justice.

Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is a Jewish social justice activist living in South Florida.

Challenging Antisemitism: Why Criticism of Israel Shouldn’t be Singled Out & Our Interconnected Struggles for Justice

April 4, 2021

Posted in Tikkun magazine

By Donna Nevel | March 31, 2021

I remember attending a pro-Israel hasbara (propaganda) workshop over forty-five years ago that strongly encouraged, as a response to critics of Israel, accusations of antisemitism. Don’t focus on the argument, we were told, but, rather, discredit the person making the argument by accusing them of antisemitism. Accusations of antisemitism directed at Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights are not new and have been a strategy of Israeli government and pro-Israel hasbara for decades. 

One of the most visible iterations of this phenomenon currently is the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. Promoted by Israel’s right-wing government and its supporters, and adopted by the U.S. and other western governments, the IHRA definition goes full speed in conflating criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian justice with antisemitism. Just this past week, while Israelis elected overt fascists to the Knesset (Parliament), with the help of the Prime Minister, Israel and its defenders continued to hold up the IHRA definition to smear Palestinians as anti-Semitic for describing Israel as racist.

Recent statements such as the Nexus Document and the just released Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) offer a push-back to the IHRA definition, challenging its authority and strong-hold on (at least some of) what it calls antisemitic, particularly in relation to Israel. The JDA, in particular, refutes many of the most pernicious examples of supposed antisemitism within the IHRA definition that Israel and its advocates employ to target Israel’s critics. Yet, even in these new documents, criticism of some of Israel’s policies and practices continues to be singled out as examples of antisemitism.

We must not reinforce the notion that there is anything about criticism of Israel that requires “special” attention. There is not. This false framing most of all impacts Palestinians and their call for justice. When criticism is made of Israel, the relevant question is whether the statement is true or not. Israel’s history is rooted in the expulsion and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian population from its land and homes. That process of land theft and violations of Palestinians’ most basic civil and human rights have continued until this day. To understand that reality is to appreciate why Israel–a nation-state–deserves criticism and why accusations of antisemitism are an attempt to discredit those who make visible that history and demand justice. To feed into the frankly anti-Palestinian notion that criticism of Israel warrants particular skepticism is exactly what the IHRA proponents want us to do. 

We don’t need more definitions (of antisemitism) to protect Jews or to fight antisemitism, especially ones that continue to include Israel as a particular focus. Instead, we should continue to put front and center the calls from community after community that are doing the work to challenge injustice: Our work against anti-Black racism, white supremacy,  Islamophobia, anti-Asian racism, antisemitism, transphobia, and all forms of injustice are deeply connected to one another. That is easy to say, but we must practice this in our lives, which means, at the very least, not minimizing other struggles for justice, and, at our best, thinking tangibly about how connecting our struggles can be a lived reality. 

The upsurge of antisemitism comes, for the most part, from the upsurge in white nationalist violencethat impacts so many of our communities. Any special consideration of antisemitism can too easily serve to minimize and de-center, for example, the pervasive anti-Asian, anti-Black and anti-Muslim violence and discrimination in all spheres of society. That there is disproportionate attention paid to antisemitism does not correspond to the realities of the ongoing violence, both interpersonal and state-sanctioned, that different communities are experiencing. One shouldn’t have to be afraid to make such a statement; it does not disparage the fight against antisemitism even slightly. In fact, locating the challenge against antisemitism as an integral part of other struggles for justice, rather than exceptionalizing it, can only strengthen all our movements against racism and white supremacy.

From political protest to community education and all in between, our collective commitment to justice is about building a society dedicated to everyone’s dignity and well-being. That is what will ensure safety for all of us.

Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is a long-time organizer for justice. She is a co-director of PARCEO, a community resource, education and research center rooted in principles of Participatory Action Research (PAR).

Open Letter to Mayors from Jewish groups Across the Globe

March 6, 2021


Jews Say No! is pleased to be part of this open letter to Mayors from Jewish groups across the globe expressing concerns about the political agenda underlying the upcoming mayors summit against antisemitism.

Open Letter to Mayors ConcerningUpcoming Summit Against Antisemitism

Dear Mayor:

You may already have received an invitation addressed to mayors from all over the world to a digital summit against antisemitism organized by the Frankfurt, Germany, municipality and scheduled for March 16.

As Jewish individuals and organizations across the world committed to challenging all forms of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia, we would like to inform you about the real purpose of this invitation.

One of the panels will address the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which includes several examples that equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. This definition is being used worldwide as a tool to assert that criticism of Israel is inherently antisemitic, and to shut down local initiatives by many communities that are resolutely opposed to Israel’s human rights violations. As with any other country, Israel’s actions can and must be criticized. The IHRA definition’s advocates say that Israel is being unfairly singled out. However, it is this definition that singles out Israel by claiming that criticizing its violations of international law and human rights, especially Palestinian rights, is antisemitic rather than a requirement of global leadership. The IHRA definition is opposed in many countries, including by many Jewish associations and individuals. 

This meeting, therefore, is not genuinely made with the intention of combating antisemitism. It is no accident that one of the partners to this event is the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You will be asked to support this IHRA definition. Instead, we appeal to your political and moral integrity to reject it and encourage you to join the collective struggle against racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.

We urge you to make your positions of principle known. Should you wish to discuss the matter with us, we will be happy to provide you with any additional information you may require.  

Sincerely yours,

International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine, consisting of groups and individuals in 14 countries across the globe

Jews Against the Occupation, Sydney, Australia

Een Andere Joodse Stem (Another Jewish Voice), Belgium

Independent Jewish Voices, Canada

Union of French Jews for Peace (UJFP)

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, Germany

Boycott from Within, Israel 

Alternative Jewish Voices of New Zealand

South African Jews for a Free Palestine

Jewish Network for Palestine, UK

Free Speech on Israel, UK

Jews Say No!, US

Jewish Voice for Peace, US

JVP BIJOCSM Network, US

Atlanta and Chicago chapters, Jewish Voice for Peace, US

SEDQ: A Global Jewish Network for Justice

Jews across the globe applaud statement by Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals

December 12, 2020

Jews across the globe applaud statement by Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals

PROTEST BANNER IN LONDON, 2018. (PHOTO: JEWISH VOICE FOR LABOUR (UK) VIA THE PALESTINE POSTER PROJECT ARCHIVES)

We, Jewish groups and individuals from across the globe, applaud the recent powerful statement and set of principles signed by 122 Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals regarding the definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the way this definition has been applied, interpreted and deployed.

As the letter states so compellingly: ” The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimise the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights and the continued occupation of their land.”
It avers: “Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretense, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world. We also believe that the lessons of the Holocaust as well as those of other genocides of modern times must be part of the education of new generations against all forms of racial prejudice and hatred.”

And it also makes clear: “The fight against antisemitism must be deployed within the frame of international law and human rights. It should be part and parcel of the fight against all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, and anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism. The aim of this struggle is to guarantee freedom and emancipation for all oppressed groups. It is deeply distorted when geared towards the defence of an oppressive and predatory state.”

See the full statement from Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals here.

Signatories:

Anya Topolski Een Andere Joodse Stem, Another Jewish Voice, Belgium

Hilla Dayan Academia for Equality, The Netherlands

Wieland Hoban Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost Germany

Dror Feiler European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP) Sweden

Dr. Itamar Shachar Belgium / Israel

Ofer Neiman, Boycott from Within Israel

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No! USA

Alan Rückert Z. Chile

Sheryl Nestel, Independent Jewish Voices Canada Canada

David Comedi, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Argentina Argentina

Marilyn Garson, Sh’ma Koleinu – Alternative Jewish Voices New Zealand

Vivienne Porzsolt, Jews against the Occupation Australia

Rina King, South African Jews for a Free Palestine SAJFP South Africa

Ronnie Kasrils South Africa

Liliana Cordova-Kaczerginski, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Spain

Alejandro Ruetter, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Spain

Guy Bollag Switzerland

Richard Wagman, UJFP (French Jewish Peace Union) France

Eyal France

Corey Balsam, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Rowan Gaudet, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Itay Sapir, Université du Québec à Montréal Canada

sue goldstein, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Canada

Haim Bresheeth, Jewish Network for Palestine UK

David Cannon, Jewish Network for Palestine UK

Mike Cushman ,Free Speech on Israel UK

Leah Levane, Jewish Voice for Labour UK

Michael Kalmanovitz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network–UK UK

Rob Ferguson, Steering Cttee Free Speech on Israel & SocialistWorkers Party UK

Rachel Lever, Labour Party UK

Dorothy M. Zellner, Jews Say No! USA

Stefanie Fox, Jewish Voice for Peace USA

Lesley Williams Jewish Voice for Peace, USA

Ivan Strasburg, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (ATSE) USA

Rachel Giora, Boycott From Within Israel

Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University Israel

Haley Firkser Israel

Shir Hever, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in NaHost. e.V. Germany

The Board A Different Jewish Voice, Amsterdam Netherlands

Michal Sapir Israel

Rebecca Vilkomerson United States

Ofra Ben Artzi Israel

Dr Les Levidow UK

Angie Mindel UK

Yehuda Aharon Australia

Heather Mendick UK

Angie Mindel UK

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead UK

Sue Rabkin South Africa

Motti Shimoni USA

Mike Simons United Kingdom

THE ADL IS NOT AN ALLY

August 12, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

100+ racial, economic, and social justice organizations and coalitions have issued an open letter with an accompanying primer encouraging community institutions and organizations to rethink their relationships to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The letter comes in response to the ADL’s history of targeting and co-opting movements for justice—particularly those led by communities of color—and advancing Islamophobia, policing, and global militarism while projecting a false badge of progressivism.

Open letter to progressives: The ADL is not an ally.

We are writing to ask you to reconsider the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a partner in social justice work.

Many organizations in our communities find themselves in spaces with the ADL, using its anti-bias education materials, or counting on the ADL to support our political goals. In light of a growing understanding of the ADL’s harmful practices, many progressive groups are rethinking those relationships.

Even though the ADL is integrated into community work on a range of issues, it has a history and ongoing pattern of attacking social justice movements led by communities of color, queer people, immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and other marginalized groups, while aligning itself with police, right-wing leaders, and perpetrators of state violence. More disturbing, it has often conducted those attacks under the banner of “civil rights.” This largely unpublicized history has come increasingly to light as activists work to make sense of the ADL’s role in condemning the Movement for Black Lives, Palestinian rights organizing, and Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar, among others.

We are deeply concerned that the ADL’s credibility in some social justice movements and communities is precisely what allows it to undermine the rights of marginalized communities, shielding it from criticism and accountability while boosting its legitimacy and resources. Even when it may seem that our work is benefiting from access to some resources or participation from the ADL, given the destructive role that it too often plays in undermining struggles for justice, we believe that we cannot collaborate with the ADL without betraying our movements.

This primer lays out some of the ADL’s practices. We hope this can open conversations about this important issue.

Signed,

American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine

Arab Resource & Organizing Center

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Black and Pink, Inc.

Causa Justa: Just Cause

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Political Education

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Coalición de Derechos Humanos

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Critical Resistance

Democratic Socialists of America

Detention Watch Network

Dream Defenders

DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Highlander Research and Education Center

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Jewish Voice for Peace

Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

MADRE

MediaJustice

Methodist Federation for Social Action

Mijente

Movement for Black Lives

Movement Law Lab

Muslim American Society

National Lawyers Guild

National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression

New York Collective of Radical Educators

No Dakota Access Pipeline Global Solidarity Campaign

Palestine Legal

Palestinian Youth Movement

Project South

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Rising Tide North America

School of the Americas Watch

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Southerners on New Ground

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

Teachers 4 Social Justice

The Red Nation

United We Dream

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

US Palestinian Community Network

Veterans for Peace

War Resisters League

A full list of signatories can be found here.

Sign your organization on to the letter here.

Press inquiries: droptheadl@gmail.com

August 2020, www.DropTheADL.org

Share the letter with your community using these graphics, tweets, and more.

Resources on Defunding the Police and Police Abolition

June 11, 2020

 

Jews Say No! stands with all those fighting for a just world and understands deeply that the powerful organizing taking place today against anti-Black racism and anti-Black violence reflects the long, hard, and deeply committed work of so many organizations and individuals, particularly Black activists.
We know people are receiving lots of resources, but we wanted to particularly share some that we have appreciated and learned from that focus on defunding the police and police abolition since we know many of us may be thinking seriously about these issues for the first time. We also make some suggestions of people and groups to follow, including where we can directly contribute to some of the Black-led and police and prison abolition organizing.
 
In solidarity,
Jews Say No!

Articles that focus on defunding the police and police abolition:

America, This is Your Chance  Michelle Alexander in the NYTimes  

 The State is Failing Black People  NYTimes  Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

 No More Money for the Police    NYT Philip V. McHarris and Thenjiwe McHarris

Don’t Let Cops Join Our Protest The Appeal, Derecka Purnell

Police “Reforms” You Should Always Oppose   Truthout 2014 Mariame Kaba

Is Prison Necessary? NYTimes Rachel Kushner with Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Are Prisons Obsolete?  feministes-radicales by Angela Davis

Learn more about abolition  Abolition study resources

The End of Policing Verso Books Alex S. Vitale

What would it mean to ‘defund the police’?  NBC News Jon Schuppe

Organizations and individuals/websites/resources  on prison and police abolition, transformative justice, and envisioning a just future:

What are we talking about when we talk about “a police-free future?” MPD 150 A people’s project evaluating policing

MPD 150 FAQ  Frequently Asked Questions

Transform Harm

8 can’t wait coalition

Building-an-Abolitionist-Trans-Queer-Movement  Dean Spade

Critical Resistance

Survived & Punished

Black and Pink

INCITE!

Reclaim the Block 

Dream Defenders 

Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective

National Bail Fund Network  Contribute to local and national bail funds 

On Chanukah We Rekindle our Commitment To Justice

December 18, 2019

As Jewish communities approach Chanukah, the festival of lights, on Dec. 22nd, Jews Say No! and friends joined together in NYC to rekindle our commitment to challenge Islamophobia and racist violence, both interpersonal and state-sponsored, and to be partners in the broader struggle for justice and dignity for all.

 

 

We pledge to work urgently for climate justice, which is inextricably connected to our movements for racial and economic justice. 

We resist all forms of injustice from the US to Palestine. 

We stand against misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia in all their forms.

We will not be silent about the White Supremacy and White Nationalism in our government and in our streets. Never Again means never again for anybody. 

 

We fight anti-Muslim & racial profiling and institutionalized racism & anti-Black violence in all their forms. 

We stand strong with immigrant and refugee communities fighting for dignity and justice. 

We stand against US policies, driven by the “war on terror,” that demonize Islam, and devalue, target, and kill Muslims.

We challenge Islamophobia, antisemitism, and anti-Black racism and all forms of injustice and violence against any community.

 

and in Los Angeles

 

and in South Florida

 

South Florida

Shaming the Jewish Communal Fund 11/14/19

December 3, 2019

November 14, 2019

JEWISH GROUPS TELL JEWISH COMMUNAL FUND:  STOP FUNDING ANTI-MUSLIM HATE

 Islamophobia endangers people and threatens their lives.

 Outside the Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) offices in NYC, a coalition of Jewish groups–the Defund Islamophobia Now campaign–called upon the JCF to end its funding to groups promoting Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate. A report  released in 2018 by three progressive Jewish groups documents how, according to JCF federal Form 990 filings, JCF has funded anti-Muslim hate groups going back at least to 2001, with six of them receiving a total of $2,082,212 between 2013 and 2017.  (In the following year, JCF gave five of these groups nearly $600,000.) This funding coincides with a rise in white nationalist violence and with Muslim communities being increasingly targeted on our streets and by our government.

According to Elly Bulkin from Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism (JAAMR), one of the members of the Campaign, “We have shared our report with the JCF and asked them to meet with us. Their answer has been silence. Two weeks ago, we delivered to their office a petition signed by over 5,000 people calling upon them to defund Islamophobia and, yet again, we asked for a meeting.  No response. So we are standing outside their offices today having a teach-in and calling upon the JCF to defund the hate that they are funding.”  “It’s not enough for us to say that Muslim lives matter as much as Jewish lives. We need to show it through our actions,” said Gail Miller from Jews Say No!, another member of the Campaign, who also appears in the video the groups created to highlight the issue. We must remember that Islamophobia is not an abstraction. It endangers people and threatens their lives,” said civil rights lawyer Alan Levine.

 “We wouldn’t—and shouldn’t–stand silent in the face of support for anti-Jewish hate. We also shouldn’t stand silent in the face of support for anti-Muslim hate,” added Asaf Calderon from Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, also a Campaign member.

 “We know the JCF funds groups that do important work. But that does not justify a penny going to the kind of vicious hate that places an entire community in jeopardy and is an affront to all groups that seek a more just society,” stressed Karen Ranucci, who has been a donor to the JCF. “I recently withdrew my money from the fund as they did not respond to my requests to meet with them to discuss this issue. I would encourage other donors who believe in justice for all to do the same,” she added.

 Some of the Islamophobes who are funded by the JCF include:

·       Pamela Geller, who writes that Islam “is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth”; 

·       Clarion Project, which funds virulently anti-Muslim films; 

·       David Horowitz, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement”; 

·       Steven Emerson, who forged a “dossier” linking American Muslim groups with terrorism; and 

·       Daniel Pipes, who claims Muslims wish to “impose Islamic law” in the United States. 

The event, held at 6 PM in front of JCF offices at 575 Madison Avenue between 56th and 57th Street, was sponsored by the Defund Islamophobia Now campaign, initiated by three Jewish organizations–Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism, Jews Say No!, and Jewish Voice for Peace-NY. They can be contacted at DefundIslamophobia@gmail.com. The event is also endorsed by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Kolot Chayeinu, and NYU JVP. 

JSN!’s report on the role of the Jewish National Fund in the ongoing Nakba can be found  here

What About Palestine?

November 19, 2019
Published in TIKKUN  https://www.tikkun.org/what-about-palestine

The President claimed recently that Jews are disloyal to Israel and the Jewish people for voting Democrat because, in his view, the Democratic party is disloyal to Israel.  Underlying Trump’s cheerleading for loyalty to Israel is his hostility towards the Palestinian people and those calling for Palestinian rights. If we look at the actions that preceded his recent remarks, we can understand them best in the context of his and the Administration’s unequivocal backing of the Israeli government; support for continued theft/annexation of Palestinian land; consistent anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic positions; and relentless attacks on Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, two pro-Palestinian rights, pro-justice, Muslim Congresswomen (whom the President said Israel shouldn’t allow into its country).

Following his remarks, a barrage of articles and tweets characterized them as anti-Semitic, asserting that the language he used was reminiscent of long-time smears accusing Jews of having “dual loyalty,” that is, of not being sufficiently loyal to the countries in which they lived (and, since the creation of Israel, of being more loyal to Israel than to their own countries).

Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel

Many groups decried Trump’s remarks about Jewish disloyalty but ignored the abusive, anti-Palestinian policies underlying his comments. The clearly anti-Palestinian significance of his remarks and the Administration’s obvious disdain for Palestinians were lost or side-lined in most of these discussions. That is, accusations of his anti-Semitism took center stage with little focus on the US government’s ongoing assaults on the Palestinian people and those supporting their struggle for freedom.

We can also not ignore the irony and hypocrisy of many who called out the President for his comments.  His remarks are not markedly different from what is said regularly by numbers of American Jewish organizations. They too assume that “good” Jews support and are invested in the state of Israel. They too make it a practice to attack Jews who support Palestinian rights. In fact, Jews working in solidarity for justice in Palestine are all too familiar with being accused of “disloyalty” (to Israel and to the Jewish people), or with being called “self-hating” Jews or–even–kapos, by some of these organizations and supporters of Israel. 

Trump’s remarks did not quite fit into the dual loyalty trope as it is generally understood. His comments assume alignment between the U.S. (right wing) and Israel in which loyalty to the Republican Party ultimately means “proper” loyalty both to the U.S. and Israel, whose interests are understood to overlap. Many Jewish organizations also consider their unwavering support for Israel to be in full alignment with their support for the U.S. (whether as Democrats or Republicans). This framing reflects the anti-Palestinian politics that have been pervasive within both parties.

U.S. Administrations have played a major role in supporting Israel’s historic and ongoing brutality toward the Palestinian people. Today’s Administration is no exception and is continuing, and furthering, this policy full-force and with tremendous cruelty.

Why is it that so many groups and commentators have seized the opportunity to criticize Trump’s anti-Semitism but have avoided calling out his anti-Palestinian policies?  That criticism seems to suggest that, while Trump’s anti-Semitism is considered beyond the pale, on the flip side, the anti-Palestinian violence he is enabling isn’t considered deserving of criticism.

The public conversation around Trump’s comments focused on the charge of dual loyalty, but paid little attention to how these accusations of “disloyal” (self-hating) Jews are a direct response to support for the Palestinian-led movement for justice. As this movement for Palestinian rights continues to grow across the country and globally, both Republicans and Democrats will be faced with ongoing resistance to US support for a grave injustice of our time—Israel’s ongoing dispossession of the Palestinian people who have the right to live in dignity and with full justice in their homeland.

We are with you  

March 19, 2019
In the wake of the heartbreaking, horrifying violence against Muslims worshiping in Christchurch, New Zealand, we must continue–with all the strength we have–to join with Muslim and all communities to challenge and resist anti-Muslim racism, white supremacy, and hate in the streets, in mosques, in domestic and foreign policies, in all spheres of our societies. To our Muslim friends and partners in the struggle for a just world, we are with you.  
 
Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism and Jews Say No!

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