Posts Tagged ‘Donna Nevel’

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.

International Law, Seeking Justice, and the Great March of Return in Gaza

October 7, 2018

During Israel’s creation, over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled temporarily to save themselves from the violence. Palestinian refugees and their descendants around the world continue to be denied their right of return as stipulated in a 1948 UN resolution. Why won’t Israel let them return to their homes? What can be done to achieve peace with justice?

Speakers:  Bina Ahmad (social justice attorney, public defender, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Steering Committee, Food Empowerment Project Advisory Board), Jamil Dakwar (human rights lawyer and adjunct professor at John Jay College and Hunter College),  Donna Nevel (community psychologist, Facing the Nakba Project, Jews Say No!; Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism).  Moderated by Riham Barghouti (founder of Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel)

September 26, 2018 @The Brooklyn Commons

Sponsor: Brooklyn For Peace; bfp@brooklynpeace.orgbrooklynpeace.org 718-624-5921
Co-sponsors: Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel;, Al-Awda NY, All Souls Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East; Arab Muslim American Federation; Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Fort Greene Peace; International Action Center, Jewish Voice for Peace/NYC, Jews Say No!; Jews for Palestinian Right of Return; JVP-Westchester; Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians; Peace Action New York State; Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; Tree of Life Educational Fund; USA Palestine Mental Health Network; Women in Black Union Square; World Can’t Wait

Discussion of Palestinian Right of Return – September 26 – Brooklyn

September 6, 2018

New York City Council hearing on BDS

September 10, 2016

imgresThe two sides of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement squared off in New York’s City Hall on Thursday, with BDS activists disrupting a hearing where city council members discussed a resolution condemning BDS. The resolution doesn’t add penalties, but displays a hostility to a non-violent act of free speech, BDS supporters say.

Click to read Resolution 1058-2016 or see the wording after Donna’s testimony below.

Testimony  of Jane Hirschmann and Donna Nevel before the New York City council on 9/8/16

My name is Jane Hirschmann and I am representing a group called Jews Say No! We are a NYC based group of Jews who stand up for human rights and justice in Palestine. We believe that it is in the best tradition of the Jewish people to criticize, argue, think and think some more about issues of justice and fairness and to protest human rights abuses where they exist. Indeed for many of us that is one of the main lessons of the Holocaust. Also as Jews we have a particular obligation to speak out concerning Israel, which purports to speak for Jews everywhere.

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors anti-Semitism concerns me deeply. But to suggest as this resolution does, that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic or an attempt to delegitimize Israel is unfounded rhetoric and defamatory. This resolution and similar ones nationwide have been promoted by the Israeli lobby and segments of this community to distract people from the real issues at hand—Israel’s human rights abuses and blatant disregard for the law. This resolution is based on the premise that if you protest the inhumane behavior and policies of a nation state, you are delegitimizing that state, and in the case of Israel, you are anti-Semitic.

The United Nations and several International courts have made it very clear that Israel is in violation of international law. These violations include the 60 year illegal occupation of the West Bank; the illegal settlement expansion which contravenes long standing U.S. policy and hinders any serious peace effort; the theft of Palestinian lands; the blockade of Gaza and the horrific slaughter of thousands of Gaza civilians, to name just a few. Protesting and boycotting Israel for its lawlessness and violence against the Palestinians is not anti-Semitic. It is pro human rights. Can one criticize a country and their abuses without saying that those engaged in this criticism are either delegitimizing the country or, as in this case, are anti-Semitic? In fact, the notion that our protest of Israel’s abuses delegitimizes Israel is preposterous. Israel by persistently acting in an illegitimate way is delegitimizing itself. Every time it violates human rights standards, it delegitimizes itself; by occupying the West Bank it delegitimizes itself; by building a wall it delegitimizes itself, by stealing Palestinian homes and water it delegitimizes itself; by destroying Gaza it delegitimizes itself. And I could go on and on.

On the issue of boycotts I ask you to remember the bus boycotts in Montgomery. Did the boycotts delegitimize Alabama or did the racist policies delegitimize the State? Or take the boycott of South Africa for its apartheid policies. Did the boycott delegitimize the country or was it the conduct of that country? What about the most recent boycott initiated by Governor Cuomo against North Carolina over their anti-LGBT law. Was this an attempt on the Governor’s part to delegitimize that State or just a peaceful non-violent method to protest and force change by using economic and social pressure?

We in the BDS movement are also using this same time-honored, non-violent method to protest the activities of a nation state—Israel. We are not protesting the Jewish people per se because Israel does not represent nor speak for Jews all over the world. Opposing a country’s policy, is not opposing all of its residents nor is it delegitimizing the country. In the case of Israel we are simply joining a growing portion of the International community to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel until it ceases its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians; until the occupation has ended; until the right of return is recognized; and until Palestinians can live in dignity with all the same rights as Israelis.

This Israeli campaign to stifle first amendment activity, including the BDS movement is an attempt to delegitimize our constitution and the city council should not be a party to this.

Jane Hirschmann, one of the co-founders of Jews Say No!

Testimony before the New York City council

 Donna Nevel, Board Member, Jewish Voice for Peace

As part of my commitment to speaking out and supporting the movement for justice in Palestine and Israel, I would like to speak about why I consider it my responsibility to stand in support of the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and why I strongly oppose the resolution being put forth today. As a board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization dedicated to a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, I am speaking here to represent the growing numbers of progressive Jews who support this global movement for justice.

The BDS movement is motivated by a call for solidarity from the international community. In 2005, a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society called for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and ends its violations of Palestinian rights.

The resolution under discussion shamelessly and shamefully distorts the BDS movement’s goals. BDS is about leveraging pressure to compel a state to change its behavior and respect human rights. The BDS movement is not permanent; this pressure is needed only UNTIL Israel complies with basic principles of equality.

BDS has garnered such strong international support among concerned people, including Jews, across the globe because people of conscience oppose decades of denial of a people’s basic human and national rights.

One of the false and destructive accusations being made is that it is anti-Semitic to support BDS. This is not only a highly irresponsible accusation, and harmful to those fighting for justice, but it also does an injustice to the reality of actual anti-Semitism when it occurs.

It is not discriminatory in any way to hold a nation-state accountable for its human rights abuses and for violations of international law. There is nothing anti-Semitic about that in any rational definition of anti-Semitism.

There has been a call from Palestinian civil society, whose community is suffering on a daily basis, to join an international effort to hold Israel accountable to changing its behavior. That is ethical; that is a call I embrace.

 On a final and personal note, I support the ethical and yes, dignified call for BDS–as a Jew and as a human being committed to justice and to peace. I have always felt—and continue to feel—deeply connected to my community’s history of struggle and resistance; of the anti-Semitism and oppression we’ve endured. In no way is my support for BDS and my deep commitment to justice for Palestinians at odds with that deep connection to my people. In fact, it grows out of my history and life as a Jewish person who grew up learning from my deeply ethical parents to be proud of who I was but to never think I was better than anyone else or any other people, and to fight against injustice whenever and wherever I saw it.

Therefore, I will continue to support BDS with thousands and thousands of others across the globe UNTIL there is a just solution rooted in ending state policies that are discriminatory and anti-democratic and in insuring equal rights and respect and safety for all.

I hope you will reject this very wrong-headed resolution that attempts to trivialize and distort a critical human rights issue.

Thank you.

 

Resolution condemning all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel.

By Council Member Cohen, Deutsch, Garodnick, Greenfield, Grodenchik, Kallos, Koslowitz, Lancman, Levine, Maisel, Treyger, Rosenthal, Cabrera, Palma, King, Gibson, Gentile, Espinal, Richards, Koo, Vacca, Van Bramer, Vallone, Johnson, Dickens, Borelli, Matteo and Ulrich

Whereas, The Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) is a campaign seeking to exclude the Israeli people from the economic, cultural, and academic life of humanity; and

Whereas, This movement targets not just the Israeli government but Israeli academic, cultural, and civil society institutions, as well as individual Israeli citizens of all political persuasions, and in some cases even Jews of other nationalities who support Israel; and

Whereas, The Global BDS Movement targets Israel and only Israel, while ignoring the world’s myriad despotic regimes; and

Whereas, Israel is far and away the most democratic and open society in the Middle East, with well-established rights for religious minorities, women, and LGBT citizens that far exceeds those of any other nation in the region; and

Whereas, The Global BDS Movement does not recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination; and

Whereas, Some of the BDS Movement’s supporters and leaders have trafficked in unacceptable anti-Semitic rhetoric, including comparison of Israeli policy to that of Nazi Germany; and

Whereas, University-based BDS efforts violate the core goals of the university and global cultural development, which thrive on a free and open exchange and debate; and

Whereas, Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in safe and secure states, free from fear and violence, with mutual recognition; and

Whereas, The Global BDS Movement does not support the two-state solution, a goal which can only be reached through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; and

Whereas, Israel is an ally of the United States and has a long-standing relationship with the City of New York; and

Whereas, The City of New York has the largest population of Jewish residents in the nation and is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel; now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York condemns all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction its government and people.

 

A New Report Shows That the Palestinian Movement is Under Attack in the US

October 15, 2015

%d bloggers like this: