Below is a news report from the May 8 action at the JCRC — we’re “breaking news” about 40 seconds into the segment:
Tag Archives: Israel@60
JVP’s Madison Chapter held a very successful “No Time to Celebrate” demonstration in partnership with several other area groups on May 8 on the Univ. of Wisconsin’s Library Mall.
The demonstration was a counter to an Israeli Independence Day birthday celebration put on by Hillel students also being held on the Library Mall. Their event featured birthday cake, free food, and a “moon bounce.” We actually outnumbered them during a three-hour time frame. We had from 45-50 people on our side with a very visually impactful presence including black balloons, a “puppet” figure dressed as a Palestinian refugee, Palestinian flags, banners, and signs. We also passed out a lot of
leaflets. Our chapter reprinted the UK statement (with attribution) to pass out with our contact info.
A group of Palestinian students put together a dramatic display on lower Bascom Hll (a major UW landmark) with rows of yellow “flags” each with a name of a village destroyed in 1948. The most encouraging thing was that we engaged in a number of great conversations with Hillel students who had many questions for us. It was a civilized and peaceful exchange. We all felt energized by the event.
Here are some photos (more are after the jump):
May 12, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ethan Heitner
ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS TELL PARTY-GOERS:
“IT’S NO TIME TO CELEBRATE” AND “IT’S NOT OUR BIRTHRIGHT”
Approximately ten Anti-Zionist Jews confronted attendees at a
Birthright-Israel “Mega Event” fundraiser at a club near Columbus
Circle on Saturday night, May 10. The group , wearing matching black
party attire, delivered their message through coordinated chants and
cheers, until residents of the apartments above asked them to keep it
down, at which point they deployed a banner reading “It’s No Time To
Celebrate” and distributed fliers explaining their presence as Jews
commemorating the Nakba.
“We were surprised at how few of the people we talked to going into
this party had any clue about the ideology of the Birthright program,”
said Louisa Solomon, an organizer. “They really thought it was about
free trips, not about convincing young American Jews that they have
the “right” to a land already populated by others. I mean, it’s in the
Birthright-Israel is a program which pays for two week tours of Israel
for young Jews that contain multiple lectures and presentations
designed to teach the participants a Zionist perspective on the
history and present of Israel and Palestine.
“We reject the notion of a “birthright,” as embodied in Jewish-only
fully-funded trips to Israel,” said Hannah Mermelstein, a co-founder
of Birthright Unplugged, which offers Jewish young people a chance to
visit and learn from Palestinians. “Israel has ignored the
internationally recognized right of return for refugees, but has
created a “Law of Return” which extends citizenship benefits to any
person of Jewish heritage, excluding millions of Palestinians born in
the land that has become Israel.”
The anti-Zionist demonstrators, organizing under the banner of “It’s
No Time To Celebrate,” have signed an electronic pledge disavowing the
violations of human rights and international law that have marked
Israel’s existence and promised to disrupt celebrations of Israel’s
60th anniversary not just in New York but across the nation. On May 7,
Israel’s “Independence Day” they took a giant Handala puppet and a
kickline cheer into crowds of attendees at Radio City Music Hall’s
musical gala salute to Israel, while twenty Jewish protesters were
arrested in San Fransisco at a fundraiser.
“As Jews who believe in justice, it’s important to us to stand out
here, visibly and audibly, reminding people that many Jews are
outraged, not elated, at the 60th anniversary of the Nakba,” said
Temim Fruchter, another protester. “We hope others will join us in
Yesterday 20 of us were arrested in the lobby of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center at an event organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council’s “Israel @ 60″ Educational Symposium. Many other Jews and allies joined us inside as well as outside to voice our opposition to an organization that continually claims to speak in our name as it supports the continued project of Israeli colonialism. By staging the action inside the lobby, we hoped to move our action from a binary of Jews/inside and protestors/outside, to recognize that indeed we are dissent from within the Jewish community
Below is our press release (click here to download PDF), as well as some links to photos and media gathered so far. Check back for more.
20 Jewish Activists Arrested, Disrupting Jewish Community Relations Council’s (JCRC) 60th Anniversary of Israel Celebration
Jewish Activists Draw Attention to 60 years of Palestinian Forced Exile and Dispossession
San Francisco—In response to Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations, 20 Jewish activists were arrested, demonstrating Jewish opposition to Israel’s 60-year-old policy of dispossession, and highlighting the often-silenced struggle of Palestinian refugees. For over two hours, 30 Jewish activists and supporters disrupted San Francisco’s anniversary event, bunkering against the main atrium of the Jewish Community Center (JCC). In conjunction, over thirty Jewish and Palestinian supporters held a rally outside the center to call attention to ongoing Israeli policy of apartheid against the Palestinian population. With banners reading, “Jews in Solidarity with 60+ years of Palestinian Resistance,” activists declared anniversary, “No Time to Celebrate.”
“As Jews of conscience, acting in solidarity with 60-plus years of Palestinian resistance, we’re here today to promote an “Independence” that does not depend on an ethnically or religiously exclusive state or on the displacement of indigenous people,” said Eric Romann, International Jewish Solidarity Network (IJSN) organizer. “We want is joint liberation, not isolation.”
The action in San Francisco, organized by the local IJSN, is part of “No Time to Celebrate,” a national Jewish campaign opposing Israel’s 60th Anniversary celebrations, while simultaneously amplifying the American Jewish community’s critique of Israeli policy. The Israeli Consulate and the Jewish Community and Relations Council (JCRC), who have attempted to silence any and all criticism of Israeli policy, were the sponsors of this event.
The activists presented the JCRC with a statement, with the following demands:
- To stop the targeting of non-Jewish organizations, particularly of organizations serving communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, that criticize Israel and/or express solidarity with Palestine
- To stop claiming that anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are anti-Semitic
- To acknowledge that they do not speak for the full organized Jewish community—that Jewish voices that criticize Israel and Zionism are legitimate voices of dissent within Jewish communities
- To criticize Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai threat of a “shoah” against the people of Gaza and demand a public apology for the exploitation of the Nazi genocide against the Jewish people for the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Some coverage generated so far (support our work by leaving comments!):
- San Francisco Bay Guardian Politics Blog
- KCBS (click for audio)
- The Arabist (Hossam el-Hamalawy) (recently added!)
- Flickr photoset
- KPFA Radio (recently added!)
- KGO Radio (recently added!)
- Baltimore Jewish Times (recently added!)
- On Digg! (recently added!)
- My Direct Democracy (recently added!)
- What Really Happened Blog (recently added!)
- Daily Kos (recently recently added!)
- KRON 4 (video!)
- check back for more!
Dershowitz Welcomed by protests at Rutgers University
by Ian Chinich
A group of protesters gathered on May 8 in front of the Rutgers University auditorium where Alan Dershowitz was scheduled to speak. He was invited to Rutgers to deliver the key note for the 60th anniversary of Israel celebration. The protesters, many of whom were involved in Rutgers Against the War/ Campus Antiwar Network held signs such as “Jews Against the Occupation”, “Settlements = Ethnic Cleansing”, and “End Israeli Apartheid”. Several of the attendees took literature, but many were hostile. After one Jewish protester tried to hand an attendee lit, the attendee threatened to spit in his face. Likewise, one of the Palestinian protesters encountered racist comments.
The highlight of the night was when Dershowitz came out to speak to the protesters. He approached with the police watching and said “Its good you are bringing up the Nakbah because I am going to mention it in my speech. The Nakbah is self inflicted!” Dershowitz then refused to respond to incredulous replies. When asked about his statements supporting torture he offered, “I dont support torture. I believe the government should get a warrant first.” He then started to walk away. One of the protesters replied, “Should they get a permit before they bomb palestinian villages?”
Though most of the attendees were over the age of 60, they could not ignore the growing size of university based protests against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the involvement of an increasing number of supportive American Jews.
May 8, 2008
JEWISH ‘SCHLOCKETTES’ DENOUNCE ZIONISM WITH SONG AND DANCE AT RADIO CITY SALUTE TO ISRAEL
Photos by Bran Ali Fenner
A small group of anti-Zionist Jews calling themselves “Schlockettes” and their giant Handala puppet provoked stares, anger and intense conversations at Israel’s 60th Anniversary Celebration at Radio City Music Hall last night with a high-kicking musical protest. The group of fifteen sang, danced and performed a cheerleading routine in front and at times in the midst of crowds of attendees waiting in line to enter the event while across the street a separate Palestinian solidarity rally was held. The event was the beginning of two weeks of events through out New York City that Jewish activists have pledged to disrupt under the banner of “It’s No Time To Celebrate.”
“People forget that there was no consensus among Jews that ethno-nationalism would save them in 1897, there was no consensus in 1948, and there sure as hell isn’t a consensus now,” said Louisa Solomon, one of the organizers.
“A shonda! A shame! No occupation in our name!” shouted the activists, dressed in matching black, as they led a banner reading “Jews Honor Palestinian Resistance” and an 8-foot tall puppet of Handala through sometimes hostile crowds. Handala is a cartoon character representing Palestinian refugee children created by cartoonist Najy al-Ali, and shonda is Yiddish for shame.
The New York protests mirror other events taking place across the nation. Hundreds of Jews and allies have signed an on-line pledge called “No Time To Celebrate” calling for peaceful demonstrations and alternative events demonstrating opposition to Zionism and solidarity with Palestinian communities.
“Sixty years ago, Zionist militias destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state in a land where the majority was not Jewish,” reads the on-line pledge, which has over 500 signatures. “This does not deserve to be celebrated.”
Or as the New York activists cheered as part of a choreographed dance routine:
“We’re gonna shake off, shake off this racist occupation!
All people deserve self-determination”