Category Archives: media coverage

Heating Up: The Battle for the Jewish voice and the Jewish soul

An article by David Mandelzys, reposted from (Cult)ure, a Canadian blog:

These are the four questions we were thinking of:

1) Why, on this night we dedicate to remembering our own history as an oppressed people, do we justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians?

2) Why, on this night when Israelis are free to celebrate, are the Palestinians locked down under curfew – as is done on most Jewish holidays?

3) Why, here in Canada, where we are a minority amongst a Christian majority, do we advocate for and support a ‘Jewish State’ in the Middle East, where the non-Jewish minority are treated as second class citizens?

4) Why should anyone think that just because we say ‘next year in Jerusalem’ at the end of our Seder, that we had a right to kick others out of their homes so that we could live there?

Read the full article here.

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News report from SF action

Below is a news report from the May 8 action at the JCRC — we’re “breaking news” about 40 seconds into the segment:

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Montreal: Demonstration at Israel Day

The annual Jewish counter-demonstration to the Israel Day commemoration began in 2003 in a confrontation that saw 2-3 Zionists cross the boulevard René Lévesque to surround the Jewish counter-demonstrators. The police intervened with the Montréal Riot Squad and placed themselves in between the two parties. However, instead of defending the counter-demonstrators the police turned towards the dissidents and surrounded us in order to push us out of the area and end our protest. Shields were used to hit the protesters and we were pushed down into an underground parking while the Zionists spat down on us from the ground level above. Next day saw the affair on the front page of the only English language paper. Ever since, we have placed ourselves in their face so to speak and denounced the Zionist State as Jews. From the first the Neturei Karta came to uphold Judaism against Zionism

The major addition to this year’s Jewish protest at the Israel Day commemoration was the 35 Lev Tahor Chasidic community members from Ste-Agathe, north of Montréal with Rabbi Elbrans. The traditional contingent from Monsey, New York State was the Neturai Karta delegation with Rabbi Weiss. Sackcloth was worn to denote the mourning of the event. The Lev Tahor community was very vocal and chanted a Hebrew prayer to denounce the Zionist event. In comparison, the 10 leftist Jews were few in number and lacked the enthusiasm of the Chassids! The six adherents of the Independent Jewish Voices Montreal present completed the regular Jewish People’s Liberation Organization leftist presence. The police confined the protest to the opposite side of the boulevard unlike the previous years. The local CTV network did not even identity the counter-demonstration as being Jewish in character. The Zionist organizers misrepresented the size of the Zionist rally, which was actually less than 5,000 in number, together with the bussed-in school-kids. With the Zionist presence reaching a ceiling of 5,000 and the annual Jewish counter-demonstration growing to be 40 this year the balance of forces are evidently beginning to shift in Jewish political culture.

Click here for coverage in the Montreal Gazette.

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San Francisco: Video from action at JCRC

Below is a short video about Thursday’s action in San Francisco, the No Time To Celebrate Campaign, and why we do this work.

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San Francisco: 20 Jews Arrested in protest of 60th Anniversary Event

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.

Click here to download the complete statement and demands!

Some coverage generated so far (support our work by leaving comments!):

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New Jersey: Dershowitz Welcomed by protests at Rutgers University

Dershowitz Welcomed by protests at Rutgers University
by Ian Chinich

protest at Rutgers
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.

Protest at RutgersProtest at Rutgers

Click here for an article in the New Jersey Jewish News.

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Letter Published in Guardian (UK): “We’re not celebrating Israel’s anniversary”

“We’re not celebrating Israel’s anniversary”

Published April 30, 2008 in the UK Guardian
View full letter and list of signatories at the Guardian online

In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler’s genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.

In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa’s market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.

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