May 12, 2008, NYC: 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
May 8, 2008, NYC:
‘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”
NEW YORK CITY – After Exodus: The JATO Seder
Where: Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC
When: Sunday, April 27, 5:30P
Jews Against the Occupation NYC invites you to After Exodus, our last night of Passover Seder! Good food, thought-provoking conversation, engaging Jewish ritual, and more!
During the 8 days of Passover
we tell a story of liberation
as though we had lived through it ourselves.
But what happens after Exodus?
Join us to honor Jewish tradition by working for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine. As we grapple with the realities of occupation and violence in Israel/Palestine, let us truly live the lessons of Passover.
POTLUCK! Please bring a dish or some wine (preferably Kosher and not made in Israel) to share. RSVP with what you’re bringing, so we can plan accordingly.