Tag Archives: Israel

US Jews to Hollywood stars: Boycott Israel celebration!

The following has been sent as an open letter to Jason Alexander, Heidi Klum, Debi Mazar, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Stone, Kiefer Sutherland, and all other confirmed attendees of the September 18 celebration of Israel at Paramount Studios.

It has also been sent to unconfirmed guests Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Adam Sandler.

Stay tuned for any updates or action announcements!


Update: We received an email from Ixtlan Productions — Oliver Stone’s management — who confirmed that Oliver Stone did not, and was not planning to, attend the September 18 event.  The email did not state a reason or respond to the call for boycott.


September 12, 2008

We write to you with sadness and outrage as we learn that you plan to attend the September 18 event “From Vision to Reality,” a Hollywood celebration of sixty years since the establishment of the state of
Israel. The vision that led to the reality of the Israeli state is one of systematic and ongoing ethnic and religious discrimination against the Palestinian people. This does not deserve to be celebrated.

Sixty years ago, Zionist groups 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. This has come to be known by Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” and this Nakba continues today. Inside of the 1948 borders of Israel, Palestinian citizens are denied equal rights to Jews under the law. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land,  water, healthcare, and other basic resources. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees throughout the world, all of whom are denied their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and land simply because they are not Jewish.

As Jewish North Americans, we are outraged at the policies the state of Israel has implemented in our names and with our government’s financial support for more than sixty years.  At the same time, we are inspired by the ongoing creative resistance of the Palestinian people, and most recently the unified civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law.  We ask you to heed this call.  Boycott is a nonviolent tool that has been used by ordinary people  countless times to hold countries responsible for atrocities when our governments fail to do so.  In South Africa, the boycott movement helped bring about an end to the apartheid system.  In the case of Israel/Palestine, it can do the same.

Whether you attend or not, you are making a statement.  If you attend, you indicate that you support the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people (now millions) and ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population from their land.  If you cancel your attendance, you indicate that you will not turn a blind eye to both the suffering and the call to action of millions of Palestinian people.

With stature comes responsibility, and we hope you do not take yours lightly.

Sincerely,

The No Time To Celebrate Campaign
a campaign organized and implemented by thousands of Jewish people in the US and Canada this year to protest Israeli Independence Day activities, to commemorate the Nakba, and to honor the Palestinian
call for boycott against Israel

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Open Letter to Paul McCartney: Do Not Perform in Israel

The No Time To Celebrate Campaign has joined the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and other allies in issuing an open letter to Paul McCartney asking that he cancel a scheduled concert in Israel in late September.  More information is available from PACBI and the BIG Campaign (Boycott Israeli Goods) in the UK.


Sir Paul McCartney,

We write to you with sadness and urgency as we hear that you are preparing to perform in Israel at the end of this month, and we ask that you cancel this performance. As Jewish North Americans, we are outraged at the policies the state of Israel has implemented in our names and with our government’s financial support for more than sixty years. Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem live under occupation and siege; Palestinian citizens of Israel have fewer rights than Jewish citizens of Israel; and Palestinian refugees, who make up two thirds of the Palestinian population, have been denied their internationally recognized right to return to their lands and their homes since 1948.

At the same time, we write to you with hope that you will heed the unified Palestinian civil society call for boycott against Israel until it complies with international law.  Boycott is a nonviolent tool that has been used by ordinary people countless times to hold countries responsible for atrocities when our governments fail to do so.  In South Africa, the boycott movement helped bring about an end to the apartheid system.  The boycott is both collective and individual.  In this case, we call on you as an individual to take a stand against Israeli apartheid and cancel your performance.

Whether you perform or not, you are making a statement.  If you perform this month, at a time when Israel is celebrating sixty years of existence, you indicate that you support the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people (now millions) and the ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population from their land.  If you cancel your performance, you indicate that you will not, in the name of profit, turn a blind eye to both the suffering and the call to action of millions of Palestinian people.

With stature comes responsibility, and we hope you do not take yours lightly.

Sincerely,

The No Time To Celebrate Campaign
a campaign organized and implemented by thousands of Jewish people in the US and Canada this past spring to protest Israeli Independence Day activities and to commemorate the Nakba (1948 displacement of Palestinian people)

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Madison, WI demonstration

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):

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NYC: ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS TELL PARTY-GOERS “IT’S NOT OUR BIRTHRIGHT”

May 12, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ethan Heitner
notimetocelebrate@gmail.com

ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS TELL PARTY-GOERS:
“IT’S NO TIME TO CELEBRATE” AND “IT’S NOT OUR BIRTHRIGHT”

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
name, people.”

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
speaking out.”

For more information, visit: notimetocelebrate.wordpress.com

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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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