Tag Archives: nakba

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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Seattle Jews confront American Jewish Committee and Honor Palestinian Resistance

May 7th: On May 7th the American Jewish Committee held a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding, at the large and sumptuous Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Outside, al-Nakba Coalition, a network of Middle East peace and justice organizations, held a protest and commemoration of 60 years of Nakba. We started by marching from Westlake Park, carrying banners and coffins with the names of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948, and wearing masks. We arrived shortly at the concert hall, put down our coffins, and interacted with rush-hour passersby, police, and some celebrants. Some of our people wrote slogans and names of destroyed villages on the sidewalk around the entire building. There were around 100 of us, and there had been coverage of our work that day in both main Seattle newspapers.

Click here for more images from the May 7 demonstrations.

May 10th: We also had an event on May 10th, titled “Celebrate Palestine: 60 years of Resistance.” This was a positive, pro-active cultural event to recognize and honor the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the face of a 60-year Israeli attempt to dislocate and exile the native population of Palestine. Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 spoke, giving moving personal testimony about their life and their experiences. A youth folklore ensemble performed; information tables were present; traditional handicrafts were displayed, and Palestinian food was provided. The event was held at the Seattle Central Community College, organized by al-Nakba Coalition, and at least 100 people attended.


May 28th: The AJC hosted another event, a high-ticket reception and dinner, celebrating Israel in a fancy restaurant on the waterfront. Around 30 of us held a vigil outside, passing out leaflets, writing in chalk on the sidewalk, and reading appropriate poetry and other writings into a small p.a. system.

Click here for more images from the May 28 demonstrations.

For more information about al-Nakba Coalition, see http://nakba60th-seattle.org/

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Philadelphia: Banners Remember the Nakba

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On the mornings of May 18 and 20, 2008, Philadelphia drivers found messages hanging from several bridges leading into the city. Banners read, “Jews remember the Nakba,” “Ethnic cleansing is not a Jewish value,” “U.S. Jews mourn the Palestinian lives and land lost in 1948,” and “Jews say Israeli ‘independence’ = Palestinian dispossession.”

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Los Angeles: Street Performance

LOS ANGELES, CA — May 18, 2008, a public interactive street performance took place, commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nakba. The artists mapped 150 of the 800+ destroyed Palestinian villages, and distributed fact sheets to the public.

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Seattle: These Jews Aren’t Celebrating!

While some celebrate 60 years of Israel’s statehood, many Seattle Jews join a broad local coalition in mourning 60 years since the Nakba – Arabic for Catastrophe – of 1948, asking, “Is our nation-state worth the displacement of another people?”

On Wednesday May 7th, 2008, a dozen members of the Seattle chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace stood with many local community members in protest outside the celebratory Israel@60 event at Benaroya Hall. The protest was organized by the Seattle Nakba Coalition, of which the Seattle chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace is a member organization. Other member groups include Seattle Palestinian, Arab-American and Palestine solidarity organizations.

Five JVP members attended the Israel@60 event as ticket-holders, in an additional effort to present an often-silenced perspective. They distributed hundreds of leaflets to other attendees, questioning the dominant narrative of Israel’s independence. “What happened to 418 Palestinian villages that existed in 1947? How is this different from the ethnic cleansing that has long been practiced upon us?” These were met with widely varying responses, including deep appreciation. “We need more students doing this,” one attendee said.

After the performance, the ticket-holders unfurled banners inside the hall, reading “Shame on Us for Making Refugees” and “Seattle Jews for a Free Palestine”. They were quickly surrounded by police and escorted off the premises, singing Lo Yisa Goy – nations shall learn war no more.

While Israel provided a home for Jewish refugees after the Holocaust, some from our own families, the terrible fact is that over 700,000 Palestinians were made into refugees to make room for the future state of Israel. Sixty years and several generations later, that number has swelled to an estimated seven million. Many live in 58 registered refugee camps dispersed throughout the Middle East, still denied their rights under international law.

That is why the creation of the state of Israel is known as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe, to Palestinians. Today the Palestinian Nakba continues. Inside of the 1948 borders of Israel, Palestinian citizens are denied legal rights received by Jews. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land, water, health care, and other basic resources. Palestinians throughout historic Palestine experience international isolation, economic devastation aided by the erection of a 730-kilometer wall, and continued closures and invasions including the current horrific siege of Gaza.

And that is why many of us are refusing to celebrate: as long as Palestinians are still fighting for their fundamental human rights, we cannot rejoice.

Any peaceful future depends on recognizing both the Palestinian and the Israeli narrative. And yet, just as the names of over 400 pre-1948 Palestinian towns and cities have been deliberately erased from maps, the history of the Palestinian Nakba itself has been all but erased from Jewish consciousness

As Jews, we are members of a community that has repeatedly suffered exile and ethnic cleansing. We refuse to remain silent while this oppression is perpetuated upon another people in our name. To this end, we will continue to work within Jewish community and also in solidarity with Palestinian community, as we seek a self-determination for Jews that does not depend on the displacement and oppression of another people.

also see: http://www.thestruggle.org/not_celebrating.htm
and more photos!

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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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