Monday, May 03, 2010

3 Jewish Initiatives to Support BDS & the Movement...

Dear friends,

A lot has been happening over the past few weeks, particularly within the global movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). It may not feel like much if I'm the only list you're on, but there are new campaigns and votes all the time (and if you want notification of them, you can join the BDS email list). The most recent vote at UC San Diego last Wednesday was sent to committee. You can read the resolution, sign the petition, and/or send a letter of support.

I want to tell you about three initiatives—a statement, a book, and an assembly—by Jewish Americans supporting BDS. Here they are, in order…



Below is a statement I worked on with Hannah Mermelstein, Nava Etshalom, and Amy Kaplan and an accompanying video. I invite others to read, watch, sign, and/or support the initiative. It speaks for itself…

Recommended: Click here to Watch the Video!


We are Jews from the United States, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel's "law of return."

Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land—a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish.

We renounce this "right" to "return" offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may "return" to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.

In 1947-49, Zionist militias destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state on land where the majority was not Jewish. It is Palestinians who have the right to return to their own land.

Now in Gaza, where more than three quarters of the people are refugees, the State of Israel not only denies the population its right of return, but also incarcerates the entire Gaza Strip under illegal and inhumane siege conditions.

We reject the notion that Israel is a "safe haven" from anti-Semitism for Jews. No one is truly safe when the price of that "security" is oppression, inequality, and occupation of another people.

Today there is a growing transnational movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society and supported by activists, artists, and academics around the world, including an increasing number of conscientious Israelis. As part of this campaign, we pledge to boycott the "law of return." As an act of political and ideological divestment, we repudiate the claims the State of Israel makes on us as potential citizens.

We protest Israel's colonial policies and discriminatory laws toward the Palestinian people, as well as the U.S. government's political and financial support of these policies.

We hereby renounce Israel's "law of return" and refuse to lend the state our support, resources, or passports.


1. If you are a U.S. Jew, you can add your name to the signatories (there are already hundreds!) by emailing breakingthelawofret urn@gmail. com with your name, city, and institutional/ organizational affiliations (optional).

2. Join our Facebook group – all people who support this statement are welcome!



This is your last chance to pre-order at a discount the upcoming book, Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation, which comes into print on Tuesday!

I contributed a chapter, as did Hedy Epstein, Alice Rothchild, Starhawk, and many others. Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote the preface and Cindy Sheehan wrote the foreword. The editor, Osie Gabriel Adelfang, will also be donating a portion of the proceeds to the cause. She did an incredible job. Even the cover is beautiful (some of you will recognize the wall around Munira's home from my DVD).

Visit the book's Official Website and note the Events Calendar at the top.

Order the book online (ASAP if you want the pre-order discount). Consider writing a review on Amazon if you read it and like it. I only have twelve for Witness in Palestine (thank you, whoever you are!) but it sure helps!

And don't forget to join the Facebook fan page and/or follow Shifting Sands on Twitter.



June 19-22, 2010

Between the Allied Media Conference and the US Social Forum in Detroit this summer, there will be a historic gathering of anti-Zionist Jews to develop strategies for US organizing, advance the BDS call, and much more!

Join the Facebook group and visit the Official Website to get more information, register, propose a session, contribute, check out the endorsements, or spread the word…


Although it should not be exaggerated, these three initiatives are testimony to a continuing shift in Jewish consciousness on this issue. It is no longer an extraordinary thing to meet Anti-Zionist Jews in the United States, and Jewish Israelis are among those calling loudest for BDS. AIPAC's membership hovers around 100,000 while Jewish Voice for Peace's mailing list has now surpassed that. We join with millions of others of all backgrounds around the US and around world, forming the critical mass needed for change, led by the Palestinian people themselves. As Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace wrote in her incredible piece (read it!) on the UC Berkeley Divestment vote, It's Clear What the Future Looks Like...

If you're not active now, there's no better time to start!

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