Jews Demand Community Leaders Show Moral Leadership on Gaza

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Naomi Dann; naomi@jvp.org; 503-952-6205; @jvplive; Youtube; Flickr 

Jews Demand Community Leaders Show Moral Leadership on Gaza

Jewish Voice for Peace delivers petitions to Jewish community leaders in major U.S. cities demanding they call for end to Israeli occupation of Palestine

OAKLAND - Over the last two weeks Jewish Voice for Peace chapters in Philadelphia, Durham, Washington DC, Denver, and New York delivered a petition to Jewish community leaders demanding they call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the blockade of Gaza. The petition, signed by over 30,000 JVP supporters, criticizes the institutional Jewish community’s unconditional support for Israel’s assault on Gaza, which has killed over 2,000 Palestinians to date.

Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson said: “Jewish communal leaders have lost touch with many American Jews, especially the younger generation. We are increasingly opposed to Israel’s occupation and the massive bombing of civilians trapped in Gaza, while they remain either silent or cheerlead illegal and immoral Israeli policies. That’s why we are going to Jewish leaders in every city to demand they show true ethical leadership and call for an end to the Israeli occupation.”

The Jewish Voice for Peace petition is addressed to Mr. Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America; Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center; and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. It states: “Your support for Israel as it destroys so many lives is all the more painful given your positions of leadership in the Jewish community. Your decision to stand with the oppressor rather than the oppressed is a betrayal of our history and values, when authentic moral leadership is more important than ever.”  

JVP’s request to meet with Jewish Federations of North America was categorically rejected because of its support for the nonviolent Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestine.

   Philadelphia Aug. 8: 6 JVP activists were arrested in a civil disobedience action on August 8 when they occupied the offices of the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia. Outside, a crowd of supporters read poems, sang songs of peace, and read the names of almost 2,000 people who have been killed in Gaza.

·      Durham Aug. 13: JVP members disrupted a Federation event in support of Israel’s war on Gaza. 

·      Washington DC Aug. 14: activists delivered the petition to the headquarters of the Religious Action Center, the political arm of Reform Judaism, while others read testimonials from former IDF soldiers about serving as an occupying army.

·      Denver Aug. 19: a newly mobilized group of JVP activists were met with hostility at the Colorado branch of the Jewish Federation when they attempted to deliver the petition and talk with Federation staff about ending the siege of Gaza.

·      New York City Aug. 20: JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson delivered the petition to at the UJA-Federation of New York. Activists from the JVP-NYC chapter then staged a public street theater performance at the Federation dressed in black, standing close together in a line to simulate the blockade, while those representing food, water, medical supplies, building supplies, electricity and other restricted items were rebuffed by the human blockade.

·      Chicago Aug. 21: JVP activists disrupted a Jewish United Fund “Stand with Israel” event featuring former Ambassador Michael Oren, directing shame and rebuke at the celebration of Israel’s war on civilians in Gaza.

·      Other JVP chapters across the US are arranging private meetings with their local Federations to encourage their institutional leaders to join the call to end the underlying conditions of siege that make life unbearable for Palestinians in Gaza.

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Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.

JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.

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