Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People carry signs reading "Jews Against Apartheid" during the Los Angeles Nakba 73: Resistance Until Liberation rally.

People carry signs reading "Jews Against Apartheid" during the Los Angeles Nakba 73: Resistance Until Liberation rally and protest outside the Consulate of Israel on May 15, 2021. (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Jewish Defenders of Palestinian Rights Say 'Together We Can Stop Machinery of Division and Fear'

"The work of dismantling all oppression is OUR collective work. We will not be pitted against each other."

Julia Conley

More than 300 Jewish rights activists, writers, educators, and other leaders on Wednesday published an open letter unequivocally rejecting claims that recent antisemitic attacks in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities are connected to the movement for Palestinian freedom. 

The signatories, including healthcare advocate Ady Barkan, author Judith Butler, and activist Phyllis Bennis, emphasized that "safety comes through solidarity," declaring, "We won't be distracted. We won't be divided."

"The work of dismantling all oppression is OUR collective work. We will not be pitted against each other," the letter reads.

The letter was published on Medium less than two weeks after a ceasefire halted an 11-day assault by the Israel Defense Forces on Gaza.

Some Palestinian rights advocates in recent weeks have acknowledged a groundswell in support for the victims of Israel's decades-long apartheid and lomgstanding violence against Palestinian people, which most recently killed at least 243 Palestinians including 66 children.

Support for Palestinians and criticism of Israel's government, the leaders wrote, must not be conflated with "fringe antisemitic events" which have long been "swiftly and roundly condemned by movement leadership."

The letter comes days after four House Democrats—Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Kathy Manning of North Carolina, and Dean Phillips of Minnesota—sent a letter to President Joe Biden conflating violence against Jewish Americans with statements by progressives lawmakers including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a Palestinian-American, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) labeling Israel as an "apartheid state."

Efforts to connect attacks on Jewish people and places of worship to the movement for Palestinian rights represent a "thinly veiled attempt to delegitimize Palestinian leadership and distract from Palestinians experiencing state violence by Israel," the Jewish leaders said. "We will continue speaking out against the violence in Israel-Palestine."


"We support our Palestinian siblings' right to describe their lived experiences without being accused of antisemitism," the signatories wrote. "Even if their terms make us uncomfortable or we disagree with their analysis, we refuse to be more outraged by the words Palestinians use than the actual violence they endure. Similarly, we refuse to allow progressive leaders of color who speak out in support of Palestinian rights to be smeared for their principled stand."

"Together we can stop the machinery of division and fear used to keep us isolated and vulnerable," they added. "We won't be distracted from our fight for freedom and safety for all people."

A number of the leaders who signed the letter spoke out about the statement on social media.

"Palestinians are still facing evictions, blockade, and state repression," said Evan Weber, co-founder of Sunrise Movement. "Let's not be divided or distracted."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Trump's CIA Considered Kidnapping or Assassinating Assange: Report

"The Biden administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately."

Jake Johnson ·

'Carrying Water for Big Corporations': Sinema Faces Backlash for Opposing Tax Hikes

"Make no mistake, if she sides with her wealthy donors and kills popular investments to jump-start the economy, everyday families—including across Arizona—will pay the price."

Jake Johnson ·

UN Chief Warns Humanity Is 'Unacceptably Close to Nuclear Annihilation'

"Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Jake Johnson ·

Coalition Slams UN Food Summit for Peddling 'Corporate-Led False Solutions' to Hunger

"The U.N. has finally made it clear what 'multilateralism' is all about—paying lip service to the people while skewing priorities for the interests of imperialists and monopoly capitalists."

Jake Johnson ·

'Political Malpractice': House Democrats' Bill Wouldn't Add Dental to Medicare Until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo