JEWS ACROSS THE US OPPOSE THE ASSAULT ON GAZA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Naomi Dann: 503-952-6205; Naomi@jvp.org
JEWS ACROSS THE US OPPOSE THE ASSAULT ON GAZA
Jewish Voice for Peace chapters call for a withdrawal of Israeli troops, an end to the bombing, and an end to the Israeli occupation
July 18, 2014—Deeply concerned Jews across the US are organizing in solidarity with Palestinians to call for an end to the devastating assault on Gaza. Since July 7, Israel has killed upwards of 250 Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 80% of whom were civilians including 44 children. In a coordinated effort in cities across the US, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) chapters have organized street protests, demonstrations and civil disobedience actions to call for an end to the invasion, an end to the bombing, and an end to the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
Following news of a ground invasion on July 17, JVP activists across the United States are mobilizing for emergency actions to demand an end to the violence, highlighting the support from the US government and American companies that enable the current devastation. Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson stated, “The U.S. acts as Israel’s supplier and enabler, providing $3 billion a year in aid. Each of us, as Americans, is responsible to hold our government accountable. For those of us who are Jewish, we must shout out that these deplorable attacks are not in our name.”
An open letter to the Jewish community in the US and in Israel calling for an end to the assault on Gaza with over 65,000 signatures will be published in the Jewish Daily Forward and Haaretz. The JVP letter asserts that, “Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice compels us to acknowledge that the crisis in Israel and Palestine is rooted in the idea that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.” This violence has a root cause: Israel's illegal occupation.
Last week, as part of a national campaign organized by the WeDivest campaign, activists targeted US corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation, calling on companies to end their complicity in the ongoing violence. Jewish Voice for Peace chapters organized and participated in protests and street demonstrations in Seattle, DC, Albany, Ithaca, Westchester, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Boston and New York.
Sample of actions in the last week:
In Chicago, 5 JVP activists were arrested in an act of civil disobedience inside the headquarters of Boeing on July 16. The Boeing Company was listed in 2012 as the second biggest arms supplier worldwide. Boeing has sold Israel F-15A fighter jets and Apache AH 64 helicopters currently being used in attacks on Gaza.
In the Bay Area, JVP activists staged a “die-in” at Hewlett-Packard (HP) Headquarters to protest HP’s complicity in and profit from the violence being perpetrated by the Israeli government and army against the Palestinian people. Activists read the names of those killed and recited the kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. HP’s information technology administers the Israeli navy’s electronic infrastructure, and provides all PCs used by the Israeli military.
In New York, JVP activists participated in a demonstration that interrupted a press conference at City Hall where elected officials expressed their support for Israel on July 15. Gordon Beeferman, 37, carried a sign reading, ‘NYC Jews Say Not In Our Name.’ “I’m a New Yorker, I’m Jewish, and I find it painful what’s happening in Gaza. I’m very upset, and I’m here because I want people to know that not all Jews support the policies of Israel,” he said. “What’s happening is unconscionable. What Israel’s doing is not going to help Jews, it’s not going to help Israel. It’s going to lead to more blood and more conflict.”
In Washington DC, JVP activists participated in a “die-in” at the White House on July 16 in coalition with Students for Justice in Palestine and Codepink. 350-400 people participated in the action, wearing cardboard tombstones around their necks for each of the Palestinians who had been killed in Gaza that week. Activists also participated in a rally outside the Israeli embassy on July 11.
In Seattle on July 16, about 50 JVP activists held a “die-in” along with a human version of the “war machine” enabling Israel's decades-long war on and Occupation of Palestinians. Demonstrators used street theater to represent the 3 billion dollars in annual US tax dollars that flow unrestricted to Israel, as well as companies such as Boeing, Veolia, Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, Elbit Systems, and Northrop Grumman, all corporations that contribute to and profit from the Israeli Occupation.
In Boston, JVP activists rallied in solidarity at a candlelit vigil in solidarity with Gaza on July 17. A protest on July 13 organized by JVP Boston that drew over 100 people marched to Macy’s at Downtown Crossing to call on the company to stop selling Sodastream products. Sodastream has a factory deep in a West Bank settlement. Settlements are part of the ongoing occupation, the root cause of the current violence.
For a lasting peace to be achieved, Israel must be held accountable for its human rights violations. In solidarity with the international Palestinian call for nonviolent resistance to Israeli brutality through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, we call for end of the ability of companies like Boeing to make massive profits from Israeli-inflicted bloodshed. We must divest university endowments, pension funds, and church funds from companies that profit from and perpetuate the suffering of Palestinians. When the profit is taken out of the business of occupying another people against their will, Israel will take the necessary steps toward peace by ending the occupation and siege of the West Bank and Gaza. Until then, the war on civilians will continue.
Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org) is a national, grassroots organization dedicated to achieving a just and lasting peace that recognizes the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 130,000 online supporters, 40 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Cabinet, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.