What, what, what are they so afraid of?
Maybe you know Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace Deputy Director. She's smart and tireless, passionate and committed. And, without a doubt, she is one of my heroes.
Turns out, I'm far from the only one that thinks so. A young rabbinical student and member of JVP's Rabbinical Council nominated Cecilie for theJewish Federations' Community Heroes Award. We knew what nominating someone like Cecilie means for our movement: recognition of the many many Jews, young and old, who support equality, democracy and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis.
We let folks know about Cecilie's nomination on Twitter and on Facebook, just like the competition organizers suggested. And Cecilie was steadily running in 9th or 10th place in the voting among thousands of nominees. We couldn't have been more proud—or more excited about her moving on to the semi-finals as part of the Top 10.
And then...suddenly...she was gone. In what can only be considered an act of fear and discrimination, the Jewish Federations of North America removed her nomination.
I wish I could say I was surprised. But, sadly, I'm not. This is what happens when you speak the truth with and for the hundreds of thousands Jews and friends in this country and beyond—those of us who are not represented by the large Jewish institutions, the self-appointed spokespeople—and, apparently, gatekeepers—of who belongs in the Jewish community.
It's certainly not the most important issue we're dealing with. But it is so indicative of the attempt to engineer what is acceptable to talk about, think about, and care about in the Jewish community that we just can't take it sitting down.
Standing up is what we do. It's what Cecilie does, it's why she was nominated, and why she was winning.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director
Jewish Voice for Peace
PS. Check out what Cecilie herself wrote about her deleted nomination: "Getting banished by the Jewish Federation on Yom Kippur."