Support human rights advocates
Palestinians who are struggling for their freedom are increasingly joined by Israelis and internationals inspired by the Palestinian model of unarmed resistance to occupation and discrimination. But the Israeli government has responded to this hopeful movement with a brutal crackdown on human rights advocates.
While many internationals and Israeli Jews work with great passion for human rights for all peoples, it is Palestinian advocates who are typically targeted by the government with the greatest intensity.
Bassem and Naji Tamimi are two such Palestinian advocates. They are fathers, scholars, committed peace activists who are being jailed by Israel for their leadership in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh's protests. Since demonstrations began in the village, Bassem's house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was arrested twice and two of his sons were injured - Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days after a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. Nabi Saleh been raided day and by night, causing hundreds of injuries and carrying out 75 protest-related arrests - more than 10% of the village's 550 person population—including women and many children. The European Union has spoken out about Bassem's treatment.
Jewish Voice for Peace has collected almost 7000 signatures calling for Bassem and Naji Tamimi's freedom.
Click here to sign the letter.
Click here to read a letter from Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council Co-Chair Brant Rosen calling for the Tamimi's freedom.
Click here to read our first letter on the case.
Bassem and Naji Tamimi are not alone. Many Palestinians sit in prison for standing up in unarmed resistance against the occupation, and some Israelis have been jailed as well. Palestinians like Abdallah Abu Rahmah, who was convicted in an unfair trial and was finally released after serving 16 months. Or Mohammed Othman, a human rights advocate who was jailed last year and only freed after an international campaign. Or Khalida Jarrah, the President of Addameer, the Palestinian prisoners' support and human rights association, an organization that has documented the ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees. Ms. Jarrah is also a legislator, but even her parliamentary privileges apparently did not allow her to travel to Jordan for urgently needed medical care. In a Kafkaesque twist, Israel didn't allow her to travel without proof of illness, but she couldn't diagnose her illness without travelling. Israel also targetted Israeli citizens like Ameer Makhoul, who was held incommunicado for weeks under a gag order and was forced to plead guilty despite a lack of evidence against him. And increasingly, even Jewish Israelis find their privilege does not protect them, as members of the Shministim (high school seniors) face jail time for their activities. While they have only served sentences of weeks, rather than months or years typically served by Palestinians, they still face uncertain futures. Jonathan Pollak, who has campaigned for freedom for Abdallah Abu Rahmah and others, served 3 months in prison with his "head held high after he was arrested for riding a bicycle. Or Ezra Nawi, who faced years of harassment for his courageous activism.
These are only a few examples. Jewish Voice for Peace spoke out against these and other injustices. We documented them on our blog The Only Democracy, and told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American-Jewish leaders as well to use their influence to press Israel to end these abuses, which threaten the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. We continue to work for a just peace based on human rights equality, and international law for all the peoples of Israel and Palestine.
While the stories can seem dispiriting, they are proof of how much impact these advocates are having. Here in the United States, we can act in support. Time and again, we are told how much of a difference it makes to people on the ground to know they are not alone, that the world is watching and supporting their protests.
Watch video of Abdallah Abu Rahmah's release:
Tell American-Jewish leaders to speak out against these abuses.