Arts and Culture

CULTURE AS STRATEGY

The beautiful work above, by artist Mara Gerson, was offered to JVP members as a Rosh Hashanah card to bring in 5779 with justice, hope, and solidarity. The project is one example of the many ways that art breathes life into our social justice movements.

Offering art and cultural work to both strengthen organizing as well as shape its strategy, the artists and cultural workers of JVP draw on various histories and diverse disciplines to lift up radical Jewish histories; to raise collective awareness about the Nakba and the ongoing colonization of historic Palestine; to support cultural boycott and other local and national BDS campaigns; to partner with Palestinian artists and uplift Palestinian cultural resistance; to reclaim Jewish ritual and stories; to center the voices and vision of Jews of Color, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews; and to challenge the mobilization of Jewish trauma to support Israeli state violence.

JVP’s work needs artists and cultural workers to help us envision more just and possible futures– not simply what is politically “practical” in this moment.

Art compels us to question, invites us to memory, provokes us to act. What does a pluralistic, socially just, multi-ethnic, vibrant, safe, and flourishing Israel/Palestine look like? What do the houses and cities look like? Which books are on the shelves? What does an open, joyous, diverse, global Jewish community feel like? What do we pray about? How do our instruments sound?

Art is one of our strongest tools for representing resistance… For painting a picture of the world that we know is possible… For activating and sustaining the energy needed to, with love and hope, work towards rendering it as real.

“A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of devastation is one of the great historical contributions of humankind.” -Grace Lee Boggs

WORK

JVP ARTIST COUNCIL & GALLERIES

Inspired by Jewish activist and artistic traditions, JVP’s Artists and Cultural Workers Council convened as a group of Jews and allies drawing on diverse histories, experiences, and disciplines– including visual art, music, poetry, circus, literature, dance, theater, embodiment, comics, ritual, media, photography, technology, film/video, and more– with the goal of supporting JVP’s work in the larger movement for peace and justice in Palestine and the U.S., by offering art and cultural work to both strengthen organizing as well as shape its strategy.

GALLERIES HERE

REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE

Designed by artist Micah Bazant, the “Refugees Are Welcome Here” poster has become an icon of 21st century social justice movements. It has been used by JVP chapters across the country to canvas as part of grassroots refugee & Muslim solidarity work. Micah has since created multiple works that can be downloaded for free, whether for display in the windows of homes, schools, businesses, & places of worship, or held up at rallies, marches, & other actions for a liberated collective future.

LINKS

Refugees Welcome JVP Homepage
Micah Bazant’s Website
No Muslim Ban Ever
JVP Anti-Violence Artwork for download

THE ASYMMETRICAL TABLE

On BDS, indigenous food sovereignty, and making our movement delicious!
A victorious 2-year collaboration with PACBI, Food Book Fair, AMP’s Dream Cafe project, and the brilliant chefs of this creative resistance to Brand Israel’s culture-washing food fest.

LINKS

PRESS RELEASES: Open Letter from Culinary Figures & Victory!
FILM: On JVP YouTube / FB / IG
MEDIA COVERAGE: Gothamist (11/2/2018) • The Times of Israel (11/6/2018) • Vice Munchies (11/9/2018) • Ha’aretz (11/13/2018) • Middle East Monitor (11/14/2018) • The Racist Sandwich podcast (11/14/2018) • Electronic Intifada (11/16/2018)

(Photo credit Heidi’s Bridge)

SOLIDARITY WITH DAREEN TATOUR

FreeDareenTatour.org (Trial, media, poetry, & other information about her case)
JVP Campaign (with poem by Naomi Shihab Nye & list of petition signers)
Press Release: Literary Figures Speak Out in Solidarity with Imprisoned Palestinian Poet Dareen Tatour (Aug.2017)
JVP solidarity video marking the 2-year anniversary of Dareen’s arrest
PEN America “Writers at Risk” profile on Dareen
JVP letter with 5,000 signatures read to Dareen at her freedom celebration (Sept.2018)
On the GrayLit Culture Hub: Dispatches from Imprisoned Poets & Roses in Salted Soil

DJS4BDS: The People’s Party for Palestine

DJ’s, VJ’s, organizers, and party people came together the Saturday night after Nakba Day 2018 to release, learn, connect, and raise funds for the youth led cultural work of Shoruq in Dheisheh Refugee Camp.

The namesake site and online letter, signed by dozens of DJ’s, states:
“We the undersigned… support the global campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian human rights… We will not accept any offers to play in Israel, or accept any funding from any institutions linked to the Israeli government until these goals (of BDS) are met.”

(Check out pics from the party here)

EXPOSING ‘CREATIVE COMMUNITY FOR PEACE’

They claim to be dedicated to “building bridges” through the arts… But legal documents and a damning confidential report prove Creative Community for Peace is a front group for right-wing Israel lobby group StandWithUs.

Fact Sheet here
JVP Press Release here
PACBI Action Alert (with salient excerpts from leaked report) here

CIRQUE SQUAD PROTEST POSSE AT ‘CELEBRATE ISRAEL DAY’ PARADE

As some took to the streets to celebrate Israeli occupation and apartheid, the JVP Cirque Squad took to the streets with flying colors to protest the continued dispossession of Palestinians, and the absurdity of the U.S. and Israel’s Deadly Exchange.

(See the Cirque Squad getting ready to wow & in action!)

SOCIAL JUSTICE JUDAICA

JVP’s Judaica store highlights independent artists in the Jewish diaspora who support struggles for justice, dignity, and freedom. Featuring “Judaica with Jewish values,” the store points to artists who are involved in justice work / use ethical labor and resource practices.

These artists are providing alternatives to items that are made in the State of Israel, as it continues to occupy and displace Palestinian people. Many JVP members choose to buy ritual items that honor the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli products while others are interested in supporting vibrant Jewish life in the diaspora and investing in independent artists.

(NOTE: All purchases go directly through the artists’ sites and sales platforms.)

(NOT) THE NEW YORK TIMES

As one of the leading sources for news in the United States and worldwide, the New York Times has a duty to its readers to provide fair, balanced, and fact-based coverage. But when it comes to reporting on Israel/Palestine, the Times & other news platforms fall short… So JVP-NYC and Jews Say No! created a paper that reflects the news we believe needs and deserves to be reported.

(View the mock website here!)

PEN AMERICA: CHOOSE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OVER ISRAELI GOVERNMENT $

Following a campaign led by AdalahNY, Jewish Voice for Peace, and literary figures concerned with justice and free speech, leading literary organization PEN America held their annual World Voices festival without funding from the Israeli government, which jails Palestinian journalists and writers for their work. More than 250 writers, poets, translators, and publishers – many members of PEN – signed an appeal urging PEN America to end their relationship with Israel’s government until everyone has equal rights, including freedom of expression. Signers included Pulitzer and other award-winning figures such as Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, Louise Erdrich, Cornel West, Eileen Myles, Russel Bank, Wallace Shawn, and Viet Thanh Nguyen.

LINKS

CAMPAIGN PAGE: AdalahNY
MEDIA COVERAGE: Broadway World / Electronic Intifada / (+others)
PRESS RELEASE: Victory!
“After appeal by leading writers, major US literary festival will proceed without Israeli government sponsorship”

THEATER ARTISTS IN SOLIDARITY WITH BLACK LIVES MATTER

Following the cancellation of an NYC benefit event, JVP theater artists spearheaded this solidarity statement which garnered sign-on from Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Annie Baker, Tony Award-Nominated Performers Kathleen Chalfant, Justin Vivian Bond, and Tonya Pinkins, and many others.

“We, the undersigned, are deeply disturbed and disappointed by Feinstein’s/54 Below’s decision to cancel a scheduled benefit concert for Black Lives Matter. This decision, ostensibly due to “a recent addition to the BLM platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions,” both undermines the visionary leadership of the Movement for Black Lives and contributes to the institutionalized silencing of advocates for Palestinian human rights…”

LINKS

JVP Press Release
NYT Coverage (9/8/2016)
NYT Coverage (9/19/2016)

IMAGINING THE WORLD TO COME

What would a world without police, prisons, detention, extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance look like?How would that impact our Jewish communities?
How can we change all our communities to make that world more possible?

Reflections on this moment of collective struggle from JVP artists, academics, and spiritual leaders…

DeadlyExchange.org/ImaginingTheWorldToCome

GRAYLIT CULTURE HUB

The GrayLit Culture Hub aims to contribute to an emergent culture shift happening at the intersections of Palestinian and Jewish histories, via critical thought and art from and about interdependent movements for justice.

(Incubated in partnership with JVP,
with generous support from The Anita L. Mishler Education Fund)

Visit GrayLit

WATCH JVP’S STORY

Back in the mid-90s, three young Jewish women realized they could no longer keep silent about Israel’s occupation – and decided to do something about it. Watch their story – our story – here.

Deadly-Exchange-Both-Mockup-Social

GET THE DEADLY EXCHANGE REPORT

Researching the American Israeli Alliance and Jewish Voice for Peace’s report reveals the extent of massive training programs between U.S. law enforcement and Israeli police, military, and the Shin Bet.

End the Deadly Exchange

When US law enforcement trade tactics with the Israeli police and military, Israel deepens its military occupation and the US heightens its violence of policing.

Booking.com: Tell the Truth

Days ago, Booking.com bowed to pro-Israel activists and started describing all of Jerusalem as a “city in Israel” – literally erasing Palestinian East Jerusalem. Let’s get Booking.com to tell the truth: East Jerusalem is occupied territory.

Senators: Investigate Israeli Violence!

No one should be killed for taking part in a peaceful protest. It’s up to us to call on progressive Senators to investigate Israel’s massacre in Gaza that killed over 100 Palestinians wounded 12,000 others.

Huge Palestinian march with text overlaid reading "support the #greatreturnmarch"