From Ramallah to Sacramento: Stop attacking activists!
SACRAMENTO and RAMALLAH (July 31, 2020) — From Ramallah to Sacramento, to Minneapolis, to Portland, to Brooklyn and beyond, activists across the country and the globe are fighting back against a wave of state repression and police violence.
At 3am on Thursday in Ramallah, Israeli forces stormed the home of Mahmoud Nawajaa, handcuffing, blindfolding and taking him away from his wife and three young children. Mahmoud, the General Coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee and a widely respected Palestinian human rights defender, is being held without charge. BDS Movement co-Founder Omar Barghouti said: “Mahmoud is a role model for Palestinians, and an inspiration to advocates of Palestinian rights everywhere. Israel is desperately trying to terrorize Palestinian BDS activists and their families, after having failed to slow down the growth of the movement. BDS is becoming a key component of the global progressive wave that fights for Indigenous, racial, economic, social, gender and climate justice.”
Earlier this week in Sacramento, 14 undocumented activists and immigration attorneys were arrested protesting outside the home of California Governor Newsom to demand the immediate release of people in state and immigration prisons. Protesters who chained themselves to the gate of Newsom’s home were arrested and held in detention for 13 hours, and denied access to PPE. Brisa Camacho-Lovell, a member of the JVP BIJOCSM Caucus and one of the action’s designated support people, said: “Detainees have been on hunger and labor strikes demanding protection from COVID since the start of the California shut-down. I joined the action on Monday to bring the fight of California’s detained to the outside world – and we on the outside can no longer look away.” Brisa added: “We are living through a global revolution and the fight for the health of detained and incarcerated folks is a part of the global uprising against systemic racism and oppression.”
Across the U.S., protests in defense of Black lives and against police violence have continued for over two months. Stefanie Fox, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said: “The parallels between the state violence in the U.S. and in Israel against social justice activists have never been clearer. As the global uprising for justice continues, more and more governments are engaging in repressive violence against demonstrators. Whether it’s dragging activists into unmarked vans or dragging them from their homes at night, we say Free Them All!”
Reporting from Minneapolis, where the protests against the police killing of George Floyd began in May, Josina Manu Maltzman, a member of the JVP-Twin Cities chapter, said: “I saw first-hand how the state cracks down on activists in Minneapolis. During the uprisings, as Jewish supporters in a Black-led Movement, we’re dedicating all our resources to lift up and support this important work. From Minneapolis to Palestine, we have to fight back.”
In New York City, where earlier this week police in broad daylight dragged a demonstrator out of a protest and into an unmarked van, Aitan Groener, of JVP-NYC, pointed out that, “Prisons, police, and military violence are used in the U.S., Israel and around the world to undermine political movements and uphold white supremacy. I am grateful for the solidarity that Palestinian organizers have offered to the movement for Black lives and I look forward to the world we are building together.” They added, “I was proud to join the Black-led protests against police violence in NYC. From here, to Portland, to Ramallah, our resistance is only growing stronger!”
In Portland, where for two weeks Federal Agents in camouflage roamed the streets attacking demonstrators, Maxine Fookson, of JVP’s Health Advisory Council, said: “In this inspiring moment, galvanized by the movement in defense of Black lives, protesters around the world are uniting for justice and equality – and the response by militarized police is beyond reprehensible. Here in Portland, we have seen the escalation of violence, outright injuries, toxic exposure from tear gas, and other ‘non-lethal’ munitions by federal troops. Occupying forces need to leave our cities – from Portland to Palestine, from the US-Mexico border to the Gaza Border.”
Omar Barghouti, JVP members and staff are available for interviews.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 500,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.