JVP endorses Not Free to Desist
As a Jewish organization fighting for Palestinian human rights, and committed to the struggle against antisemitism and racism, Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to sign on to the Not Free to Desist set of demands. Building on intersectional legacies of shared struggle, we commit ourselves to building Jewish–Black–Palestinian solidarity, while holding that these are not mutually exclusive identities or communities. We commit ourselves to advocating for Palestinian rights while contributing to the struggles in the US for social justice and against antisemitism, anti-Blackness and all other forms of racism. We commit ourselves to ending anti-Black racism wherever it shows up: in our organization, in our movement, and in our broader communities.
Our endorsement of these demands reflects not only our internal political work, requiring us to concretely commit to transforming our organizational policies and practices — as a workplace, on our boards, and in our community organizing — but our external work for Palestinian rights as well. We see the incredible work our members and staff have put into making JVP a more racially just and equitable organization through very conscious campaigns towards racial justice transformation, and at the same time we see many places where we have fallen short of fulfilling our values.
Our commitment to oppose racism — inside and out of JVP, in our internal work and through our support for Palestinian rights — is absolutely essential to building the organization, the Jewish community, and the world we want to see. Since 1619, when the first enslaved people arrived in Jamestown, forcibly stolen from their homes, anti-Blackness has been at the root of the United States, shaping violence here and around the world.
We see the way anti-Black and anti-Palestinian racism are deployed together, and we affirm our organizational commitment to Black-led organizations and leaders who are targeted disproportionately for their advocacy for Palestinian rights; leaders like Angela Davis, Marc Lamont Hill, and Ilhan Omar face harassment and smear campaigns that many other organizers and leaders do not face.
We commit to fighting anti-Black racism in Jewish communities; Black Jewish people face racism in Jewish institutions and communities, including but not limited to interrogation and challenge of their Jewish identities, often as a price for advocating Palestinian rights. And while no antisemitism is acceptable, Black people who make antisemitic commentsface more frequent and severe consequences than white people who do so, and Black leaders and organizations are routinely held responsible for and demanded to apologize for the remarks of others in ways that white people, Jewish or not, rarely are. One concrete way we are doing this is by creating space for BIJOCSM to take leadership on the fight against anti-blackness, antisemitism and racism, centering the voices of those directly affected. To date, more than 200 BIJOCSM leaders have signed onto the letter calling on all American Jews to divest from police.
We urge all Jewish institutions to sign on to these demands, and particularly those whose actions in the world have too often deliberately advanced those divisions. Rhetorical statements that Black lives matter mean nothing when the actions of organizations reflect anti-Palestinian and anti-Black policies, such as partnering with institutionally racist law enforcement agencies or cooperating in efforts to target Black or Palestinian activists for repression.