Jewish voice for peace

by Rabbi Alissa Wise
May 16, 2018

This week has been the biggest tragedy in Israel/Palestine in almost fifteen years. Not since 2004 have so many funerals had to be organized for innocent Palestinians in one day.

And the catalyst for this nightmare is…us.

As Americans, the new Embassy in Jerusalem sends a clear message from the Trump administration: the Israeli government can do whatever it wants. Snipers, blockades, legal assaults on basic rights, ongoing expansion – there’s evidently nothing this administration won’t sign off on.

It’s never been more clear that change in US Israel/Palestine policy is only going to come from the grassroots. 

That’s why in the wake of this tragedy we’re re-committing to an ambitious organizing goal to fundamentally change the politics of Israel/Palestine in America — organizing 5% of the American Jewish community to create the largest pro-Palestine pro-peace movement of American jews ever.

Join us and become a member today — and let’s send a powerful signal that out of this tragedy a powerful new movement is building for a true, fair and just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Watching tens of thousands of people, overwhelmingly unarmed and nonviolent, protest in Gaza for their basic right to return – it’s been as inspiring to watch as the Israeli response has been devastating. For some of us who follow Israel/Palestine closely the massacre on Monday was a disturbingly predictable tragedy after weeks of killings on the border.

But we have to remember this: for millions of people around the world, headlines over the last 48 hours are their first introduction to the  catastrophe of Gaza, the world’s largest open air prison. And we have to be there to welcome them into this movement.

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This is a crucial moment to reach out to everyone who’s shocked and outraged to create a home, and to channel our energy into building a political force that ensures this never happens again.

And if we can reach 5% of American Jews, we’ll be able to:

  • Break the impasse in DC. Every politician with a shred of progressive credibility should be speaking up for Gaza right now. It’s our job to push them to do just that – and then back them up when the right-wing backlash comes.
  • Launch a new era of Jewish communal life outside of Zionism. Imagine a Jewish community where you could bring your full political and spiritual self— without fear or shame. Imagine a Jewish community that puts our values at the center with no exceptions.
  • Forge a new Jewish tradition: listening to Palestinians. With our growing media and digital footprint, plus the educational materials we share with all our members, we make the simple act of listening transformative. There is power in using our Jewish voice – and sometimes even more power in make sure others take the lead.

It’s a big plan and a lot of people to reach — but after everything that’s happened this week we can’t aim small. That’s why I’m asking for you to join us, and become an official JVP member today.

Rabbi Alissa Wise
Deputy Director

* Jewish Voice for Peace is a national membership organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the justice, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel/Palestine