FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 6, 2019
Young American Jews Disrupt President Trump at Republican Jewish Coalition Rally, protesting Trump & Netanyahu’s violent, racist agendas which RJC actively supports
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MEDIA CONTACT: Ben Doernberg, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-971-8185
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Las Vegas: Today, 10 young American Jews disrupted Trump’s speech at the National Jewish Republican Coalition (RJC) Pro-Israel Rally at the Venetian Ballroom in Las Vegas. As soon as Trump began to speak, they stood up and chanted, “Jews are here to say Occupation is a plague. Jews are here to say white nationalism is a plague,” a reference to the 10 plagues remembered in the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover. They then sang the Hebrew song Olam Chesed Yibaneh, “We Will Build This World With Love” as they were removed from the auditorium.
Here is the statement from the IfNotNow members who disrupted Trump’s speech:
“We took action today two weeks before the Jewish holiday of Passover, when Jews are commanded to remember the bitterness of slavery and our own oppression. Trump is a modern-day Pharaoh, and IfNotNow calls on our community to reject the plagues of Occupation and white nationalism.
RJC’s embrace of Trump and Netanyahu goes against the Jewish moral tradition by giving political cover to their racist, violent agendas — which are a threat to people around the world and to the future of the American Jewish community.
Trump and other Republican leaders conflate their unquestioning support of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu with support for American Jews — a view that the RJC promotes as well. However we know the opposite is true: President Trump and the Republican party have incited and emboldened racist and white nationalist violence in this country, which culminated in last year’s massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 of our Jewish elders were killed during Saturday morning prayers by a self-identified white nationalist. Meanwhile, the current Israeli government continues to find common cause with antisemites, racists, and Holocaust revisionists, from Poland and Hungary, to Brazil and the United States, putting Jews around the world at risk from nationalist violence. Just this past week, Netanyahu welcomed the openly racist and homophobic Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who, while in Israel as Netanyahu’s guest, claimed that the Nazis were leftists. The Israeli prime minister, with the RJC and Trump’s support, is actively fostering Holocaust revisionism.
American Jews must act while President Trump and the Republicans use their vocal support for the right-wing Israeli government as cover for fomenting violent hatred — towards Muslims, immigrants, Jews, and other historically marginalized people in the United States. No to Trump, no to occupation, no to antisemitism, and no to white nationalism! Our tradition demands freedom and dignity for all.
We call on our community to reject Trump, Netanyahu, and the RJC, who all promote separation of families, endless occupation, attacks on refugees, and more bloodshed. Violence begets violence; walls and dehumanization will never keep our community safe. The overwhelming majority of American Jews align ourselves instead with those people targeted by Trump and Netanyahu’s racist and violent agenda. Our generation is helping build a flourishing, liberated community based on a vision of safety and security, grounded in solidarity, for all people.
Our generation refuses to allow Trump, Netanyahu, and the RJC to use our people as a cover to justify the daily nightmares of occupation in Israel-Palestine and militarized immigration regime of family separation and internment camps for asylum seekers at the U.S-Mexico border.”
In attendance at the RJC event today was Sheldon Adelson, who owns the Venetian Hotel where the event took place. Adelson is a major donor to both the GOP and the Israeli right, and a force behind the Trump administration’s actions entrenching the Occupation. He also funds numerous organizations in the US that dehumanize Palestinians and incite anti-Arab violence, and has fought to shut down dissent within the American Jewish community. This includes hundreds of millions given to Birthright Israel, an educational institution which IfNotNow members have been asking to make simple changes for over a year, culminating in a massive demonstration at Birthright’s headquarters yesterday, in which 15 Jewish college students were arrested.
This year’s RJC convention also falls near the one-year mark since the start of the Great Return March, a series of protests in Gaza during which Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators. According to the United Nations, Israeli forces have shot and killed 200 demonstrators, including 41 children, and have injured over 29,187 with impunity. On May 14, 2018, while the Trump, Netanyahu, Adelson, and leaders of American Jewish organizations celebrated the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, an hour’s drive away Israeli forces shot and killed over 60 Palestinian protesters. Trump praised Netanyahu’s violent policies toward protesters, suggesting that U.S. soldiers follow Israel’s example and shoot at asylum seekers at the U.S./Mexico border—while also promoting the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that George Soros was funding the caravan.
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IfNotNow is a movement led by young Jews to transform the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation into a call for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. IfNotNow has chapters in dozens of college campuses and major cities across North America, including in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montreal, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the San Francisco Bay Area, Toronto, and Washington, DC.
You can learn more about IfNotNow at www.ifnotnowmovement.org