Press

Diaspora Jews and Israelis demonstrated to highlight the way the Israeli state uses violence on Palestinians and to protest right-wing extremists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2017
Contact: Leanne Gale
054-387-0905
press@ifnotnowmovement.org


Jerusalem — More than 50 Jewish anti-Occupation activists from around the world joined with Israelis on Wednesday in a non-violent demonstration in opposition to the annual March of the Flags, a violent event that celebrates the Israeli capture and occupation of East Jerusalem following the Six-Day War in 1967. During the course of the protest, ​several Israeli and international Jews were injured — including at least one person who suffered a broken arm — after refusing to allow the police to force Palestinian shops in the Old City to close.

​The activists intentionally formed a blockade as right-wing Israeli marchers began assaulting Palestinians outside the Damascus Gate. Once the blockade was formed, the protestors were stormed by a group of right-wing Israeli extremists. The Israeli authorities violently dispersed the activists. At least one American Jewish activist may have a broken arm and is en route to the hospital.

This year’s March of the Flags was especially symbolic, coming exactly 50 years after the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories began and just one day after President Trump visited the region. The activists were members of IfNotNow, Free Jerusalem, and All That’s Left, different organizations that are part of the growing anti-Occupation movement in the Jewish community.

“Over the past 50 years, the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian territory has become more and more entrenched, making the daily existence of Palestinians harder and harder. Today we acted to urge our community back home to shake off its complacency and join Jews around the world calling for an end to the Occupation,” said Talia Kravitz, an IfNotNow member who lives in New York.

The demonstration started in the early afternoon as dozens of Jews joined together to shop in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, knowing that just hours later these same shops would be forced closed by the Israeli authorities in order to clear the path for the right-wing extremists later in the day. They wanted to put their money where their hearts were. In the weeks leading up to Jerusalem Day, they canvassed stores in West Jerusalem and got more than 20 to put up signs in their windows opposing the forced closure of Palestinian shops. Two Jewish-owned stores in West Jerusalem even went as far as to strike, closing their own shops in solidarity with their Palestinian counterparts.

Following this act of economic solidarity, the activists used their bodies to block Israeli security forces from entering the Old City via the Damascus Gate. The organizers intended to stop one of the clearest ways that the Israeli state uses violence against Palestinians in service of right-wing Jewish extremists — a trend seen across the Occupied Territories.

Before it was ripped from their hands, they held a banner that read “End the Occupation” in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. They also sang songs in Hebrew and chanted slogans like “Now, now is the time; Jews must stand with Palestine.”

“Trump’s supporters are eerily similar to the sort of right-wing Jewish extremists who march through the Old City every year, chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’ and assaulting any Palestinian that happens to be in the area. Our community has seen that sort of racism and nationalism before, and we know how devastating the costs can be.” said ​Zoe Rudow, an IfNotNow member from Oakland.

There are hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, and, according to the activists, the claim of a “unified” city hides the deep legal, economic, and political disparities between the Palestinian and Jewish residents of the city.

“For 50 years, Palestinians in Jerusalem have lived under an oppressive, unequal system. The illusion of ‘unification’ on Jerusalem Day makes the Palestinians living in the city invisible, and comes at the expense of their freedom of movement and livelihood,” said Uri Agnon, a member of Free Jerusalem and lifelong resident of Jerusalem.

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IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. It is also helping to lead the #JewishResistance against the Trump administration, organizing to get the Jewish establishment to leverage its resources as part of the broader resistance. IfNotNow has chapters in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Austin, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. For more information: www.ifnotnowmovement.org

Free Jerusalem is an activist group based in Jerusalem, working in solidarity with Palestinian movements and local leaders in East Jerusalem to fight the occupation in general and its expressions in Jerusalem. The group organizes demonstrations, direct actions, solidarity tours and educational panels.

All That’s Left is a collective unequivocally opposed to the occupation and committed to building the diaspora angle of resistance.

Diaspora Jews and Israelis will confront the violence of 50 years of Occupation with civil disobedience On Eve of Trump Visit, Diaspora Jews and Israelis Join Together to Confront March of the Flags

MEDIA ADVISORY
Contact: Leanne Gale
Phone: 054-387-0905
Email:leanne.rebecca.gale@gmail.com

One day after President Trump completes his visit to the region, Jews from around the world will come together to stand in solidarity with Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, and physically confront the March of the Flags, a nationalist celebration of 50 years to the Occupation of East Jerusalem and the dispossession of its Palestinian residents.

The annual March of the Flags often involves assault of Palestinian passersby, vandalism of Palestinian shops, and racist chanting such as “Death to the Arabs,” while the Jerusalem Municipality authorizes the march and turns a blind eye to its violence. Each year, Israeli police “sterilizes” the streets, involving injuries and arbitrary arrests of Palestinian residents. We plan to stop this potential lynch mob by means of nonviolent civil disobedience.

The right-wing nationalism and racism that drives those who will march through East Jerusalem on Wednesday mirrors the political climate that led to the election of President Donald Trump. Our Jewish communities should know only too well where violent nationalism leads.

This unique collaboration between Israeli and diaspora Jews marks a significant step in the growing Jewish anti-Occupation movement.

WHO: Members of IfNotNow, Free Jerusalem, All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective, and Standing Together.

WHAT: Members and supporters will arrive in the Muslim Quarter for a morning of economic solidarity by shopping at Palestinian stores before the stores are forced to close. Following this, we will document the Israeli government shutting down Palestinian stores, and then use civil disobedience to confront the March of the Flags before it passes through Damascus Gate.

WHERE: Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 24th . The demonstration of economic solidarity will begin at 1pm and the civil disobedience will begin between 3pm and 4:00pm.

The story of Jerusalem is incomplete without naming the story of hundreds of thousands of its Palestinian residents — and the 50-year Occupation under which they live. The March of Flags will celebrate 50 years since the so-called “unification” of Jerusalem, a city racially divided by the Separation Barrier, an eight-meter high concrete wall. The illusion of “unification” on Jerusalem Day makes the Palestinians living in the city invisible and comes at the expense of their freedom of movement and livelihood.

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IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. It is also helping to lead the #JewishResistance against the Trump administration, organizing to get the Jewish establishment to leverage its resources as part of the broader resistance. IfNotNow has chapters in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Austin, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. For more information: www.ifnotnowmovement.org

Free Jerusalem is an activist group based in Jerusalem, working in solidarity with Palestinian movements and local leaders in east Jerusalem to fight the occupation in general and its expressions in Jerusalem. The group organizes demonstrations, direct actions, solidarity tours and educational panels.

All That’s Left is a collective unequivocally opposed to the occupation and committed to building the diaspora angle of resistance.

Standing Together is a new grassroots initiative to build a broad Jewish-Arab movement grounded in principles of peace, equality and social justice. Their holistic worldview addresses the interrelation between the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories; growing social and economic disparities within Israeli society, and the government’s attacks on democratic freedoms and the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.

American Jews Protest Pro-Israel Conference on Eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation

More than 1,000 demonstrate outside annual AIPAC policy conference in protest of group’s support for occupation

PHOTOS OF THE PROTEST ARE BELOW.

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2017Contact:
Yonah Lieberman
yonah.lieberman@gmail.com
202-277-6602

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 1,000 Jews and allies marched on Sunday on the annual policy conference held by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel institution in the American Jewish community. Following the march, members of IfNotNow dropped two banners inside the conference which read “IfNotNow Rejects AIPAC and the Occupation #JewishResistance”.

This year’s conference, the first of Donald Trump’s presidency, comes during the 50th year of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. The protesters emphasized that in this time, AIPAC has done more than any other Jewish institution to entrench the occupation and normalize its effects in the American Jewish community.

“Trump’s first year in office and the 50th year of occupation are coming together to pose a unique crises for the American Jewish community,” said Mira Revesz, an IfNotNow spokesperson who came from Philadelphia, “This crisis calls for nothing less than bold, moral action that can transform our community.”

The demonstration — organized by members of IfNotNow, a national movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation — occurs amidst a sharp rise of public antisemitism and just days after David Friedman, widely considered a pro-occupation extremist, was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Israel. AIPAC congratulated Friedman over twitter and has not expressed public concern over the rise of antisemitism.

“I’ve never seen the sort of antisemitism we’re seeing today, but despite bomb threats and desecrated cemeteries, AIPAC has chosen to remain silent,” said Sara Sandmel, an IfNotNow member from Boston. “This proves without a doubt that AIPAC will be pro-Israel at any cost, prioritizing the occupation over the safety of the Jewish community and other marginalized people in America.”

The crowd rallied and marched from Franklin Square before chaining themselves to two of the primary entrances of the convention center, where the AIPAC conference is being held. The people who dropped the banner inside were roughly escorted out by AIPAC security while singing “Lo Yisa Goy”, a Jewish song about peace.

Vice President Mike Pence will be a keynote speaker at the conference. He is expected to affirm the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security while sidestepping Israel’s military control over the Palestinian population. IfNotNow protesters seek to call attention to links between inflammatory rhetoric and acts targeting minority groups nationwide, and support for Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.

“The choice has never been clearer for the American Jewish community: We cannot oppose the Trump Administration without also opposing the 50-year-long occupation. Trump and Bibi are two sides of the same coin and we have a responsibility to resist both. We invite all Jews of conscience to be the leaders that our community needs,” said IfNotNow spokesperson Morriah Kaplan from New York City, “Those of us protesting AIPAC and supporting the broader resistance to Trump are acting on the core moral values of Judaism: freedom and dignity for all.”

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IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. It is also helping to lead the #JewishResistance against the Trump administration, organizing to get the Jewish establishment to leverage its resources as part of the broader resistance. Over the past several months, IfNotNow has been organizing mass demonstrations against Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump, and the American Jewish establishment’s failure to take moral action against them. IfNotNow has chapters in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.

For more information: www.ifnotnowmovement.org

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Photo credit: Gili Getz, IfNotNow

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IfNotNow members chaining themselves to the entrance door to the AIPAC policy conference.
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Banners hung inside the AIPAC policy conference by IfNotNow members.

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IfNotNow members marching on AIPAC.

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Members of IfNotNow in the process of locking themselves to the doors.

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Following the march, IfNotNow members split the Red Sea.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

March 24, 2017

CONTACT:

Yonah Lieberman

yonah.lieberman@gmail.com

202-277-6602

On Sunday, Over 1,000 Young American Jews will Descend on AIPAC, Demand End to American Jewish Support for the Occupation

Washington, D.C, — Thousands of IfNotNow members and allies from across the country will converge on the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to reject American Jewish support for 50 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and expose the near silence from AIPAC and other Jewish institutions on the discriminatory policies and harmful politics of the Trump administration.

In what is expected to be the largest ever protest of the annual AIPAC membership gathering, IfNotNow chapters from Boston, New York, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and D.C. will be out in full force to publicly reject AIPAC and their “pro-Israel at all costs” politics that continues to enable and fuel the Occupation—now entering its 50th year—while making concessions to the antisemitism and Islamaphobia of the far right.

“For decades, AIPAC has used fear to silence moral voices and falsehoods to justify the occupation. In this moment, faced with a President whose rhetoric and policies have given rise to a wave of antisemitic attacks and hate crimes against other marginalized communities, AIPAC is silent. We refuse to just sit by and watch,” said Emma Saltzberg, who is coming down from NYC for the action.

The actions will include a strong component of Jewish ritual and creative action intended to disrupt business as usual in the Jewish community.

WHAT: #JewishResistance at AIPAC mass mobilization

WHO: IfNotNow and Jewish community members from across the country

WHEN: Sunday, March 26, 2017, the protest begins at 9:30am and the march on the AIPAC policy conference will begin at 11am.

WHERE: AIPAC Policy Conference, Walter E. Washington Convention Center (the demonstration will begin at Franklin Square (corner of K St and 13th St, NW)

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IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. It is also helping to lead the #JewishResistance against the Trump administration, organizing to get the Jewish establishment to leverage its resources as part of the broader resistance. IfNotNow has chapters in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.

For more information: www.ifnotnowmovement.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2017
Alina Butareva
alina.butareva(at)gmail.com
301-957-0208

Activists with IfNotNow Stand Against Friedman’s Nomination as Ambassador to Israel

Washington, DC – Three members of IfNotNow were arrested this morning as they interrupted the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Israel. These young Jewish Americans expressed outrage at Friedman’s pro-occupation ideology and acted in part to counter the near-total silence on his nomination from the Jewish establishment.

The protest occurred the day after Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington DC.

“That Trump went through the entire press conference yesterday refusing to support the long-standing American policy of a two-state solution confirms what has long been suspected: Trump intends on doing all that he can to actively entrench the Israeli occupation.” said Tom Corcoran, an IfNotNow member who was arrested. “With Friedman as his representative in the region, untold violence could erupt.”

Friedman, who would serve as the American representative in the region if confirmed, has made his pro-occupation views known to the public through numerous writings in the far-right wing newspaper Arutz Sheva and through his role as president of the American Friends of Beit El Institutions–an organization that has funneled millions of dollars into an illegal settlement in the West Bank.

“Friedman is a totally unconscionable choice to represent Americans in the region. As an American Jew, I refuse to allow his pro-occupation views go unchecked,” said Lila Weintraub, an IfNotNow member. “The leaders of my Jewish community have been silent on Friedman — so I had to speak out.”

The activists stood after blowing a shofar — a rams horn used in the Jewish tradition to call our community to action in times of crisis — and recited a few of the many reasons they believe Friedman should not be confirmed by the Senate. As they were being led away, they sang Olam Chesed Yibaneh, a Hebrew song about building the world with love.

“Trump and Netanyahu are two sides of the same coin — and we know that Friedman will use his position to further their shared goal of a permanent occupation.” added Isaac Flegel-Mishlove, another IfNotNow member, “We refuse to let pro-occupation ideology become normalized in America. We must fight for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.”

IfNotNow plans to escalate its effort to oppose Friedman and the Jewish community’s silence on his nomination across the country in the coming week.

WATCH: C-SPAN Clip of IfNotNow’s interruption

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IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end our community’s support for the occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. IfNotNow has chapters in New York, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C, and Los Angeles.  For more information: www.ifnotnowmovement.org

Please direct all press inquiries to info(at)ifnot.net and include "Press Inquiry" in the subject line.

Selected Press Clips

Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews
Edo Konrad, +972 Mag, 1/14/2016

#IfNotNow Seder Protests JFNA Support for Endless Occupation
Gili Getz, Jew School, 4/10/2015

As U.S. Jews, we need to figure out what leverage we have in ending the occupation'
+972 Mag, 10/25/2014

I tried to deliver a message to Malcolm Hoenlein and got arrested
Josh Leifer, Times of Israel, 9/1/2014

If Not Now, When: A Personal Political Reflection
Becky Havivi, Jew School, 8/14/2014

Young Jews Protest Israel's Offensive In Gaza, Call For End To 'Gratuitous Killing'
Sam Lachman, Huffington Post, 8/5/2014

Not in my name: A call to American Jewish organizations during Operation Protective Edge
Sarah Brammer Shlay, Twin Cities Daily Planet, 8/3/2014

‘If not now, when?’ — Jewish-American peace activists organize to oppose war on Gaza
Miriam Elba, Waging Nonviolence, 7/31/2014

9 Young Jews Arrested at NYC anti-Israel Protest
Anna Hiatt, Jerusalem Post, 7/30/2014

Jewish Group Delivers Mourner's Kaddish for Gaza Victims
Antonia Blumberg, Huffington Post, 7/26/2014