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.
March 26, 2017Contact:
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.”
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
IfNotNow members marching on AIPAC.
Members of IfNotNow in the process of locking themselves to the doors.
Following the march, IfNotNow members split the Red Sea.
March 24, 2017
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)
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
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.
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
November 29, 2016
Ethan Miller, Ethan99(at)gmail.com, 301-741-6674
Yonah Lieberman, Yonah.lieberman(at)gmail.com, 202-277-6602
IfNotNow, a movement of American Jews working to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis, is hosting a national day of Jewish Resistance on Wednesday, Nov. 30th against the appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and Senior Counselor to President-Elect Donald Trump.
Following Bannon’s appointment, more than 1,500 Jews marched in four cities to demand the firing of known racist and anti-semite Stephen Bannon. This Wednesday, groups of activists in more than 30 cities across the country will be gathering in public spaces to literally and figuratively draw the line against hatred and bigotry. Using their bodies, string, candles, chalk, and more these groups with represent our unwavering opposition to violent policies that threaten to tear our country apart.
While establishment Jewish organizations refuse to live up to their stated mission, young Jews will not be silent as Trump stacks his administration with those who will endanger our community and our neighbors. The silence of these organizations, which claim to work for the welfare of the entire Jewish community, is yet another example of the pro-occupation at any cost mentality promoted by the Jewish establishment.
WHO: Jewish members of IfNotNow and community allies.
WHERE: 31 locations across the country. For specific details about a demonstration near you, go to bit.ly/dayofjewishresistance
WHEN: Throughout the day of November 30th.
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, Philadelphia,
On Monday, after years of hard work, sacrifice, and visionary leadership, the Movement for Black Lives released the #Vision4BlackLives — a historic, 6 point platform that details their demands of federal, state, and local governments. The platform lays bare the numerous systems that deny black people in this country and abroad freedom and dignity, and specifies a broad vision for change.
While many of us in the Jewish community – Jews of color and white Jews – have marched and taken leadership in the Movement for Black Lives, our communal institutions lag far behind.
On Wednesday, the Boston Jewish Communal Relations Council (JCRC), which purports to “advance the values, interests and priorities of the organized Jewish community,” condemned the platform and the movement behind it because, in the midst of the the dozens of policy proposals calling us to become part of the global solution for black lives, it references Israel critically 11 times.
Oregon’s JCRC later released a statement using Boston’s language, with more cities expected to follow.
Instead of embracing the core values of the Movement for Black Lives – dignity and freedom for all people – the JCRC has chosen to prioritize its support for Israel and endless occupation. They have even gone so far as to declare their unwillingness to work with any of the 50+ organizations that have endorsed the broad-ranging platform.
We refuse to be distracted or lose sight of the real threat facing our community today. It’s not 11 words in the Movement for Black Lives platform – it’s the occupation and our community’s support for it that compromises our values and integrity.
We refuse to follow leaders that force us to choose between Jewish community and one of the most powerful movements of our time. We recognize the explicit links between Black, Palestinian, and Jewish liberation. We support relationships of solidarity and mutual support among marginalized peoples, understanding that anti-semitism and the fear that comes with it so often get in the way. While it is our task to battle anti-semitism, we cannot do so without battling injustice wherever it lives, in the United States and in Israel-Palestine.
We’re living in a historic moment: will we rise to the challenge and heed the call of the Movement for Black Lives? Or will we turn our backs, forsaking our values as a people who stand on the side of the oppressed?
We call on the Boston JCRC to retract its statement condemning the Movement for Black Lives and its Platform.
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