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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




Palestinians make themselves sovereign through BDS

Two Israelis try to help Brooklyn’s Jews cross the Red Sea
By Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss

Last night in Brooklyn, the most progressive Jewish congregation in New York, Kolot Chayeinu, held an “open conversation” about cultural boycott of Israel featuring six panelists, all of them Jewish. It was a first for New York in that this was the first time that such a debate was held in a synagogue. I found it thrilling in the way that I used to find the Harlem Globetrotters games thrilling– one side ran circles round the other– though like the Globetrotters’ victories, I am not entirely sure what was achieved. The best answer is that in a borough in which Jews had helped vote in a Republican congressman two nights before out of parochial fears, a handful of very good Jews are trying to wake other Jews up.

The panel was leftwing even for the Jewish community because everyone on it was for some form of boycott. And more than 200 people crowded the shul. “That’s the first sentence of your story; you couldn’t get this many people out for any other political event,” James North said, sitting next to me.

Many in the crowd oppose boycott and spoke in emotional ways. I love Israel, I might want to move there, it’s delegitimization scares the heck out of me, please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, an older lady said, to big applause.

Israel is a state, it’s not a baby, Dalit Baum responded from the stage.

Whenever Baum and the other Israeli on the panel, Udi Aloni, opened his or her mouth (sorry about the grammar, this is the internet), the debate was over.

The only panelists who actually live there, each taking a personal legal risk to advocate for boycott, these moral giants did not speak about their feelings, they described the real conditions of Jim Crow. Dalit Baum’s first speech was about how easy it is to pass into the bubble of unconsciousness here or in Israel– but right now Palestinian children are being arrested in the middle of the night and held in prisons in the occupied territories and brought into a children’s court so that they will squeal on village elders who are organizing non-violent protests against the wall.

“People’s lives are being crushed every day. It’s unimaginable, the cruelty.”

As this serious woman with giant dark eyes spoke, you literally could have heard a pin drop.

And Baum continued poetically by imagining the life of the judge in that special court for children. The judge is a woman Dalit Baum’s own age, in uniform. She goes back to Tel Aviv later, as Baum does. “She is for peace. She votes for Meretz. I know her. She’s Ashkenazi.” (Nodding laughter from audience.)

Udi Aloni took us into the same spiritual/political terrain in his appeal. BDS is not a Jewish call or a Jewish movement, it is a Palestinian call. Palestinians support it and so BDS gives Palestinians sovereignty in their land. And therefore BDS is Aloni’s opportunity at last to deal with a sovereign Palestinian community of brothers and sisters rather than a victimized and powerless community in some kind of false staged “dialogue.”

Would Aloni change this or that point about the BDS call? Sure. But it is not for him to say.

“Once they have true sovereignty, I can argue with them on everything,” he said. “But let my other be a brother. Let the non sovereign be sovereign.”

There is nothing to say after such a beautiful statement.

At the end of the debate Aloni was even more impassioned. Who are we to talk about cultural boycott when any Jew in this room can go to Israel tomorrow to rediscover his cultural and religious “birthright,” but a Palestinian who lives there cannot visit the village of his grandparents to look on his own culture.

“Voila,” James North said, sitting next to me.

And when Aloni staged a production in Arabic of Waiting for Godot at the Jenin Freedom Theatre, he could not bring it to Haifa for Palestinians there to see it. No; his Pozzo was arrested by Israelis on arbitrary grounds. And held for a month. Culture.

“We are just trying to do a little justice here,” Aloni said, trembling with anger.

Don’t you see that, Jews? We are just trying to do a little justice here, in a vastly imbalanced situation. This is not about What is good for the Jews, this is about actually doing something to battle racism and give Palestinians a voice, as Dalit Baum said at the end.

So Jews were called back to a tradition of social justice last night in a Democratic borough that just went for a rightwing Republican. That’s a good thing. And Roy Nathanson in arguing against cultural boycott said, I teach music in the schools and “we have apartheid for young black men in this country.” OK, a helpful point. But have you been to the occupied territories lately, as Baum and Aloni have?

The organizers are trying to help American Jews, and I’m all for that. The big gracious spirit of Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, lately converted to boycott of the occupied territories, pervaded the evening, and wise Esther Kaplan began the night by saying that boycott is a non-violent tactic, in a violent scene. This discussion has been “nearly taboo within the Jewish community,” she said.

Maybe soon they will get this show into a mainstream synagogue? As Baum said, We don’t have all day

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