NOT A MINORITY GROUP; INSPIRED BY THE REAL JEWISH TRADITION OF PEACE AND EQUALITY FOR ALL; JEW OR GENTILE.
IT IS THE JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE, IT HAS NO CONNECTION WITH THE ZIONIST ISRAELI JEWISH MOVEMENT AND IS IN FAVOUR OF A TWO STATE SOLUTION.
Very exciting news— in response to pressure from JVP members and other Palestine solidarity activists, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has now withdrawn her support for the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
This is the first time a Member of Congress has taken their name off a bill targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement— and we can make sure it’s the not the last— if we mobilize now.
The House has begun its August recess, and the Senate is soon to follow… which hopefully means healthcare is safe for now. It also means we have a chance to get in front of our Members of Congress in person, and make sure Palestinian human rights gets a prominent and thoughtful place in the progressive agenda.
We’re going all out this month. Dozens of JVP chapters are meeting with their representatives and turning out to town halls. And to support them, we need to raise $15,000 this week to rent billboards, support our field staff, and to cover video production and paid media.
Our Members of Congress must get a clear message when they come home: We cannot call ourselves progressive and be silent about Palestinian human rights.
The stakes are high. The siege on Gaza and resulting humanitarian crisis are getting worse, with Gazans receiving only a few hours of power a day in sweltering summer heat. And the Israeli crackdown on nonviolent protests at Al Aqsa continues.
I’m not sure how much we can influence Israeli policy in Gaza or Jerusalem this month. But I know we can prevent AIPAC from attacking our right to free speech, so that we can focus on the real issues at hand. We have to, and we can, defeat the unconstitutional “Israel A
You may have seen the video of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at a town hall in New York the Saturday before last, responding to a JVP member voicing his concern about the Anti-Boycott Act— It might be one of the most positive things I’ve ever heard from a Senator about the US/Israel relationship and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Here’s what she said:
“Thank you for sharing your story and your perspective and I agree with you…And I am open to looking at [the Anti-Boycott Bill] again, because I do not want to undermine people’s free speech rights on any level.
I do share your concerns about the current government in Israel. I took a delegation of Senators about a year ago to Israel… And in our meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu the question we asked is “what is your vision for peace?” And he didn’t have one. He just said, “my only hope is that I can protect my people from rockets.” And if you don’t have a vision, and you don’t have a plan, then it’s never gonna happen. And so we do need to require more of our world leaders. And I think a call to action to Israel’s government to have a plan for peace is really incumbent upon all of us.”
We have to create more moments like this – where rising political stars decide to re-calibrate their position in favor of justice and equality for Israelis and Palestinians.
And we can. There were more town halls this weekend in New York and California, and more are coming up soon. I really believe we can persuade Members of Congress to withdraw their support from the Anti-Boycott Act, and show that groups like AIPAC don’t have a monopoly on the American Jewish perspective. But we have to be ready.
Even with everything going on in our country right now, elected officials like Kirsten Gillibrand are paying attention to our message. Let’s not miss this opportunity.
Thank you so much,
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Government Affairs Manager
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national membership organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel and Palestine. Become a JVP Member today.