OUR APPROACH TO ZIONISM
Solidarity is the political version of love.
– Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Jewish American lesbian feminist, author and activist (1945-2018)
Jewish Voice for Peace is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.
We know that opposing Zionism, or even discussing it, can be painful, can strike at the deepest trauma and greatest fears of many of us. Zionism is a nineteenth-century political ideology that emerged in a moment where Jews were defined as irrevocably outside of a Christian Europe. European antisemitism threatened and ended millions of Jewish lives — in pogroms, in exile, and in the Holocaust.
Through study and action, through deep relationship with Palestinians fighting for their own liberation, and through our own understanding of Jewish safety and self determination, we have come to see that Zionism was a false and failed answer to the desperately real question many of our ancestors faced of how to protect Jewish lives from murderous antisemitism in Europe.
While it had many strains historically, the Zionism that took hold and stands today is a settler-colonial movement, establishing an apartheid state where Jews have more rights than others. Our own history teaches us how dangerous this can be.
Palestinian dispossession and occupation are by design. Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations, systematically separating Palestinians from their homes, land, and each other. Zionism, in practice, has resulted in massacres of Palestinian people, ancient villages and olive groves destroyed, families who live just a mile away from each other separated by checkpoints and walls, and children holding onto the keys of the homes from which their grandparents were forcibly exiled.
Because the founding of the state of Israel was based on the idea of a “land without people,” Palestinian existence itself is resistance. We are all the more humbled by the vibrance, resilience, and steadfastness of Palestinian life, culture, and organizing, as it is a deep refusal of a political ideology founded on erasure.
In sharing our stories with one another, we see the ways Zionism has also harmed Jewish people. Many of us have learned from Zionism to treat our neighbors with suspicion, to forget the ways Jews built home and community wherever we found ourselves to be. Jewish people have had long and integrated histories in the Arab world and North Africa, living among and sharing community, language and custom with Muslims and Christians for thousands of years.
By creating a racist hierarchy with European Jews at the top, Zionism erased those histories and destroyed those communities and relationships. In Israel, Jewish people of color – from the Arab world, North Africa, and East Africa – have long been subjected to systemic discrimination and violence by the Israeli government. That hierarchy also creates Jewish spaces where Jews of color are marginalized, our identities and commitments questioned & interrogated, and our experiences invalidated. It prevents us from seeing each other — fellow Jews and other fellow human beings — in our full humanity.
Zionist interpretations of history taught us that Jewish people are alone, that to remedy the harms of antisemitism we must think of ourselves as always under attack and that we cannot trust others. It teaches us fear, and that the best response to fear is a bigger gun, a taller wall, a more humiliating checkpoint.
Rather than accept the inevitability of occupation and dispossession, we choose a different path. We learn from the anti-Zionist Jews who came before us, and know that as long as Zionism has existed, so has Jewish dissent to it. Especially as we face the violent antisemitism fueled by white nationalism in the United States today, we choose solidarity. We choose collective liberation. We choose a future where everyone, including Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, can live their lives freely in vibrant, safe, equitable communities, with basic human needs fulfilled. Join us.
Download a PDF version here: JVP’s Approach to Zionism
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) October 18, 2015
Hi @sarahleah1. Why did you RT a map with blatantly incorrect info on the % of land owned by Palestinians in 1946? I’ve attached the UN’s map showing ~1/2 the land was public land:
Why did you RT a hate group that tries to blame US police brutality on Jewish groups and Israel? pic.twitter.com/iguqpG0TOG
— Nurit Baytch (@NuritBaytch) May 31, 2018
— EnigMAA (@EnigmaNetxx) November 9, 2015
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is standing up for our #righttoboycott, without exceptions for economic action in support of Palestinian rights. He’s calling out the legislation being introduced over and over again in the Senate this month for what it is: unconstitutional. pic.twitter.com/pZVSCXbFGS
— US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (@USCPR_) January 17, 2019
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, everyone is subject to Israeli military law. Unless you’re an Israeli settler. That’s why some call it apartheid. https://t.co/U9ateoqegp
— +972 Magazine (@972mag) January 18, 2019
— Myths of Palestine (@Shipless1) April 20, 2018
“Canary Mission claims to “document individuals and organizations that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses.” In reality, they are a blacklist that seeks to bully activists out of Palestinian solidarity work” https://t.co/kQKATTpmem pic.twitter.com/poipZDUsAa
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) January 18, 2019
Read IfNotNow Austin’s statement supporting Bahia Amawi after she was fired for refusing to sign away her right to peacefully boycott. The Jewish community needs to join us in standing with Bahia Amawi.https://t.co/XW6XUZWarW
— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) January 17, 2019
“We just don’t have any more space for enemies”—@TamikaDMallory on stopping Jews and Black people being pitted against each other.
We can’t give up on our allies. We must stay at the table, support one other’s growth, & understand that when we’re divided, white nationalism wins. pic.twitter.com/Br8EIN1oVZ
— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) January 17, 2019
JNF is epitomized by Canada Park, which was built on the ruins of 3 Palestinian villages demolished in 1967. As with 87 other villages that once stood before 1948, JNF parks serve to conceal their remains and erase any remnant of Palestinian life. https://t.co/BsuxG95PtL pic.twitter.com/4olT6tmcCz
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) January 17, 2019
Human rights activists in France have written to France Télévisions, Francetele: “How is it possible to speak of an apolitical contest when it is hosted in a country that practices apartheid against the Palestinians?”#BoycottEurovision2019 #Eurovision2019 #BDS pic.twitter.com/qJgwCQQXij
— Shehab News (@ShehabAgencyEn) January 17, 2019
Israel is rapidly demolishing homes in occupied East Jerusalem and handing over property to Israel settlement groups. Just yesterday Israel handed demolition orders to ten families in Al-Bustan neighborhood near al-Aqsa Mosque. https://t.co/FRItCLsjLx pic.twitter.com/Ndt1u1LsUq
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) January 16, 2019
Down in the valley, live subjects. No polling booth placed in their school: it is slated for demolition. A life of subjects, exposed to their occupiers’ arbitrary decisions. Or as it’s called in Israel: “democracy.” | @btselem director in @haaretzcom https://t.co/LrmTrgRIyY
— Hagai El-Ad (@HagaiElAd) January 15, 2019
“It’s not only the material loss of my home and my village and my property, but it’s the excruciating pain of the loss of my hope and my dreams” https://t.co/xoClPPFwCX
— Electronic Intifada (@intifada) January 17, 2019
“There is absolutely no room for antisemitism or racism in our movements, and we recognize that we all have work to do to combat them. We’re here to build a stronger movement” – @RVilkomerson https://t.co/1w2tzQnXpP
— Sonya E Meyerson-Knox (@S_MeyersonKnox) January 16, 2019
“Let me be clear, Linda and Tamika have proven time and time again to have my back, to be here to fight for my liberation: as a Jewish woman, and as a Black woman…..” (1/2) https://t.co/j8JE3V1JBJ
— Rebecca Vilkomerson (@RVilkomerson) January 15, 2019
Palestine is the most life-affirming place I’ve ever visited. If there is hope for human survival, it won’t be found in the settler colony’s grandiose self-image, but in the dignity of the native’s undying resilience.
— Steven Salaita (@stevesalaita) January 16, 2019
— AbdelKarim Alkahlout 🌹🇵🇸 (@KareemN96) January 15, 2019
“As much as people want to pretend BDS and international solidarity aren’t working, there’s something about this moment that suggests the resistance to current political arrangements is working and gaining traction” @marclamonthill https://t.co/owvABohSLz cc @jvplive #AngelaDavis
— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) January 15, 2019
Most people probably don’t realize this, but it’s true. Check it out. https://t.co/IVtUudQtdA
— AIUSA Israel/OPT/PA (@IOTPA) January 15, 2019
Why is Congress trying to criminalize the boycotting of Israel? Here’s what civil society groups have to say about it. pic.twitter.com/EOHIxaPCgL
— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 13, 2019