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Jewish Youth Say “Never Again” As They Protest Trump’s Concentration Camps

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY—Planes on their way to the airport fly low over a crowd of young protesters chanting “Racist ICE has got to go!” More than 100 Jewish and immigrant activists have gathered outside the Elizabeth Contract Detention Center in New Jersey, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds approximately 300 detainees. Rabbi Salem Pearce leads the protesters in the Mourner’s Kaddish, a Jewish prayer of mourning, for six immigrant children who have died in U.S. government custody. “There are more who are not named,” she says. “There will be more.”

#NeverAgainIsNow: 36 Arrested As Hundreds Of Jewish Protesters Block Road to Migrant Detention Center

Rejecting the notion that denouncing the Trump administration's immigrant detention centers as "concentration camps" does harm to the memory of the Holocaust, 200 Jewish people demonstrated at a facility in New Jersey Sunday evening and demanded the release of the thousands of immigrants in U.S. custody. Grassroots group Never Again Action called for all detention centers to be closed and for the U.S. government to protect asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants...

Jewish Activists Arrested Protesting Birthright In Midtown

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — Jewish activists protesting Birthright Israel, the organization that sponsors free trips for people with Jewish heritage to Israel, were arrested during a Friday morning protest in front of the organization's Midtown offices, according to activists and police. Protesters stood in the crosswalk of Third Avenue and East 45th Street to prevent any vehicles from accessing the block and sat in front of the entrance to Birthright's offices to block access to the building. The protest was organized by a group called IfNotNow, which has called on Birthright to educate its participants on the Israeli government's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Young Jews Supporting Black Lives Matter

By Ally Little and Michelle Weiser for The Forward. we see and affirm the Jews of color in our community, and we proudly and unequivocally support the Movement for Black Lives Platform and Black Lives Matter. We recognize the call for freedom and dignity of black lives as intricately linked to our call for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. As members of IfNotNow, we are part of a movement of young Jews working to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation of Palestine. Guided by the lessons of our own Jewish history, we cannot remain silent in the face of injustice. Leo Ferguson recently wrote about his experience as a black Jew participating in a NYC Black Lives Matter march: “As Jews, we know what it means to fight for our survival while those around us do nothing. And as a Jew of color, I am tired of feeling abandoned by my friends and my larger Jewish community when they sit on the sidelines rather than fighting for my safety and full humanity… If the Jewish community isn’t part of the solution, then it is part of the problem.”

Major American Jewish Leader Changes His Mind About Israel

By Staff of Tikkun - David Gordis has served as vice-president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (now American Jewish University). He also served as Executive Vice President of the American Jewish Committee and was the founding director of the Foundation for Masorti Judaism in Israel. He founded and directed the Wilstein Institute for Jewish Policy Studies which became the National Center for Jewish Policy Studies.

Jews Standing Against Muslim Prejudice

We are so pleased to share with you our new, very short video–Jews Recommit to Standing Against Islamophobia. While we have all been rightly concerned about the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses, we recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads, and wanted to make that reality more visible within our community–the Jewish community– and more broadly. Some of us from Jews Against Islamophobia have been part of initiating a new national network, J-NAI (Jewish Voice for Peace Network Against Islamophobia) that we hope will provide support and resources for those interested in organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and in making the connections between Islamophobia and Israel politics.

Jewish Support For Israel Fades In United States

Three weeks ago, a group of young American Jews gathered outside the New York offices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the umbrella organization founded in the 1950s and which claims to speak for a consensus of the American Jewish community. The young Jews outside, though, were challenging that organization’s claim to speak in their name. They read aloud the names of Palestinians and Israelis killed in the latest military escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and they recited the Mourner’s Kaddish. A few days later, the group delivered a letter to the Conference’s CEO, Malcolm Hoenlein, demanding “that the Conference of Presidents join our call to stop the war on Gaza, end the occupation, and forge a path forward for freedom and dignity for all people in Israel and Palestine.” Nine activists were arrested for civil disobedience. Hoenlein called the protest “very insignificant” and the protesters “Jewish kids who are misguided.” Known as #IfNotNow (a use of the well-known words of the first century rabbinical sage Hillel), the group is made up of Jewish activists, some of whom are veterans of J Street, the inside-the-beltway advocacy group launched in 2008 that describes itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”

Jewish-American Peace Activists Organize To Oppose War On Gaza

Over the past few weeks as the Israeli offensive in Gaza brings more and more tragic consequences for Palestinians, there have also been large solidarity demonstrations throughout the world calling for an end to the occupation of Palestine. Among the youngest and most remarkable of these groups protesting against the destruction in Gaza is If Not Now, When? After only making its debut on social media last Wednesday, the group marked the beginning of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish period of mourning for the difficulties the Jewish people have endured, by reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, for all Palestinian and Israeli victims of the war so far. They also read the names of the victims in front of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations last Monday July 28th. Nine #IfNotNow organizers were arrested after occupying the building where the conference took place after “their request to meet with the president … was denied,” according to the #IfNotNow Facebook page. The growth of the organization itself has been astounding. In just under a week the group has gained over 1,800 likes on Facebook and has seen incredible engagement on Twitter with the use of the hashtag #IfNotNow.

Dorothy Zellner Reflects On 50 Years Of Struggle

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer, the legendary effort by the civil rights movement to open up the vote in Mississippi to black people. That struggle is the subject of Freedom Summer, a documentary that will air on PBS’s American Experience, tonight. One subject of the film is Dorothy Zellner, a former staff member for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, who is today active in the Palestinian solidarity movement as a member of the board of the Friends of Jenin Freedom Theatre, a founding member of Jews Say No, and a volunteer for Jewish Voice for Peace. A few weeks ago during a commemoration of our visits to Gaza five years ago, Zellner told me “We are winning.” I asked her for an interview. She agreed, and the Q-and-A below reflects two conversations, with some edits. Question: You’ve said on a couple of occasions, We’re winning, we’re turning the corner. What is happening, why do you say that? Dorothy Zellner: Well this is not an original thought. When I express this idea in meetings with other activists, people nod and agree. I’m very well known as a pessimist. That’s why when I said it people actually paid some attention.
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