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We say ‘No More!’ to the racism, apartheid, and occupation being committed by the Israeli state in our name

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The following speech was given by Jews for Justice in Palestine, a Chicago-based collective working in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli occupation, at an emergency protest on Saturday. The demonstration was held to protest Israeli escalation in the West Bank and Gaza and the international media’s biased reporting on the events on the ground. 

Salaam Alaikum. Thank you for inviting Jews for Justice in Palestine to speak. We are honored to stand with the Palestinian community and to join protests the world over on this solemn day.

Occupation and apartheid are not Jewish values. Collective punishment is not a Jewish value. Racism and colonialism are not Jewish values. Strengthening U.S. imperialism is not a Jewish thing to do. As Jews we say ‘No More!’ to the racist Israelis who take to the streets of Jerusalem chanting ‘death to Arabs’; we say ‘No More!’ to Netanyahu’s calls for revenge; we say ‘No More!’ to the cold-hearted murder of Palestinian youth; we say ‘No More!’ to the Israeli army’s home demolitions, raids, mass imprisonment, detention of youth, and murder of Palestinians in the West Bank. We say ‘No More!’ to the brutal shelling of Gaza. We say ‘No More!’ to the crackdown in East Jerusalem. We say ‘No More!’ to the racism, apartheid, and occupation being committed by the Israeli state in our name.

We stand with Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation and with everyone else suffering under American imperialism the world over. May people of all faiths, races and creeds unite to build a world of justice and peace.

Our people did not suffer oppression and exile for centuries so that we could turn around and become the oppressors of another people. Three times a day, throughout our history, religious Jews have turned to face Jerusalem from wherever they are around the world, and have said the Hebrew prayer ‘May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in compassion’. My grandmother’s grandmother did not chant this prayer from her small town of Sharnov in Poland, crying for redemption, so that a settler-colonial nation-state could send the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine into exile, and crush those who remained under a brutal regime of occupation. Israeli apartheid is a shame not only to the world, it is a shame upon the memory of our Jewish ancestors.

May the Israeli army end its siege of Gaza and the West Bank. May al-Quds soon become what Yerushalayim means in Hebrew- a city of peace. May the land of Palestine soon become a free and democratic place for all its inhabitants. May the refugees return and may people of all races and creeds coexist in that land as in a sanctuary of refuge. May we continue and amplify our struggles for BDS here in the United States, and continue to hold rallies like these to make our voices heard. May we struggle and win a free Palestine.

Ben Lorber

Ben Lorber is a Jewish community organizer and activist living in Chicago, Illinois.

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6 Responses

  1. Kay24 on July 7, 2014, 10:10 am

    Thank you to all these wonderful people who are working hard, uniting, and trying to bring justice for a people who have suffered under occupation for years.

    If more Jewish voices spoke out, there would be more credibility to the message.
    Time this conflict was judged for the daily suffering and inhumane treatment of a people, and not for religious reasons. We are not living in the stone ages, and Israel must show that it is indeed a democratic nation, and give these people the freedom and rights long over due. Greed gets in the way of justice, always, for the Israelis.

  2. David Doppler on July 7, 2014, 10:14 am

    Amazing how powerful straight talk is after decades of self-delusional BS. “The truth shall set you free.”

  3. goldmarx on July 7, 2014, 10:23 am

    Well spoken, Ben.

  4. Citizen on July 7, 2014, 10:56 am

    JVP: “We stand with Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation and with everyone else suffering under American imperialism the world over. ”

    In fact JVP supports BDS:

    How does Chomsky reconcile these two facts with his objection to BDS because it is subject to criticism as hypocritical because the US is the main culprit, not Israel, thereby implying that BDS supporters weaken their own stance, and feed critique ammo to America’s “hard right,” as represented by the WSJ and the businesss/investment interests it represents?

    If you ask him, we will get very grumpy.

  5. ritzl on July 7, 2014, 11:08 am

    Excellent speech.

    This is now the problem for non-Israeli Jews who have straddled the fence while Israel arrogated the position of speaking and acting for them/all Jews. Israeli Jews, incited by the entire leadership of the State of Israel took revenge on a helpless kid by beating him and burning him alive. Because of general Jewish acquiescence to Israel’s media-hyped claim to represent them, this sadistic “revenge-iness” becomes a de facto “Jewish value,” tepid protestations to the contrary by Burston, Jacobs/URJ and the Forward notwithstanding.

    The time for fence-sitting is closing, if it hasn’t ended already. More excellent speeches like this one will be needed pretty soon. Again, I wish it wasn’t so.

  6. on July 7, 2014, 4:35 pm

    What a wonderful and eloquent speech. Thank you. I am inspired by these words to fight even harder for justice and equality in Palestine.

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