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Jews Say No! publishes ‘Moving Forward’ to highlight Jewish National Fund role in the Nakba

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As Israel recently celebrated its 70th year since its creation, the Palestinian people are commemorating the 70th year of the Nakba (the catastrophe). During Israel’s establishment (1947-1949), 750,000 Palestinian were expelled from their lands and their homes.

We at Jews Say No! began thinking about what we could do to bring this issue more centrally into our communities. We also knew some about the role of the Jewish National Fund in facilitating the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and land and wanted to explore that more deeply. We spent some months researching the issue and coming across some powerful articles, visuals, testimonies, and other resources, many of which we (the editors) incorporated into our issue. We also wanted to highlight a  number of books and resources as well as organizations–like BADIL and Zochrot–doing amazing work around the Nakba and rights of refugees.

Our hope was that the more we expose the truths of the Nakba within our communities, the more our communities will grapple with that truth and act accordingly.

The title–Moving Forward–was also a call for Jewish periodicals to “move forward” by highlighting and centering the Nakba, both historical and ongoing, and to think about how we can be accountable partners in the global call for justice.

According to Alan Levine, one of the editors of Moving Forward, “Those of us growing up in Jewish communities in the US typically heard the story of Israel’s creation without any mention of  its consequences on the indigenous people living there–the Palestinians. We wanted to make visible this story, which for far too long has gone untold or has been distorted in our communities, and to grapple with the history and its implications for today.”

Screen shot of Jews Say No!’s special edition of the “Forward.”

“Our goal was to have a publication that not only addresses the Nakba, but also examines the role of a major Jewish institution, the Jewish National Fund, in facilitating the Nakba,” said Jane Hirschmann, another editor. “So many of us grew up putting coins into the JNF’s blue boxes placed in Jewish community spaces and in our homes. What we didn’t learn were the ways  in which the money in those boxes was used to destroy people’s homes, their land, and the environment.”

Moving Forward includes articles, educational materials, and visuals that tell the story of the Nakba and considers how we, as members of Jewish communities, need to move forward in reckoning with the Nakba and its consequences.

“The Nakba officially took place in 1948 but, in fact, it is an ongoing process as the State of Israel, with the assistance of the JNF, continues to steal land and destroy  homes belonging to Palestinians,” added Nina Felshin, one of Moving Forward’s editors.

The online special issue is sponsored by Jews Say No!, an organization devoted to “making our voices heard in Jewish communities in the U.S. and as partners in the broader movement for justice and dignity in Palestine and Israel.”

Moving Forward can be found here.

Donna Nevel
About Donna Nevel

Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is co-director of PARCEO, a participatory research center. She is a long-time organizer for justice in Palestine/Israel; against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism; and for a just public education system. She is a founding member of Jews Say No!, Facing the Nakba Project, and Jews Against anti-Muslim Racism (JAAMR) and she was a co-founder of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

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21 Responses

  1. Boomer
    Boomer
    May 10, 2018, 7:58 am

    re: “Those of us growing up in Jewish communities in the US typically heard the story of Israel’s creation without any mention of its consequences on the indigenous people living there–the Palestinians.”

    That is also true for those of us who are not Jewish growing up in the US. It is good, if late, to mention the consequences now.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      May 10, 2018, 11:46 am

      @Boomer

      In fact, a steady major shift regarding Israel is taking place within America, including Jews:

      To wit:
      “Support for Israel on Campus Drops by ‘Devastating’ 27%: Study” – The Forward, June 21/17
      “The Brand Israel Group [BIG], a coalition of volunteer advertising and marketing specialists, has released a survey that shows a significant decrease in Israel’s approval rating among Americans.

      “’The future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values. This is huge! Devastating,’ Fern Oppenheim, a co-founder of BIG, told The Times of Israel. While approval of Israel among American college students dropped 27% between the group’s 2010 and 2016 surveys, Israel’s approval rating among all Americans dropped 14 points, from 76% to 62%.”

      Furthermore: http://forward.com/news/ national/376097/study-israel- losing-support-among- democrats-minorities- millennials/ The Forward July 2, 2017
      ”Study: Israel Losing Support Among Democrats, Minorities, Millennials ‘It appears that the more Americans learn about Israel, the less they like it.’”

      Support for Israel among American Jewish college students and Jewish youth in general is in decline:
      Times of Israel, June 21/17:
      http://www.timesofisrael.com/devastating-survey-shows-huge-loss-of-israel-support-among-jewish-college-students/

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel -news/.premium-jewish-agency- chief-warns-young-u-s-jews- more-turned-off-to-israel-1. 5751616
      Haaretz – Jan 22, 2018, by Judy Maltz
      “Young American Jews Increasingly Turning Away From Israel, Jewish Agency Leader Warns”
      “The Jewish Agency’s CEO and director-general called the trend ‘extremely worrisome,’ and said that a new strategy must be undertaken to engage young American Jews with Israel.”

      EXCERPT:
      “Israel is rapidly losing its hold on young American Jews, who increasingly view the Jewish state as antithetical to their liberal values, a leader of the Jewish Agency warned on Monday.

      “Speaking in uncharacteristically blunt terms for an official in his position, Alan Hoffman, the CEO and director-general of the Jewish Agency, described the trend as ‘extremely worrisome’ and said it was time to take a different approach to engaging young American Jews with Israel.

      “‘I think it’s very important that we move to a new mode and encourage young Jews not only to engage in Israel advocacy and in defending Israel – those are all important things – but also to have them accept the legitimacy of challenging Israel,’” Hoffman said. He was alluding to the tendency among Israeli political leaders to view Jewish students as their ambassadors on college campuses.

      “Hoffman was addressing a conference sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute on Israel’s relations with Diaspora Jewry.

      “He cited a recent study conducted by the Brand Israel Group that showed that support for Israel among Jewish college students in the United States had dropped 32 percent between 2010 and 2016.

      “‘In the year since Trump was elected, the situation has only been exacerbated,’ he said. ‘Jewish student college students in the United States, not including those who are Orthodox, see Israel, justifiably or not, as something opposed to their basic liberal and progressive values.’

      “He added: ‘If I were to target one demographic that is critical for the future of Israel and the Jewish people, it is them.’

      “The growing rift between Israel and American Jewry in general, according to Hoffman, was ‘like nothing we have ever seen before.’”

      Meanwhile, more and more American people, especially youth and the informed in general, are waking up and viewing Israel as a rogue and pariah. It’s only a matter of time before their elected officials see the handwriting on the wall:

      http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=20982'%20style='color:#000;

      The Real News, Jan. 25/18
      “US Bipartisan Support for Israel over Palestinians Is Breaking Down, New Study Shows”
      “The bipartisan consensus of support for Israel over the Palestinians is breaking down in the United States.

      “A new study by the leading polling agency the Pew Research Center has found that the partisan divide in Americans’ sympathies for Israel or the Palestinians is the largest it has been in 40 years.

      “Roughly four-fifths of Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, whereas just around one-quarter of Democrats sympathize more with Israel.

      “And this partisan divide is growing. Since 2001, the percentage of Democrats who support Israel over the Palestinians has declined from 38% to 27%. In these same 17 years, the percentage of Republicans who support Israel over the Palestinians has increased from 50% to 79%.

      “This is a very significant shift. In the past several decades, it has simply been assumed that both major US political parties and their adherents supported Israel. This bipartisan backing continued despite Israel’’s systemic discrimination against the Palestinians, its illegal five-decade military occupation, and its expansion of settlements in violation of international law.

      “The new Pew study shows Democrats are nearly just as likely to sympathize with the Palestinians as they are with Israel. This has changed rapidly since 2016. The number of self-described liberal Democrats who support Israel over the Palestinians has fallen from 33% to 19% in the past two years. Today, liberal Democrats are almost twice as likely to support the Palestinians.

      “The Pew study also shows that young Americans are more likely to sympathize with the Palestinians. And the more highly educated a person is, the less likely they are to support Israel.

      “The largest base of religious support for Israel comes from white Evangelical Christians, many of whom have an apocalyptic view of the country.

      “Yet while liberal Democrats increasingly support the Palestinians and given Israel’s many human rights violations and extremely right-wing and xenophobic government, at the same time, their elected officials are still overwhelmingly pro-Israel.”

      “This study does show a major shift in popular views among Americans, but politicians are still far from responding to those popular views.

      “Pew polling reveals Israel has become a right-wing issue, with 79% of Republicans supporting it compared to just 27% of Democrats”

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-vast-numbers-of-california-jews-disengaging-from-israel-survey-finds-1.5821675
      Haaretz, Feb. 14/18

      “Vast Numbers of Progressive California Jews Are Disengaging From Israel, Survey Finds.” By Judy Maltz.

      EXCERPT: “Only a minority of young Jews in San Francisco’s Bay Area believe a Jewish state is important and only a third sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians.”
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-progressives-welcome-aipac-is-all-just-gaslighting-1.5871623?utm_campaign=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.haaretz.com%2Fopinion%2F.premium-progressives-welcome-aipac-is-all-just-gaslighting-1.5871623

      “Why Young Jews and Democrats Are Waving Goodbye to AIPAC”
      “My generation has only known Israel as an occupier. We won’t back anyone who supports that injustice – including the powerful lobby that is AIPAC”
      By Emily Mayer, March 6, 2018 – Haaretz

      https://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/ncr-today/support-israel-continues-see-widening-partisan-divide
      National Catholic Reporter
      “Support for Israel continues to see a widening, partisan divide”
      Mar 23, 2018 by Ra’fat Al-Dajani

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        May 10, 2018, 3:24 pm

        Great stuff Misterioso. Part of the reason Israel has become a partisan issue is polarisation in US politics. The GOP does not live in reality. A party that denies climate change can’t. Israel is far right at this stage and therefore closer to GOP positions. Thère is very little overlap between GOP and DEM.

  2. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    May 10, 2018, 2:56 pm

    For the record:

    “Over the past 40 days, over 40 Palestinian protesters in Gaza have been killed by Israeli snipers. Thousands have been injured. According to Amnesty International, the two types of weapons being used to shoot at protesters have been the Israeli-made Tavor rifle and the US-manufactured Remington M24 rifle. The Remington M24 uses 7.62mm bullets that expand inside the body, causing gross injuries.” (CodePink, May 10/18)

    • mondonut
      mondonut
      May 10, 2018, 7:35 pm

      @Misterioso “The Remington M24 uses 7.62mm bullets that expand inside the body…”

      More nonsense from Code Pink. The M24 is not limited to any particular round, yes it can fire an open tip M852 (more accurate competitive match round) but can also use the M118 full metal jacket.

      Stating that Nato 7.62mm bullets “expand inside the body” is either purposely misleading or uniformed BS.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 10, 2018, 8:27 pm

        You go ahead on, “mondonut”! Both your style and your content are exactly suited to the subject matter. You will help many people form their perceptions of Israel and Zionism.
        Just think of all the people who get the impression that Israel uses some kind of illegal, or unwarranted type of ammunition. You will help them make up their mind.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        May 10, 2018, 9:22 pm

        @Mooser

        People have the impression (incorrectly) that Israel uses illegal ammunition from the endless lies and propaganda spread by the likes of Code Pink.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 10, 2018, 10:06 pm

        People have the impression (incorrectly) that Israel uses illegal ammunition…

        And you are just the guy to help them make up their minds.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        May 11, 2018, 5:52 am

        actually the current round used in the m24 is in fact a hollowpoint round. also the newest m24 doesn’t fire 7.62x51mm nato but the .300 winchester magnum round in hollow point round. which is designed to expand in the body. so the only nonsense here is from you

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      May 12, 2018, 10:49 am

      Misterioso: Thanks for this info. The good news is that Americans (and American Jews) seem to be reading the bad news about Israel.

  3. catalan
    catalan
    May 10, 2018, 3:38 pm

    “Over the past 40 days, over 40 Palestinian protesters in Gaza have been killed by Israeli snipers.” Misterioso
    A few years back, the favorite country of Mondoweiss commenters – Iran, scheduled a hilarious Holocaust cartoon competition. It was so funny. Perhaps it’s time for Israel to schedule a “Great March of Return” international cartoon competition in Tel Aviv during the pretty summer days – in the name of hilarity and freedom of speech and just in good fun. Oh, the possibilities!

  4. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    May 10, 2018, 5:43 pm

    @catatonic
    “A few years back, the favorite country of Mondoweiss commenters – Iran, scheduled a hilarious Holocaust cartoon competition. It was so funny. Perhaps it’s time for Israel to schedule a “Great March of Return” international cartoon competition in Tel Aviv during the pretty summer days – in the name of hilarity and freedom of speech and just in good fun. Oh, the possibilities!”

    Those Persian B…ards mocked the Holocaust so we are going to accidentally on purpose kill 40 and seriously wound thousands of innocent defenceless non Persian Palestinians to get our own back. Simples = get a few highly trained highly accurate state of the art IDF ZioZombie snipers to shelter behind large earth banks aim for the Untermenschen legs and accidentally but morally shoot them all in the head. That will teach all those nasty Persians,Germans,Romans not to mess with the Chosen.

    • catalan
      catalan
      May 10, 2018, 6:03 pm

      “Those Persian B…ards mocked the Holocaust so we are going to accidentally on purpose kill 40”
      I know nothing about crowd control or military matters and generally think that there must be better ways that Israel can keep these guys inside Gaza without killing them. We are clearly dealing with people who are happy to send their kids to an armed protest and draw swastikas on kites. I think this is a mental health issue and needs to be approached that way.
      I do think that it is important to emulate Iran in making sure that there is freedom of speech and generally good fun, and I am sure Israel can make a very nice exhibit of cartoons of the recent events, so that we can all have a good laugh. My entry for the competition would be a picture of a lady from California who eats lobsters at Fisherman’s Wharf with her oh so liberal and enlightened friends and meanwhile tweets about martyrdom in Gaza (after scolding the waiter for being too slow).

      • Keith
        Keith
        May 10, 2018, 6:16 pm

        CATALAN- “I think this is a mental health issue and needs to be approached that way.”

        Your armchair flippancy is not appreciated. The surest and quickest way to improve the mental health of the Gazans would be to stop killing/maiming them and to end the illegal and inhumane blockade.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 10, 2018, 8:32 pm

        “Your armchair flippancy is not appreciated.”

        But “Keith”, you must give him points for self-awareness! Here’s “catalan’s” self-assesment:

        ” It is the truth. I am sad and I am little – but isn’t it the kind of enemy one prefers. That’s why Zionism is losing; because we are sad little people.”“catalan”

        Pretty on-target, wouldn’t you say?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        May 11, 2018, 12:09 am

        @k

        The Palestinian Arabs of Gaza lost the chance to decide their future when t hey elected Hamas who refuses to hold elections and clamps down on political dissidents with an iron fist.
        While probably too late, if their ever might be a political organization in Gaza devoted to rebuilding infrastructure, homes and commerce instead of rockets, tunnels, arms, and paying the multi million dollar salaries of the top tyrants their collective mental states would improve markedly. Instead they’ve been convinced by Hamas that threatening to or actually trying to storm the border fence between Gaza and Israel is the best use of their resources and time. Providing then with non military jobs would be too hard. Anybody who can’t engineer explosives or design tunnels, fly kites need not apply. Keeping in mind, no matter what bs many here believe there are millions of tons of product, from food, medicine and yes, concrete flowing into Gaza every day from Israel, despite the current’great return’ protest and the constant harping on the so-called total siege of the land.

      • Keith
        Keith
        May 11, 2018, 10:23 am

        DABAKER- “The Palestinian Arabs of Gaza lost the chance to decide their future when t hey elected Hamas….”

        The Palestinians of Gaza never had a chance to decide their future. When they attempted to do so by voting for Hamas (once supported by Israel as a counter to the PA, by the way), their Israeli jailers punished them by tightening the blockade. Noam Chomsky provides some details.

        “A few weeks after Israeli troops withdrew, leaving the occupation intact, Palestinians committed a major crime. In January 2006, they voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of the Parliament to Hamas. The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, its leaders have repeatedly made it clear and explicit that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the US and Israel for 40 years. In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.
        ….
        There should be no need to review again the horrendous record since. The relentless siege and savage attacks are punctuated by episodes of “mowing the lawn,” to borrow Israel’s cheery expression for its periodic exercises of shooting fish in a pond in what it calls a “war of defense.” Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to reconstruct somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement. These have been regularly observed by Hamas, as Israel concedes, until Israel violates them with renewed violence.”
        (Noam Chomsky)
        http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/outrage/

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        May 12, 2018, 6:39 pm

        @k
        Check the time line. The blockade was not applied after disengagement. Whn the Hamas started firing it’s so-called firecrackers Israel responded. . I don’t know where you live but imagine that if a hostile entity started shooting rockets into rural enclaves your govt might respond. But I guess you think Sharon pulled out of Gaza completely as a measure of bad faith.

        Electing Hamas (once. As if anybody was surprised) was only partly a call by Palestinian Arabs to show their disgust with the PLO and PA. Your reference to what the Hamas would ‘agree’ to tells only half the story. The palestinian hasbara story. There was never ANY intention of ending the conflict until The Zionist entity is destroyed.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      May 12, 2018, 10:53 am

      Yes, IDFers highly trained in the morality of being most-moral-army but lousy shots (or rifles tampered with so shots aimed at legs often hit heads). I guess this is similar to “we aimed at terrorists but we accidentally killed innocent civilians.”

  5. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    May 11, 2018, 7:04 am

    @Catalan
    “I know nothing about crowd control or military matters and generally think that there must be better ways that Israel can keep these guys inside Gaza without killing them”

    “I think this is a mental health issue and needs to be approached that way”

    Very well put. You sound like a softie leftie leaning self denying etc National Socialist talking about the Jewish Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    NB Brain/gear.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      May 12, 2018, 10:56 am

      Israel needs crowd control to control its outta-control snipers. And of course to control its outta-control settlers, police, border-police, and other IDFers.

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