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Jewish commitment to collective liberation – If not now, when

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The following open letter was initiated by the Catalyst Project and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. To sign on please visit here

We are Jews committed to liberation for all people. We are heartbroken and outraged by shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. Our hearts are with the Jewish communities of Pittsburgh and the many communities facing the terror and loss caused by horrendous acts of violence driven by bigotry and hate. To the people who lost loved ones at the Tree of Life synagogue, we send our deep sorrow and grief. To those who were injured or traumatized, we send you our comfort and strength.

As we mourn this horrendous act of violence against Jewish communities, we know that this is not an isolated attack and our response cannot be isolated either. The attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue is part of the growing threats and acts of murderous violence based on white supremacy, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Jewish hatred, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. Just days ago, two Black victims were killed by a white man in a supermarket in Louisville after he was refused entry into a Black church.

Trump callously suggested that had the synagogue had armed security, things may have turned out differently. To that we say that we believe safety of Jewish people is inseparable from all those targeted by bigotry. The same police that terrorize and kill Black and Brown people daily while allowing white supremacists to voice and act on the same racism and prejudice cannot be part of stopping it. Instead, we seek the safety of a world in which human dignity, emancipation and life are valued above all else.

With fascism on the rise across the world, we must make the connections between these horrific acts of violence, the ideologies of hatred they stem from, and the States that collude and enact them. In India, Israel, the United States, Brazil, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Canada and more than a dozen European countries, authoritarian, Far Right governments and white supremacist and fascist movements have taken or continue to control state power, are fighting for it and are gaining steam. Economic, political and climate refugees, indigenous, third world and Black, queer and transgender people and people with disabilities, women and workers are being persecuted, detained, deported, and killed. This includes the people of Palestine, particularly those living in Gaza, of whom over 200 have been killed and thousands more injured since March 2018 during weekly mass demonstrations for their right to return to their villages of origin since being displaced in 1948.

As Jews who have been organizing against white supremacy and the rising fascist movements that have been encouraged and emboldened by the Trumps of the world here and internationally, we know that antisemitism is inextricably linked — presently and historically — to other forms of white supremacy and racism. We cannot find safety or liberation in isolation or behind armed borders and doors. We are strengthened by yesterday’s and today’s struggles for justice across the United States and the globe. We stand on the history of Jewish participation in our own and collective struggles against persecution and for liberation and with all those who are defending themselves daily against bigotry and hate and building communities and movements grounded in love and justice.

Isaac Lev, Catalyst Project
Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Sophia Simon-Ortiz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Lee Gargagliano, Catalyst Project
Ellen Brotsky, Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area
Kate Raphael, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism
Susan Greene, Art Forces
Jules Retzlaff, Jews Against Zionism, SF State University
Kenny B, Jews Against Zionism, SF State University
Brooke Lober, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Eleanor Levine, CodePink Women for Peace
Eli Isaacs
Jason Wallach, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area
Jay Tzvia Helfand, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Alexi Shalom, Within Our Lifetime – United For Palestine
Liz Jackson, Attorney, Palestine Legal
Rachel Lederman, Attorney, National Lawyers Guild-SF
Debra Taube, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area and SURJ Marin
Yahya Josh Cadji, Arab Jewish organizer with Arab Resource and Organizing Center
Judith Mirkinson, National Lawyers Guild-SF
Richard Terry Koch, Attorney, National Lawyers Guild-SF
Ali Lazarus, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area
Perry Bellow-Handelman
Paul Kivel, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area
Jeff Conant,Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area
Noam Perry
Rae Messer, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area
Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Lee Worden, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Karen Jo Koonan, National Lawyers Guild-SF
Cindy B Shamban, Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area
Adrienne Skye Roberts, California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Signe Porteshawver, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area
Marge Sussman, Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area
Debra Murov, National Lawyers Guild-SF
Eve Hershcopf, Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area
Alex Safron, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Open Letter

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2 Responses

  1. klm90046 on October 31, 2018, 2:21 am

    I admire and respect you all for this open letter. Remember also that, since March 30, at least 168 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis. These protests take place almost only on Fridays, so that’s 168 deaths over about 30 days. Anyone join me in mourning for them?

  2. klm90046 on November 2, 2018, 2:37 am

    Just read that 58 Palestinians were killed on May 14 alone, the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

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