It’s not every day that journalist Peter Beinart and Rabbi Brant Rosen, two major Jewish American thought leaders with divergent views on Israel, wind up in the same room.  But that’s exactly what will happen this summer when Beinart, a self-identified liberal Zionist who opposes BDS, and Rosen, the co-chair of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council, come together to participate in the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s 2016 summer campaign, “Occupation Is Not Our Judaism.”
[pullquote align=right] Beinart: “Now there’s an opportunity to ‘pray with my feet’ in this summer’s campaign, Occupation Is Not Our Judaism, and I intend to be there.”
[/pullquote]When asked why he was joining this summer, Beinart replied, “In recent years I’ve been calling upon North American Jews who support Israel and want to see an end to the occupation to join Palestinian nonviolent protesters on the ground, in person. Now there’s an opportunity to ‘pray with my feet’ in this summer’s campaign, Occupation Is Not Our Judaism, and I intend to be there.”
Rosen cited similar reasons: “There are many Jewish groups and organizations that work to end the Occupation and there are important differences between us. But at the end of the day, I’m ready to stand with any Jew who is willing to stand in solidarity with Palestinians – and I’m grateful to the Center for Jewish Nonviolence for giving me this opportunity.”
At the invitation of our Palestinian partners, dozens of Jews from around the world, including Brazil, Sweden, Australia, UK, Belgium, US, Italy, Canada and Israel will come together in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to engage in solidarity campaigns designed to pressure the Israeli government to end its near-50 year occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
[pullquote align=left] Rosen: “I’m ready to stand with any Jew who is willing to stand in solidarity with Palestinians – and I’m grateful to the Center for Jewish Nonviolence for giving me this opportunity.”
[/pullquote]The joint participation of Beinart and Rosen is representative of a wider trend we’re seeing when it comes to Israel-Palestine activism today.  Through the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, people who want to see justice and peace from the River to the Sea are putting aside their differences to come together on three core, shared principles: actively working to end the occupation; a commitment to nonviolence; and a belief in the shared humanity and equality of Palestinians and Israelis.
This summer, those core principles will be brought to life in on-the-ground, grassroots campaigns:  activists with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence will rebuild homes in the South Hebron Hills demolished by the Israeli government to make way for a military firing zone and we will stand in solidarity with Palestinians in downtown Hebron who are being pushed out of their homes by settlers.
The campaign, Occupation Is Not Our Judaism, is the third campaign launched by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.  In February 2015 we led a tree replanting delegation to the Tent of Nations in the aftermath of the IDF uprooting hundreds of fruit trees, and in October 2015 we protested at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, asking them: What are you doing to end the occupation? (We didn’t get an answer.)
If occupation isn’t your Judaism, we need your help.
There’s still time to sign up for this summer’s campaign.  Applications can be found on our website and will be accepted until April 1. If you can’t join us but want to be with us in spirit, please contribute to our scholarship fund to support low-income activists traveling from far and wide and who will dedicate their energy and commitment this summer.
As Israeli human rights attorney, Michael Sfard, wrote in Haaretz this past January, “One day the occupation will end, because regimes of this kind are not viable. They are bound to fall, because regimes of suppression, almost by definition, are unstable… The ground on which the occupation stands might appear firm. But it’s definitely possible that beneath it, close to the crust, fissures are forming.”
Join us as we put more cracks in the unjust regime of occupation.