Dear friends and colleagues,
The State of Israel is threatening the imminent demolition of four villages home to hundreds of Palestinian families. In the past weeks, bulldozers continued preparing the land of Al Araqib for a future JNF forest, and crept closer to Umm El-Hiran, a village set for demolition to make room for a new Jewish town. Meanwhile, the fate of Susiya lies in the hands of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and residents of Um Il-Khier report being in immediate threat of demolition as well.
As Jews, we say emphatically that forced displacement, dislocation, and demolition do not represent our values. These demolitions represent a continued policy of systematic discrimination. As members of a people who have experienced expulsion, persecution, and dispossession, we stand with all Palestinian communities facing eviction.
Residents of these villages have called on us to mobilize our communities in their support. As Jews who affirm our faith in justice, peace, and the equality of human life (shivyon erech ha’adam), we call on members of our community to: Host a solidarity Kabbalat Shabbat demonstration as part of a “Global Shabbat Against Demolition” on Friday, August 12, 2016.
This date marks one month since residents of Susiya hosted 50 Jewish international peace advocates for Shabbat in a stunning gesture of solidarity and common cause. Let us return this gesture in an international display of support for them and their peers. Those of us in the region will spend a Shabbat in Susiya once again.
This Shabbat, “Shabbat Hazon,” precedes the annual fast of Tisha B’Av, in which the first and second Temples were destroyed according to tradition. Many regard this as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. Let us make sure that calamity does not befall the residents of these communities on this of all days and that we have no more destruction to mourn in future years and fasts. Photograph your protest with a sign, banner, or hashtag that reads “Shabbat Against Demolition.”
Be loud, proud, and unapologetic in your singing and call for justice. Here is a link to your local Israeli embassy, but please target whatever institution is most appropriate for your community. Following this Shabbat, we will be calling upon you to participate in specific campaigns over the coming months on behalf of each of the endangered communities.
The fate of these families depends on the strength of our support.