Identity, Israel, Justice

Jerusalem Area Yeshiva Students Organize Darfur Rally

While the world continues to sleep through what is arguably the most brutal systematic genocide since the Holocaust, three 18 year-old yeshiva students and Anglo transplants, Arielle Perlow, Rachelle Kupferman, and Seraphya Berrin, have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness in Israel about the issue, by organizing a “Save Darfur” rally in downtown Jerusalem.
The event, scheduled for tomorrow night (Monday at 8PM) in Zion Square, will feature several local rabbis and educators, a representative from Amnesty International, and Eytan Schwartz, winner of “The Ambassador” (Israel’s version of “The Apprentice”). The organizers expect hundreds of attendees from “many different yeshivot, midrashot, college campuses, youth groups, and shuls.”
Co-organizer Seraphya Berrin, an Australian resident of the West Bank and student a Yeshivat Har Etzion, sees Darfur as an inherently Jewish issue. “Jews have been the direct target of genocide in the past more than once,” says Berrin. “If anyone should feel for these people it should be us.”
However, the issue of Jewish involvement and moreso of a desired Israeli involvement in Darfur has grown exceptionally complicated, particularly following the remarks of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who in September claimed that Zionists have “motives” to “dismember Sudan.” This sentiment has become standard fare on the radical Left, with online forums such as Indymedia awash with suspicion of Jewish interests in the region.
“This effort by Sudan should be answered proudly,” says Hebrew University professor Elihu Richter, one of the planned speakers for tomorrow’s event. “We are flattered by the compliment that Zionism is committed to life and saving life as the value that trumps all other values.”
“It is not yet a Zionist issue,” says Berrin. “In fact, many Israelis are unaware of the atrocities altogether. It must become a Zionist issue. We are flattered by this accusation, and view it as a spur to action. Just as Israel was involved in support of African nations from its inception, especially with agricultural & technological training, so too, Israel must be at the forefront here.”
“Genocide is genocide is genocide,” Berrin adds. “It doesn’t matter what ethnicity, race, or religion the perpetrators or victims are. In this case, the victims also happen to be Muslim, so it is a bit of a ridiculous accusation. Relying on geopolitical stereotypes is an easy way to avoid confronting the moral challenges in the world around us.”
Asked if he felt that, as a resident of the West Bank, he was being in any way hypocritical by denouncing one form of oppression while purportedly participating in another, Berrin responded, “Don’t let the stereotype of settlers make you think that I don’t care about Palestinians.” He continued, “I do not think that living in Gush Etzion is part of the occupation, nor do I think the Israeli occupation is at all comparable with what is going on in Darfur.”
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3 thoughts on “Jerusalem Area Yeshiva Students Organize Darfur Rally

  1. “Don’t let the stereotype of settlers make you think that I don’t care about Palestinians.” He continued, “I do not think that living in Gush Etzion is part of the occupation”
    I’m sure the Palestinian residents of Bethlehem, most of whose green space and farmland to the west of the city are being cut off by the separation barrier around the Etzion block, are deeply moved by Berrin’s concern for them, as well as quite surprised to learn there’s no occupation there. what do they have to complain about, then? besides, there’s bigger problems in the world! stop complaining, the settlers are busy saving Darfur!!
    “It is no secret that Israel had its eyes fixed on Bethlehem after it occupied the West Bank during the 1967 war; starting with annexing 18,048 Dunums (4512 acres) of the Governorate’s lands to the unilaterally expanded Israeli Jerusalem Municipal boundary, which by itself was annexed to the State of Israel. The history of the Israeli colonization activities in Bethlehem Governorate goes back to the early 1970s; where a systematic and methodical confiscation of Palestinian’s lands became an epidemic nightmare. Today, the number of expanding illegal settlements reached 19 accommodating more than 77,376 Israeli settlers. The bulk of the settlements are located at the Gush Etzion bloc, which include 11 Israeli settlements 8 of which are within Bethlehem Governorate. The Segregation Wall around Gush Etzion bloc encompasses an area of 72,223 dunums and isolates them west of the Segregation Wall and off limits to the Palestinian land owners.”

  2. I’ll cooperate with settlers on this unless they make a gezerah shava between Darfur and Gush Katif. I’ll be at the rally, with a blue ribbon.

  3. First of all, I think trying to bring politics of Israeli left and right into everything, is detremental. There is no reaon that we have to look to divide ourselves, even for causes we can both believe in.
    At the rally last night, I was mainly attacked for being right wing, but a few people attacked me for being to left wing by sayinh that the fact that the genocidal government is arab was glossed over.
    And now becuase I don’t like people misrepresnting me, I will repond to the above comment about Gush etzion. I would invite you to come look at Gush etzion…at least the part I live in and the settlements aroudn it, to see that they are not in the way of a peace solution
    I didn’t say I am living in one of those settler outposts. I live in alon shvut, which is next to kfra etzion
    I am sure you know about the story but if you don’t you can view it here.
    I see no distinction between living in Alon Shevut and living in the olod city, both of which the Jordanians happened to illegally occupy until 1967.
    I really don’t see how me living in
    At all harms any arabs, just as I don’t see how arabs living in Haifa harm any Jews.
    Hevron and lots of other places are a differnt story for me, they are there for good reasons, but they are also there for some very bad reasons including making life difficult for arabs. That is one of the main reasons I supported the disengagement.
    “In order to disrupt the Arab territorial contiguity, a decision was made to establish Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip. This policy was symbolized as ‘a five finger print’ on the Gaza Strip ? each community and the road leading to it (both under Israeli control) is similar to a finger placed on the map.
    ? 1st finger: north block ? later to become Elei Sinai, Dugit and Nissanit. This ‘finger’ was to stretch Israeli settlement from south of Ashkelon to the outskirts of Beit Hanun and Gaza.
    ? 2nd finger: Netzarim ? to disrupt the Arab territorial contiguity between Gaza and Dir-al-Balach.
    ? 3rd finger: Katif, Netzer Hazani, Ganei Tal and Kfar Darom
    ? 4th finger: Gan-or, Gadid, Bdolach, Bnei-Atzmon, P’at Sade, Morad and Rafia Yam ? after the Sinai evacuation, a large population center was established between the 3rd and 4th fingers, in order to unite the two into one block, called Gush Katif.
    ? 5th finger: was “severed” in the peace accord with Egypt.”

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