Global, Israel, Justice, Politics

US Jews Protest Israeli War Policies Throughout the Country

As Israeli soldiers and citizens continue to express their anger and outrage at the Israeli government for the war in Lebanon, today, a day of coordinated actions was organized by a wide spectrum of Jews in the United States committed to peace and justice in Palestine, Israel and the entire region. Following a “die-in” that was held in Boston on August 1, over 20 intergenerational Jews staged a “Die-In” during rush hour this morning outside Penn Station, “unfurling large banners and lying down on the ground to demand a cessation of continuing Israeli military aggression in Lebanon and Palestine.” Jews in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco staged similar events throughout the morning.
From the release:

Mario Yedidia, a Die-In participant with family spread across Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa said, “killing civilians, attacking government institutions and destroying the infrastructure of modern society is an immoral course of action that will ensure security for no one. Israel is unsuccessfully challenging a simple truth: no one is secure while others live in terror.”
With a recent raid by Israel inside Lebanon this weekend, and hundreds of cluster bombs scattered in civilian areas, it has become clear that Israel is not abiding by the cease-fire.

Activists apart of the ad-hoc committee were also interviewed this morning on “Wake Up” WBAI, highlighting how there continues to be a surge in US and Israeli Jewish voices speaking out against the aggression of the Israeli government, the US backing of Israel and the impact of this brutal war as the cease-fire fails to be honored and Israeli continues to occupy Palestine.
Earlier this August a petition was begun, calling on “US Jewish solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples”:

We are appalled by the blatant self-interest revealed in the U.S.’s leveraging of Israel’s actions towards a “New Middle East” agenda, which it has advanced in Afghanistan and Iraq in order to serve an increasingly unilateral economic and political program enforced through military aggression…We call upon Jews everywhere to hold the U.S. government accountable for its 58-year role in facilitating and benefiting from Israel’s long-standing, military occupation of Palestine, its repeated acts of collective punishment against both the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples, and its military dominance over Lebanon and other countries in the region.

I think the petition (which is, I believe, somewhat separate from the actions that happened today, in that it isn’t the same collectives of people) is lacking—-in important points, including an analysis of the history of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews in the Middle East.
With varied feelings on this issue, the main one really is participating and joining other Jews of conscience in your cities and towns to speak out with the many of us who as Jews living in the United States are outraged by the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and as US citizens who want peace and justice in Palestine, Israel and the entire region.
For updates on actions throughout the country, visit
btw Yes tis true as commenters have noted the soldiers in the JTA piece are angry for different reasons, but there are also soldiers who have dissented against the war, and thousands who have protested in Israel against the government’s actions.

34 thoughts on “US Jews Protest Israeli War Policies Throughout the Country

  1. Thanks for this.
    I guess I’ll watch the local news, soon, to see if it gets a mention (ha, ha. They’ve never covered the weekly Vigil Against Occupaton near the Israeli Consulate — and it’s going into its 6th year).

  2. “Jews of conscience” = Jews who reflexively condemn every Israeli action without demonstrating any real empathy for Israel’s very difficult security situation and without offering up any viable alternatives as to how Israel should respond to unprovoked attacks by fanatical movements committed to its destruction from territory it has just vacated.

  3. cole,
    i don’t care much about (or for) the die-in, but one point to clarify: the reservists’/citizenry’s anger, as the jta article notes, is not similar to that of the die-in people. the country is pissed b/c soldiers were not well-trained, well-armed, well-fed enough. the govt really botched this one and will pay for it, but mainly not over the killing of civilians, etc. the electorate was/is pretty strongly behind the war, they’re pissed about its ineffectiveness in the face of the rocketing that forced 1million israelis to flee their homes and they still haven’t gotten back shalit, goldwasser yet. don’t assume that b/c you’re pissed and they’re pissed it must be the same reaction.

  4. I kinda agree with Daniel on this one. It is very good for Jews of left-wing leaning to go out and clamor for something like US aid for war-torn Lebanon and Gaza. However the same people must speak out also in front of the Palestinian and Lebanese consulate and call for the cessation of violance coming out of the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. There must be this objective understanding on the part of these Jews in order for the dialogue of true and honest peace to continue. The truth is that I don’t know if the same people protest in front of the Palestinian and Lebanses consulate. Even if they do (which I doubt) they will automatically be branded right-wingers by the media. Yet it must be done.

  5. Daniel,
    Well put.
    The passages you quote from the petition are the most distorted and myopic pieces of propaganda I have seen in quite some time — and I am a fierce opponent of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq.
    I would be curious to see how much attention and money was raised to help the victims of the large-scale crimes against humanity in Northern Israel. Or is activism not considered “radical” if the victims are targeted for the crime of being Jewish?
    This post almost makes me ashamed to call myself Progressive.

  6. EV–is it the post or the petition that is bothering you? If it’s the petition, I agree, there are lots of problems with the language of it. I posted it for people to know about it, not because I agree with all of its content. Some of the points they raise are fair, but a lot of the rhetoric, is, well, rhetoric and not effective in reaching people.

  7. I saw them protesting in Boston, and I agree that the US and the world should help rebuild Lebanon, the average lebanese got a raw deal on this one. But the world needs to win over the people if we can, because otherwise they will continue to support Hizbullah, and we will see this situation again soon.
    Unfortunately, a few days later there was another “peace” protest In Boston. This one held by Arabs in the area. This crowd was ready to explode and when I told one of them that instead of having signs calling Israel a terror state, perhaps they should have signs that call for peace in Lebanon, if that’s what they really want. I also provided what I feel is a perfectly legitimate point of view that Israel would not have attacked Lebanon had Hizbullah not attacked Israel… since they were more than happy to be out of lebanon only a few years ago.
    Apparently I dont have freedom of speech in Boston, because 6 of them promptly attacked me shoving, yelling, swearing, and when I attempted to call the police they hit my cell phone down the street and threatened to kill me if I called the police. I think its interesting that a group of people protesting Israel’s retaliation in Lebanon, would retaliate so heavily to someone voicing an opinion.
    Something worth thinking about

  8. Surprise! No mention on the local news, despite the fact that it was a slow day for both crime and weather (can’t have four individuals reporting on sunshine).

  9. Cole: The reserve soldiers in Israel are protesting in part because they feel that the war wasn’t fought aggressively and effectively enough. Suffice it to say that in Israel, where both Jewish and Arab citizens and civilians were victimized by Hizballah rockets, the vast majority of people support the decision to go into Lebanon.
    Let me take this opportunity to declare that I am unequivocally dedicated to peace and justice in Palestine, Israel and the entire region (though it should be noted that there is still no country called Palestine).
    Justice is supposed to blind though, you know, fair and stuff. All I’m hearing from your report on the activities of these marginal and unimportant Jewish protest groups is the same old stuff about “Israeli aggression” and war crimes and nary a peep about, you know, the other side.
    Peace also requires things like no suicide bombers targeting civilians, and no rockets launched at civilians. I know we want peace, wish I could say the same about Hamas and Hizballah. But I can’t when every pronouncement they make proclaims loud and clear their desire to completely obliterate the state of Israel.
    So yeah, Peace and Justice, rah rah rah! But while I actually own and use a dictionary, you and your ilk seem to believe that Peace and Justice means SURRENDER.
    I don’t know about you Cole, but my Jewish conscience is clear!
    Oh and ROCK ON EV!

  10. “no suicide bombers” and “no rockets” and such is a pipe-dream of prefrect peace, but you can still work towards peace rather than turn away from it.

  11. “We call upon Jews everywhere to hold the U.S. government accountable for its 58-year role in facilitating and benefiting from Israel’s long-standing, military occupation of Palestine”
    Oh I see. It’s all america’s fault. What a bunch of ungrateful little bastards. Pardon my french but this is the first tim I felt like cursing. The nerve of these people.

  12. Daniel: there is nothing ‘reflexive’ about our actions today. It is very painful for myself and the other Jews there to see what Israel does in our name as Jews. I just returned from the West Bank 2 weeks ago and was horrified to see what is being done in the name of Judaism.
    To look at the violence from Palestine and Lebanon as equal to Israeli state violence, is to ignore history and power. Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian and Lebanese territory. Therefore, the Palestinian and Lebanese people have a right under international law to armed resistance to this occupation. Of course we all condemn suicide bombings and the targeting of civilians in any form. Our press release did include the fact that over 50 Israelis were killed in this war, and part of the reason we are protesting because we know that Israel’s policies will lead to less security for Jews.
    All people’s lives and deaths are holy and of equal, precious value. However, it is very clear in the Western media, and in US and Israeli policy, who’s lives carry more value. The mainstream media covers Israeli deaths with more frequency and sympathy that Palestinian deaths, even though Palestinian are killed far more frequently []. Far more international coverage was given to the kidnapping of one IDF soldier, than to the fact that Israel took over 600 new political prisoners (22 of whom are children) during the war, in addition to the 10,000 they already hold.
    EV: US Zionist organizations have been conducting massive fundraising drives for Israeli victims, and there is again extensive media coverage of the suffering of Israelis as they flee their homes. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Lebanese no longer have homes and over a million are displaced. Over 1300 civilians are dead because Israel chose to target them. I have never seen any acknowledgement, never mind fundraising for the disproportionate suffering caused by Israel. The Jewish Community Relations Council (a target of our SF action – see refuses to dialogue with or include the voices of Jewish groups who offer even slight criticism of Israel. Many of us here in the Bay Area have been trying to engage with them for years. Our protests yesterday gave a voice to those who are being ignored and censored the mainstream Jewish community and international media.

  13. I am shocked that these people can be so blithely unaware of the
    dangers posed Hezbollah. Hezbollah is not only anti-Zionist it is openly
    anti-semitic. It’s tv network depicts Jews killing gentile children to make matzoh
    with their blood. They have openly their desire to kill all Jews. They are implicated in
    attacks against Jews in Argentina that killed several people.
    They have been preparing for an attack on Israel for years. They forced 1/3 of the country to be evacuated. There can be no doubt what their intention is.
    This is not “progressive” it is a complete lack of self respect.

  14. “Activists apart of the ad-hoc committee were also interviewed this morning on “Wake Up” WBAI…”
    Ah yes, WBAI’s “Wake Up Call”. The same program that for years has been clamouring about Israel’s “genocide” against the Palestinians, the “apartheid” state of Israel and the “evil Zionist entity.”
    Muslims = poor victims and are therefore good. Israelis = vile aggressors and therefore evil. What a wonderful show. What insight into the complexities of Middle Eastern politics. What a great force for peace!
    Yo Cole, I know the garbage these people spew and so do most of the people reading this blog. Beofre I moved to NYC I used to listen to KPFA Pacifica on the west coast and the conspiracy theories there were bad enough–on the “Flashpoints” program the host claimed Israel had deveveloped chemical weapons to specifically target Arabs but were harmless to Jews. The NYC affiliate, WBAI, is even worse. They peddle the worst sort of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, blaming all the world’s problems on “the Zionists” which anyone with a brain knows is a not too subtle code word for “the Jews.”
    People on the far left claim that the neoconservatives and conservative Christians are such a big threat to the Jewish people but they support this nonsense as some sort of “revolutionary” politics concerned with “social justice.” I don’t understand how any self-respecting Jew–religious or secular–can support that station or, by extention, a far leftist ideology that wants Israel destroyed. When you march with ANSWER and the rest of those authoritarian scumbags you are marching with people who won’t even refer to Israel as Israel. To those Jews that support WBAI and “Wake up Call” I say, wake the fu*k up, these people are not your friends, they are the supporters of Amalek who want to see the Jewish people wiped off the face of the earth.
    My apologies if this seems overly harsh but I have as much patience for people who promote the Stalinists at WBAI as I have for the fascists at the National Alliance. They are mirror-images of the same paranoid, extremist, worldview. That’s why both the fascists and the authoritarian leftists support another totalitarian movement as a form of “resistance,” the Islamists. Did you carry posters saying “we are all Hezbollah now” like the “peace” activists did in London?
    Totalitarians do not want peace. The only language they understand is force. To have peace implies that you have a partner to make peace with. Hezbollah and Hamas do not want peace, they want to restore the caliphate. You know it’s crazy. I know it’s crazy. But this is what they want.

  15. I was at the protest, lying on the ground. The night before I was re-reading the statements, and thought it really was too one sided. The point is that with this kind of langauge, we are alienating the very progressive margins that might otherwise applaud our sentiments and policy prescriptions.
    On balance though, it felt more important to dissent publicly with the official party line, and at least try to provoke some level of conversation. It was also true that I had been given plenty of opportunity to influence the outcome, and it was my choice to have a low level of participation.
    The standard for me is to ask ‘is this statement showing love and concern for all parties, or does it dole out sympathy to the victims on one side and blame only to the other?’
    It’s hard for those of us feeling our nuances acutely. Where do we turn when the far left and the mainstream walk off in opposite directions? I want to feel my kinship with both parts of the community.
    On the plus side, I thought it was really well organized and I congratulate the folks who did the heavy lifting on this. You did a great job, and I’m happy I was able to join you.

  16. Check this out: in SF, protestors locked themselves down at the entrance to the JCF:
    Several of the activists, a few wearing traditional yarmulkes, screamed that they were, “Jews against Israel’s siege of Lebanon.”
    “I am a U.S. Jew and a taxpayer,” one protester yelled as police carried her into the van. “And I am against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Lebanon.”[…]
    But Samantha Litman, a spokeswoman for the demonstrators, said they were disputing a claim that all Bay Area Jewish organizations promote a blanket policy of supporting Israeli military action.
    “We’re appalled by what we’re seeing happening in Lebanon and Palestine,” Litman said. “Killing civilians, attacking government institutions and destroying the infrastructure of modern society is an immoral course of action that will ensure security for no one.”

  17. I don’t get it. I’m not Jewish, but if I were, I think I would want to defend my homeland against attacks from the Islamo-Nazi terrorists (and Israel IS the Jewish homeland, not the “Palestinian” homeland).
    Israel is surrounded by insane violent Islamo-Nazi thugs whose stated goal is to destroy Israel. Why on earth would a Jew be demonstrating in FAVOR of the Islamo-Nazis?? I don’t get it.

  18. Well done, Bostonian Jews! We’ve got to rebuild Lebanon and Gaza as soon as possible!
    After all, don’t we owe it to them after we kidnapped Hezbollah’s (friendly neighborhood) freedom fighters? And don’t forget about all of those pesky suicide bombings that we’ve perpetrated against their people, just for being muslim. Nothing like the smell of diesel, plastic explosive, and smoldering body parts first thing in the morning.
    What did you say??? That wasn’t Israel? Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad did that because Jews don’t have the right to exist?
    Sorry, I got confused after seeing the Jews for Conscience die-in on the streets of Boston. Maybe if we help pay to rebuild Lebanon and Gaza, Hezbollah can repay the debt by staging thier own style of “Die-in” on the streets of Boston. Al-Q’aida had a nice go-at-it in New York a few years back. Hezbollah has already hosted plenty of “Die-ins” on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, and many other Israeli towns. Some say it’s a matter of time before it becomes commonplace here in the good ol’ US of A.
    Anyone who can host a, “Die-in,” on the streets of America to protest Israel’s right to defend herself, doesn’t understand the depth of the problem.

  19. This little piece of so post-modern art inspired protest looks stupid and foolish. I happen to agree with the basic thought – that Israel’s actions in Lebanon – where – are – stupid.
    HOWEVER, this is not the way to argue this point – they just look like a bunch of leftist seals.
    They make me wanna take a baseball bat to their pathetic heads.

  20. Micah,
    to make yourself feel better about how much the mainstream western media ignores the suffering of non-israelis, just check out any of the coverage of the war in the non-mainstream, nay, obscure! outlets such as the new york times, cnn, the bbc…they did a nice job of covering lebanese suffering, and the times even had a heartwarming front-page picture of the red cross helping wounded hezbollah freedom fighters escape across the litani. it was really lovely, actually. too bad no one reads this particular local paper.
    please explain, from your perspective, israel’s illegal occupation of lebanese land. and for good measure, throw in all that silly stuff about syrian & lebanon refusing to take responsibility for “shebaa farms” after israel unilaterally withdrew from lebanon.
    despite my sarcasm (did you notice?) i do actually want to hear how you would explain what you describe as israel’s illegal occupation of lebanese territory.
    oh, and also just what in general you think about hezbollah, which is, by charter, dedicated to israel’s eradication, and, thus, you might say, to a real honest-to-goodness Jewish die-in.

  21. Micah: Israel’s military actions in Lebanon weren’t being taken in your name or in Judaism’s name. They were being taken in the name of preventing missiles from landing on Israelis’ heads. How selfish to make this all about yourself!

  22. Cole,
    I was away from the internet for a couple days, but to belatedly answer your question, it’s the post, the petition, and the reflexive assumptions behind both.

  23. “But Samantha Litman, a spokeswoman for the demonstrators, said they were disputing a claim that all Bay Area Jewish organizations promote a blanket policy of supporting Israeli military action.”
    Who ever made this claim on behalf of “all Bay Area Jewish organizations”? Nobody, you say? Ah yes, more unsubstantiated claims made by the far left. Not that we expect anything less. What’s next, claims Israel is engaging in a policy of “genocide” against the Lebanese? Heard that one on WBAI a couple of nights ago. Yawn…

  24. WEVS1 read the article before you respond. that is what the federation said, and what the person was responding to.

  25. OK. I followed the link. And, again, the far left lies. Here is the quote:
    “”The Bay Area Jewish community overwhelmingly supports Israel and stands with Israel against terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah and Hamas,” Santis said.”
    Cole, you really should read a bit closer. *Overwhelmingly* supports is not the same as “all Bay Area Jewish organizations” support. The former is accurate. Bay Area Jewish organizations and Jews in general do overwhelmingly support Israel’s actions. But to say that all Jews or all Jewish organizations do anything is not only essentialist, it’s offensive.

  26. “Just as offensive as it is to members of the community who continue to be silenced.”
    Cole, nobody is “silencing” you. You and your pals went out into the streets, enagaged in a political role-playing stunt (“direct action”), and, surprise, nobody cared. If you were truly “silenced” I wouldn’t be responding to you right now. You’d be in jail, or worse. Real, actual, brutal, silencing is what happens in totalitarian societies. What you meant to write is that you are politically marginalized, not silenced. And that is due to your own ideas and actions.

  27. Actually, a lot of people cared–case in point, you’ve been making comment after comment.
    People care deeply.

  28. “Actually, a lot of people cared–case in point, you’ve been making comment after comment.”
    I’m commenting to correct the lies and misinformation peddled by you and other extreme leftists here at Jewschool. I care when people or groups (communists, fascists) continually lie and misrepresent what other people say. That’s exactly what happened above. I’ve studied the radical left and right long enough to know that misrepresentation and continuous lies are the only way they can get people to believe the nonsense they peddle. That and silencing the opposition. Real silencing. Not self-imposed political marginalization.
    I’m not commenting because the actions had some sort of impact on U.S. or Israeli policy. Because they didn’t. There is a difference, Cole. You must be aware of that.
    I also have some free time on my hands this afternoon. Slow Friday here at work and all that.
    Shabbat Shalom.

  29. I could also go through and breakdown misinformation you give your comments, but ultimately, the point is this: direct actions are meant to stir conversations–they are a different strategy to work “outside” the “system”–they aren’t lobbying to change legislative policy. They call for change yes, and call for a change in policy, yes but are used as a different tactic when people aren’t getting heard. You must be aware of that too.

  30. xisntox – you should think twice about what you’re saying. first of all palestine is for the arabs not for the zionists who came over in 1948 and took over Palestine. They don’t deserve it at all. And i have been to the westbank and have seen what the jewish soldiers have done to the arabs. The jews are the real terrorist. So next time you same palestine is for the jews think twice about it and also think about the thousands of arabs who have been killed and kicked out of their homelands.

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