Jewish Voice For Peace in The Middle East – Please read and add your voice

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Jewish Voice for Peace are a group of people who are working together to bring peace to the Middle East to Jewish, Muslim and Arabic communities and are working with like minded people all over the world both Jewish and non Jewish. We are all brothers and sisters that deserve the right to live in harmony. Who are shouting loudly to the USA and Israeli governments to say no more killing, not in our name.

You can visit their website and be part of a growing number of people putting pressure on governments and companies to end the violence.

Their Mission Statement
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.  JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression.  JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.

Our Political Platform
Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.

We seek:

  • A U.S. foreign policy based on promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and respect
    for international law
  • An end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem
  • A resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with international law and equity
  • An end to all violence against civilians
  • Peace among the peoples of the Middle East

We are among the many American Jews who say to the U.S. and Israeli governments: “Not in our names!”

JVP supports peace activists in Palestine and Israel, and works in broad coalition with other Jewish, Arab-American, faith-based, peace and social justice organizations.

Jewish Voice for Peace calls for a U.S. foreign policy that promotes democracy and human rights.  The United States must stop supporting repressive policies in Israel and elsewhere. U.S. military aid to countries in the Middle East must be based on rigorous enforcement of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, which mandate that military aid may be used for only defensive purposes within the recipient country’s borders, and that aid may not be delivered to countries that abuse human rights.
Under these guidelines, U.S. military aid to Israel must be suspended until the occupation ends, since the occupation itself is in violation of these guidelines. Military aid allows Israel to avoid making serious efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as conflicts with its other neighbors.  It enables the occupation, contributes to the devastation of Palestinian society and fosters the increasing militarization of Israeli society.
JVP also calls for suspension of military aid to other human rights abusers and occupiers in the Middle East. This aid helps prop up autocratic and repressive regimes, promotes violations of human rights and international law, obstructs democratic movements, prolongs the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and fosters militarism and violence at home and abroad.

Israelis and Palestinians have the right to security, sovereignty, and self-determination within political entities of their own choosing.
Israel must end its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, completely withdraw from these Occupied Territories and relinquish all its settlements, military outposts and by-pass roads.
Jerusalem has to be shared in a manner that reflects its spiritual, economic, and political importance to both Israelis and Palestinians, as well as to all Jews, Muslims and Christians.
The plight of Palestinian refugees needs to be resolved equitably and in a manner that promotes peace and is consistent with international law. Within the framework of an equitable agreement, the refugees should have a role in determining their future, whether pursuing return, resettlement, or financial compensation. Israel should recognize its share of responsibility for the ongoing refugee crisis and for its resolution.
The parties must equitably distribute water and other natural resources.
Diplomatic negotiations between the two parties must be held unconditionally. Countries other than the U.S. should be involved in peace negotiations. An international peacekeeping force should be established to protect all civilians.

All people of the Middle East deserve the right to democratic participation and equality within their societies, regardless of religion, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or other status.
Israel must cease its use of military force against Palestinian civilians, including attacks involving American-supplied F-16s and Apache helicopters. Moreover, Israel must stop land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.
Palestinians must stop suicide bombings and other attacks on Israeli civilians.
The international community must support Palestinian efforts to promote democracy and human rights, while understanding that this aim cannot be fully achieved under occupation.
Racism and bigotry cannot be tolerated, whether in the U.S. or abroad, whether against Arabs or against Jews.

I remember listening to my great aunt Tante Babe’s heartbreaking stories of seeing her young cousin killed during an attack on thousands of Jews, a pogrom, in her city of Bialystok. That infamous pogrom was in 1906, the very year the American Jewish Committee was founded to oppose such attacks.

Feeling alone and unprotected, our family needed the American Jewish Committee. Years later, I remember my parents supporting the Anti-Defamation League because of their support for Jewish refuseniks in the USSR.

And then there’s my grandfather who endured the extermination of most of his family at the hands of Nazis. He is why I greeted with enthusiasm the emergence of a human rights group in the 1970s named after Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi hunter.

These Jewish organizations came into existence at a time when my family – and so many others – needed them desperately, and their contributions and achievements on behalf of Jews and non-Jews made me proud.

But times have changed, and the missions of these groups have changed. All too often, advocacy for universal human rights has taken a back seat to their belief that they must support the Israeli government unconditionally.

For example, as I write this, it has been 22 days since Israeli citizen and human rights activist Ameer Makhoul was brutally taken from his home in the middle of the night, held without charges, denied a lawyer for 12 days, and most certainly tortured. All under cover of an Israeli media gag order. Regardless of the charges against him, which were only announced today, it is hard to imagine these groups remaining silent in the face of such outrageous repression in a modern democracy. Especially against an Israeli citizen.

Yet they say nothing.

The pattern is not new.

It is painful for me to say that today these organizations – organizations with such a proud history of civil and human rights – for many of us have come to stand for the exact opposite. Sadly, I now find myself opposed to the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for dismissing criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, for putting Israeli foreign policy above Armenian genocide recognition, for vilifying Muslims and Arabs, and for building a “Museum of Tolerance” on top of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.

For many people, these organizations have not been relevant for a long time. You might be one of them. But we also know they continue to be an important voice for many Jewish people.  And we will always need Jews to be safe. That’s why we must ask them to change just as so many Jews in America have changed.

My dad is one of those people who supported the Anti-Defamation League. But when I told him the role they played in silencing criticism when it comes to Israel, he literally tore in half a donation check he had planned to send.

I’m not asking you to go that far. But whether you love them or hate them, we have to call on them to change.

We don’t expect them to fall in line with everything you and I support, but we expect them to at least have a line when it comes to basic human rights and dignity. Please join me in asking the leaders of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center to denounce the increasing government-sponsored violence in Israel and Palestine. As Jews and non-Jewish allies who believe in universal human rights, we all have a right to demand that they speak out.

Because they have the ear of Israeli leaders, we believe their denunciation of anti-democratic measures can make a difference where Israelis and Palestinians are suffering the most.

Just last week, Peter Beinart suggested in his significant piece in the New York Review of Books that the greatest danger to the Jewish community today is not from outside, but from inside.

Beinart was referring to the increasing disconnect of Jewish leaders from Jewish people, especially young people, when it comes to Israel and Palestine. Their ongoing unconditional support of Israel’s actions, even when they violate the basic tenets of Judaism and democratic values, has become untenable.

Israel’s violations of human rights and dignity are increasing each day with:

Midnight raids on activists, including Palestinians, Israeli citizens, and internationals

Media gag orders, which keep the Israeli press from being able to write about these arrests

Crushing non-violent protests by the Israeli Army, using rubber bullets, tear gas, and even live ammunition to put down protests

Silencing NGO’s who report on these outrages, using restrictive legislation in the Israeli Knesset.

Banning internationals who are insufficiently supportive of Israel.

And through all of this, Jewish leaders remain silent.

Enough is enough.

It has been decades since the first Palestinian refugees were barred from returning to their homes. It’s time our community leaders reflected our values and did as much to combat oppression when it is practiced by Jews as when it practiced against us.

Please sign our letter urging the leaders of three major human rights organizations–Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, and Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center– to speak out against these crimes.

Cecilie Surasky
Jewish Voice for Peace

One Response to “Jewish Voice For Peace in The Middle East – Please read and add your voice”

  1. admin says:

    Hi Dorien, You can contact Jewish Voice for Peace at the contact details below. I believe Kate Leitrer is part of their organisation as I had to look up the info on the web. Hope this helps if not please get in contact and we will try and help further.
    Also well done its so commendable that Jewish and Palestinians people are coming together, lets pray this generation can heal the wounds and find peace.
    Kindest Regards

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