Tomorrow, Monday, October 19th, 2015, in the midst of all of the heartbreak and unfairness and violence and narrowness and collective punishment sweeping Jerusalem in particular and Israel-Palestine in general, hundreds of Jews from all over the world will gather in Jerusalem under the auspices of the World Zionist Congress, a body which will make decisions that will have real impacts everyone living under Israeli control – meaning, Israeli citizens and Palestinians living under occupation alike.
Palestinians won’t be invited to share their opinion on where housing budgets should be allocated. In fact, many of these Palestinians are currently facing threats by the Israeli government to have their own houses demolished, in places like Susiya and the South Hebron Hills.
At the same time that the World Zionist Congress will be convening, dozens of Jews – including myself- associated with The Center for Jewish Nonviolence and the All That’s Left anti-Occupation Collective will be in Jerusalem as well. As soon as we gather, we will pose the following question to the attendees of the World Zionist Congress:
“What are you doing to end the occupation?”
We don’t claim to have a perfect answer, or a glistening solution. But what we do know is this: There is no issue more urgent facing the Jewish people today, morally, politically and spiritually, than seeking at every juncture to end the nearly half-century old occupation of millions of Palestinians.
Who are we?
We are Jews from around the world, from Israel and from the US and Canada, from the United Kingdom and Belgium, who are fed up with the Israeli occupation and the discrimination that is perpetrated by a system that treats others as separate and unequal.
How can you get involved?
Folks reading this from abroad:
1. Support the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s IndieGoGo campaign aimed, primarily, at raising money to do direct action and work on the ground with residnets of Susiya, Um al-Kheir and other villages in the South Hebron Hills are of the Occupied West Bank.
Folks reading this from here (Israel-Palestine) and who are able to travel freely under the restrictions put in place by the very occupation which we are gathering to protest:
1. Join us on Monday afternoon, October 19th, as we spend the afternoon in Susiya, working on a school (that is threatened with demolition from the Israeli occupation authorities, like most of the Palestinian structures in the South Hebron Hills) and picking olives in Susiya. There will be a bus leaving from Binyanei HaUma in Jerusalem at 1:00PM, and from Gan HaPaamon at 1:30PM. Sign up here.
2. Join us Tuesday morning, October 20th, and Wednesday morning, October 21st, as we hand out flyers to the delegates of the World Zionist Congress asking them the following question: “What are you doing to end the occupation?” Both days, we will meet at 7:00AM at Binyanei HaUma. All are welcome to come, even for five minutes.
3. Join us on Wednesday afternoon, October 21st, for an East Jerusalem-oriented tour. We will plan the route and the details in accordance to the guidance given by Palestinian colleagues and partners on the ground. Timing and route details are still TBD, but it will be approximately 1PM-4PM. Sign up here.
4. Join us on Thursday, October 22nd, either all day or for part of the day, as we return to Susiya and the South Hebron Hills to continue working on the school, learning from residents and local activists, planting thyme, picking olives and protesting the occupation’s policies which seek to destroy these beautiful, thriving Palestinian communities. On this day, we will break bread as guests of Susiya, both for lunch and dinner, and will have transport options leaving in the morning, (8:30am Binyenei HaUma; 9:00am Gan HaPaamon) and in the afternoon (Timing TBD, either 12:30 PM or a bit later). Sign up here.
5. Join us on Friday, October 23rd, as we go do another day of olive harvesting alongside Palestinian activists and community organizers connected to the Tent of Nations in the West Bank. Bus pickup 9:00am Binyenei HaUma; 9:30am Gan HaPaamon. We will return before Shabbat. Sign up here.
I hope to see many of you there, and thank you for those who have supported this initiative so far, politically, financially, morally and spiritually.
Hope for better days, and for a week of meaningful nonviolent activism.