This summer I am working for IfNotNow, a movement led by young Jews to stop Jewish-American support for the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine. There were many things that brought me to this work, but the sense of duty to justice, Jewish and Palestinian people, and the global community helped me realize it is imperative for me, a Jewish woman, to do this work. The phrase, “no one is free while others are oppressed” emulates what is at stake for me and these communities.
Like I said, IfNotNow works to end Jewish American support for the occupation, but my work this summer has centered around the upcoming annexation of the West Bank. This annexation, illegal under international law, codifies the existing conditions that Palestinians live under. Under occupation, or “de facto” annexation, Palestinians have limited access to water and electricity, must go through excessive checkpoints to leave or enter their towns, are subject to land grabs from the Israeli government, and are forcibly removed from their homes which are destroyed for settlements. To address these injustices, IfNotNow works to educate within the Jewish American community about these issues to encourage action against annexation- de facto and permanent.
This summer I am leading IfNotNow Boston’s anti-annexation campaign. Thus far I’ve been responsible for coordinating constituent meetings with elected officials, running call-in campaigns, and organizing Jewish youth groups.
A recent highlight is that I helped facilitate a constituent meeting with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who actually showed up to our zoom meeting. To fulfill my responsibilities, I’m usually sending emails or talking with my someone from my cohort, made up of people leading electoral and political education work.
We are hoping to influence congress and our local Jewish communities to support conditional aid to Israel, as it has historically been effective in preventing Israel from extending human rights crises. We also hope to bring information about the realities on the ground to the Jewish public because often, people just don’t know what is happening. Through education, we are furthering our mission of ending Jewish-American support for the occupation by creating an active opposition to it. Through advocating for consequences to the Israeli government to Congress and the Senate, we’re looking at furthering our mission through legislative change.
The small steps to justice look like full email inboxes, having one on one conversations with fellow organizers, and lots of zoom calls. But the progress looks like a vibrant Jewish community that stands for freedom and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians. I am excited to continue my work into this summer and as annexation creeps closer and closer. Having begun my first foray into the non-profit world I am determined to keep fighting and learning how to be the best advocate and organizer I can be.