Jewish activists draw attention to 60 years of forced exile and dispossession in Palestine
San Francisco — Twenty Jewish activists were arrested while demonstrating opposition to Israel’s 60 year-old policy of dispossession and highlighting the often-silenced struggle of Palestinian refugees.
For over two hours, 20 Jewish activists disrupted San Francisco’s anniversary event, bunkering against the main atrium of the Jewish Community Center.
In conjunction, over fifty Jewish and Palestinian supporters held a rally outside the center to call attention to the ongoing Israeli policy of apartheid against the Palestinian population. With banners reading “Jews in Solidarity with 60-plus years of Palestinian Resistance,” activists declared the anniversary, “no time to celebrate.”
“The dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a brutal example of Israel’s long history of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment against Palestinians,” said arrested activist Sara Kershnar.
“We are here today to condemn the JCRC’s celebration of this history along with unconditional economic and political support for Israeli policy,” she said.
The action in San Francisco, organized by the local International Jewish Solidarity Network, is part of “No Time to Celebrate,” a national Jewish campaign opposing Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
The Israeli Consulate and the Jewish Community and Relations Council (JCRC), who have attempted to silence any and all criticism of Israeli policy, were the sponsors of th celebrations.
“As Jews of conscience, acting in solidarity with 60-plus years of Palestinian resistance, we’re here today to promote an independence that does not depend on an ethnically or religiously exclusive state or on the displacement of indigenous people,” said Eric Romann, IJSN organizer. “What we want is joint liberation, not isolation.”
Throughout the month of May, Jewish organizations in cities across the U.S. and Canada are sponsoring celebrations of Israel’s Independence Day.
Simultaneously, Palestinians around the world are mourning 60 years since al-Naqba — Arabic for the “catastrophe” — of 1948, when Zionist militias destroyed and depopulated over 400 Palestinian villages and caused more than 725,000 Palestinians to become refugees in order to create the Israeli state.
Today, there are over 4.5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and more than one million not registered, scattered throughout the world.
These Palestinian refugees are still awaiting the implementation of international law allowing the right to return to their homeland. The majority of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, descendents of those refugees who fled their homes and villages in 1948, are subject to Israel’s crushing blockade and are undergoing intolerable living conditions. Israel’s policies of preferential laws and treatment for Israeli-Jews — not Palestinian Israelis — within Israel-proper, and military impunity for IDF actions against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are reflective of a long history of horrific discrimination.
For more information, visit //notimetocelebrate.wordpress.com.
International Solidarity Movement