Jewish Voice for Peace Supports the Movement for Black Lives and is Appalled that the Jewish Federation Disassociates Itself from the Black Lives Matter Movement

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Jewish Voice for Peace Supports the Movement for Black Lives and is Appalled that the Jewish Federation Disassociates Itself from the Black Lives Matter Movement

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)–Portland and JVP–national both fully endorse the demands and vision boldly and inspiringly laid out in the recently released Movement for Black Lives platform.  The platform, a collective effort of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country, articulates a common vision and agenda and recognizes the shared struggle of Black people with all oppressed people. With the release of this powerful, transformative policy statement, the Black Lives Matter movement has just taken a huge and important step towards the creation of a real movement for social and political change in our country.

Portland JVP endorses the Movement for Black Lives platform in its entirety, without reservation.  However, we are deeply disappointed by the statement released August 4th by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland stating their opposition to the Movement for Black Lives platform due to its call for Black-Palestinian solidarity and support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The Federation says it will disassociate itself “from the Black Lives Matter platform and all Black Lives Matter organizations that embrace it.”

It is terribly unfortunate that the Jewish Federation is rejecting thorough and inspiring transformational policy ideas developed by a broad coalition of Black leaders simply because these Black leaders have linked the experiences and struggles of Palestinians with their own.  JVP honors those linkages and the non-violent struggle of the Palestinian people, like that of African-Americans, for freedom, justice and equality.

Rather than hear the message, the Jewish Federation chooses instead to kill the messenger. If the Federation wonders why JVP is the fastest growing Jewish organization in the country or why increasing numbers of especially young Jews not only support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, equality and justice, but also feel the Jewish Federation does not speak for them, the Federation need look no further than their deplorable stand on this Movement for Black Lives platform.


Portland Jewish Voice for Peace Condemns Israel’s New Attack on Gaza

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November 15, 2012
Contact: Jewish Voice for Peace - Portland, Oregon

As Israel launches operation “Pillar of Defense” in Gaza, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) calls for an immediate cessation of the air strikes and naval bombardment into Gaza and an end to the ongoing siege of Gaza. We urge President Obama to take a stand against these attacks and to use the power of the United States to insist that Israel pursue all diplomatic measures possible for the sake of life, safety and security on all sides. JVP opposes all attacks on civilians, and urges the end of rocket attacks from Gaza into civilian communities in Israel, which only serve to derail efforts for a just resolution to the conflict.

This operation is named in reference to a biblical passage in which a pillar of cloud protects the Israelites as they wandered in the desert after leaving bondage in Egypt.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night. - Exodus 13:21

It is unseemly to invoke the protection afforded the Israelites wandering in the desert when Israel is the dominant military power in the region. JVP rejects the possibility that such a military operation and escalation of violence will be of any protection for Israelis or Palestinians. As Israel continues to control Gaza by air, land and sea, Israel holds responsibility for the well-being and safety of Palestinian civilians in Gaza who yet again will be traumatized, injured and killed through this latest escalation of violence as they were during Israel's "Cast Lead" assault on Gaza, 4 years ago.

JVP advocates for an end to U.S. unconditional military aid to Israel, aid which has too often been used in a manner putting the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians at grave risk. JVP also calls for divestment from all companies that profit from this escalation of violence and Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

Jewish Voice for Peace is a national organization (with a chapter in Portland) dedicated to promoting a US foreign policy in the Middle East based on peace, democracy, human rights and respect for international law.

With over 100,000 supporters and 30 chapters, a Rabbinic Cabinet, and a youth wing, JVP’s board of advisors includes Tony Kushner, Ed Asner, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and other respected rabbis, artists, scholars and activists.             



Portland buses display maps of Israel's theft of Palestinian lands

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Beginning on September 30th, on the exteriors of MAX trains and Tri-Met buses cruising through Portland’s busiest intersections, a series of four maps will powerfully portray an important aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the battle for control of land.

The first map (1946), approximately a year before Israel was created, shows that Jewish communities owned no more than 6% of historic Palestine and represended 30% of the population.

The second map spells out the United Nations partition plan of 1947, which awarded the Jewish community a state on 55% of the land alongside a much reduced Palestine even though Palestinians were the strong majority of the land’s inhabitants.

The third map (1948-1967) displays the armistice lines from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. In this map Israel controls 78% of the land.

The fourth map is where we are today. In the 1967 war, Israel took control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli occupation – now in its 45th year - of the West Bank is being made permanent as Israel systematically takes more and more Palestinian land to accommodate Israel’s massive settlement project to establish irreversible “facts on the ground”. Over half a million Israeli settlers now live in the occupied West Bank. Under international law, it is illegal for Israel to move Israeli settlers into the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel is on the verge of annexing 60% of the West Bank.

These maps attract attention because they graphically tell a story of dispossession. They point to an important reality: that as Israel has expanded in what was historic Palestine, the majority of the indigenous people of that land - the Palestinians - have either been driven off their land, or, where they remain, have no sovereignty and few rights.

These maps are part of a campaign to educate Americans about what’s really going on in Israeli-Palestine and are sponsored by a number of individuals and three organizations: Friends of Sabeel - North America, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace. These groups believe that massive American support for Israeli policies of expansion is detrimental to the cause of peace and to America’s standing in the world. “Israel’s expansionist policies and occupation of Palestinian land,” said Maxine Fookson of Jewish Voice for Peace, “is supported by virtually no country in the world except the U.S. It is our hope that these ads will promote informed dialogue and challenge American policy makers to replace their blind support for Israel with a commitment to justice and equality for all peoples of the region.”

The maps will run on 20 trains and 9 buses for at least a month.



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JVP-Portland member Maxine Fookson was recently in Gaza with Physicians for Social Responsibility. Read her blog here.

JVP-Portland member Maxine Fookson and Mohammed Nabil co-host One Land Many Voices on community radio KBOO. For more info, click here.