Never Again—Not for Anyone: No Deportations/No Wall Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland Stands Strongly for Immigrant Justice

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“…Communities across the country are inspired to support sanctuary policies to protect all residents from the collateral consequences of the Administration’s declaration of war against immigrants and refugees.” (From the National Day Laborer Organizing Network statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration, 1/25/17).

Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland (JVP-PDX) stands in strong opposition to the January 25 Presidential Executive Orders that greatly expand immigration enforcement through measures that will lead to increased detention and deportation and the construction of a wall on the U.S. Mexico border. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) advocates for equality and justice for Palestinians, and recognizes the similarities and connections between the racial exclusion in the policies of the Israeli government towards Palestinians and those being carried out in the current immigration orders issued on 1/25/17 by President Trump and the enactment of those orders in the memos released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on 2/22/17.  

In summary, the DHS memos enact the following:  Adds 10,000 new officers to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workforce and 5000 additional staff to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), makes “expedited removal” (i.e., removal without due process) easier and more widespread, criminalizes and deports parents who sought to bring their foreign born children to the US for safety and to reunite with them, greatly expands the definition of “priority removal” by increasing the types of “crimes” that will result in automatic deportation, reenacts the highly unjust “Secure Community Program” and demands that local law enforcement and ICE share biometric data on individuals arrested and charged with crimes (prior to any findings of guilt). The memo also calls for the implementation of planning for construction of a wall between the US and Mexico. 

The first person to applaud President Trump’s announcement of the plans for the wall was Israeli PM Netanyahu, as he tweeted about the “success “of the wall Israel has created. The Israeli wall, in fact, violates International law by existing in part on occupied Palestinian land and restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians.

JVP strongly calls out the violations of human rights where they occur on all fronts. This week’s operationalizing of President Trump’s Immigration order codifies racial profiling, denial of the rights to a fair trial, interweaving the immigration system with local law enforcement in ways that make all our communities less safe, and create a costly, divisive and unnecessary barrier wall between the U.S. and Mexico. “On top of these hard cold realities, these policies of detention and deportation will separate and destroy families, create fear in our neighbors and communities, and create major barriers to individuals who have legitimate reasons to seek safety and asylum in the U.S.” said JVP-PDX member, Ned Rosch.

JVP-PDX actively supports the work of the immigration justice community in Portland and nationally by calling for:

·      Just and fair immigration reform that recognizes and addresses:  The underlying economic, sexual and political injustices that cause individuals to immigrate, full open borders that allow for a democratic process to evaluate an individual’s case for immigration, an end to discriminatory immigration policies that target individuals from poor and war-infected, dangerous areas; 

·      Uphold and strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and include their parents as was proposed in the Deferred Action for the Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program;

·      Support for the New Sanctuary Movement to offer safety, justice and dignity to all;

·      End the use of private prisons for immigration detention that maximize corporate profit and have a high incidence of human rights abuses;

 As a group focused on U.S. foreign policy related to Israel, JVP specifically calls out the connections and profiteering that Israeli arms corporations are making through the increased militarization and criminalization of the US-Mexico border.

 

JVP-PDX supports two upcoming events sponsored by allied groups:
 
Saturday Feb. 24 at 11 AM-12:30 PM at the OR Convention Center
Stand Up for the Dignity and Protection of Immigrants Rally

 

Monday 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at ICE Headquarters
Coming Out of the Shadows: Undocumented and Unashamed Rally
 

Portland's chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace calls on Oregon's Senators and Representatives to oppose the nomination of David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel

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Citing his record of support for illegal Israeli settlements and annexation of Palestinian land, the local chapter of the national organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, is calling for strong opposition to the Trump administration's choice for US Ambassador to Israel.

"The United States must break with the past and begin to play an honest role in upholding international law, human rights and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis," explained Rod Such of JVP-Portland. "The Friedman nomination and the suggestion that the US move its embassy to Jerusalem are dangerous provocations that signal heightened oppression of the Palestinian people and risk increasing violence and instability for the region as a whole."

Local JVP members emphasized Friedman's lack of diplomatic experience as a key factor disqualifying Donald Trump's bankruptcy lawyer, but pointed to his extreme politics as the more serious danger of this nomination.

"Friedman is both a vigorous supporter and significant funder of the illegal, Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestinian land, settlements that even the Trump administration seems belatedly to recognize as obstacles to peace," said Ned Rosch, another JVP-Portland member. "He has compared members of the Jewish peace advocacy organization, J-Street, to Jewish collaborators with the Nazis, he forcefully backs the illegal Israeli annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and he's endorsed the religious profiling of discriminatory screening of Muslim immigrants, a policy that has put our country into turmoil and trashed our standing in the international community."

“It’s difficult to understand how the US can play a constructive role in ending the half century old Israeli occupation of Palestinian land when this new administration wants to include a person like nominee David Friedman among its ranks,” explained Zaha Handoush, a human rights lawyer and JVP supporter. “Friedman is widely known to have led a US ‘charity' that sends money overseas to support a settlement-colony deep inside the West Bank only meters from the Palestinian president’s home; proponents and financial supporters of war crimes—which is what settlements in the occupied West Bank are—should be automatically disqualified from representing the US anywhere much less in the country where those crimes are taking place."

“Most disturbing is his role as fundraising chair of the militant and radical Bet El Settlement which promotes violence,” added Nick Khoury, Palestinian activist and JVP member. “He has stated his opposition to the two-state solution for Israel/Palestine with unrestricted illegal West Bank settlement construction and annexation.”

“Like we see with the DAPl [Dakota Access Pipeline] and the disregard this administration has for the indigenous land of the Standing Rock Sioux people, Israeli settlements are illegal and constitute theft of homes, lands, livelihoods and often of lives of Palestinians," said Maxine Fookson, another JVP member. “This is the movement that Mr. Friedman represents.”

In addition to urging the Oregon Delegation to oppose Friedman's nomination, JVP-Portland is encouraging fellow Oregonians to speak out. "We hope we can stop this nomination early in the process, specifically in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," said Peter Miller, another JVP member, "so we're asking folks to call the leaders of that committee, Senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, to explain that Friedman’s dangerous extremism threatens any prospects for a just peace in Palestine-Israel."

JVP-Portland is also calling on other local Jewish organizations to speak out on this nomination and the proposed relocation of the US embassy. "We are encouraged that J Street has taken a strong stand on the Friedman nomination, making it a priority of their work," said Carol Landsman, another JVP-Portland member. "We are certain that fellow members of Oregon's Jewish community recognize the danger posed by the Friedman nomination, and we hope they join us in this effort to prevent it from going forward."

On Wednesday, February 15th, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, at Pioneer Courthouse Square, JVPPortland will join allied groups to protest the Trump-Netanyahu partnership. Details for this action are forthcoming.

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Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland Stands Strongly Against Islamophobia

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Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland (JVP-PDX) pledges to join with all those resisting Islamophobia. The direct targeting of Muslims through the Trump administration’s attempted travel ban is based on extreme right-wing, fringe, racist views, views we categorically reject.

The Executive Order recently signed by President Trump that created a travel ban on refugees, immigrants, and others coming to the U.S. from seven nations is blatant discrimination against Muslims. JVP-PDX applauds the temporary restraining order and the 9th Circuit ruling against Trump’s unconscionable ban.

“We will put our hearts, souls, and bodies on the line to stop these hateful and racist attacks. We promise to love, defend and fight alongside our friends, neighbors, and all communities directly impacted by these mean-spirited Executive Orders,” said Dr. Dick Adams, a JVP-PDX member.

The Islamophobic and xenophobic discourse and policies being promoted by the Trump administration are based on fear and lies that directly promote discrimination against Muslims. Trump’s claim of the need for these policies to assure national security has been well debunked.

There is an extremely fringe, ultra conservative right wing Islamophobic movement in our country that has been carefully researched. Key members of Trump’s administration, specifically Steve Bannon and retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, are affiliated with that movement and are now central in making U.S. policy. This landscape of the Trump White House is not just counter to our best values as a nation but it also is responsible for an increase in hate crimes, and sets a dangerous foreign policy that is likely to intensify anti-American sentiment around the world.

As an organization committed to working for justice and equality for Palestinians and Israelis, JVP is also gravely concerned that some of the same individuals who are driving this policy of hate and fear towards Muslims in the U.S. are those who also promote the most reactionary and right-wing agenda toward Israel—supporting settlement expansion, land confiscation, racism toward Palestinians and backing the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Jewish Voice for Peace will organize throughout our community to stand in solidarity with our Muslim, immigrant & refugee neighbors, friends, community members, and all who are targeted. Muslims and Arabs have significantly contributed to American society for many generations and are an integral part of the fabric of our country.

As a Jewish organization, we have a special responsibility to call out the historical parallels in the hatefulness and illegitimacy of these Executive Orders. The Network Against Islamophobia, an important part of Jewish Voice for Peace, is a national movement whose work, as allies of Arab and Muslim communities, is to identify, educate and stand against systemic Islamophobia.

Several generations ago, the U.S. closed its doors to desperate Jewish refugees, many of them our family members, fleeing the Nazi Holocaust. We also bear witness to the voices of our Japanese and Japanese-American friends and neighbors who themselves or their family members were targeted and interned during WWII as they too speak out in support of the Muslim community. We are here to say that these tragic episodes in our history must not be repeated. Never again – not for anyone.

We remember well and are inspired in this dark time by the words of Martin Niemöller, the prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public critic of Adolf Hitler:
…Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We all belong here. We proudly pledge – with our bodies if need be – to love, defend, support and speak out for one another.

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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.