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VALUES AND MISSION
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MIT Jews for Ceasefire: Values and Mission

We build the Jewish community we envision at MIT

We create a space for all Jews — especially Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, Mizrahi, Queer, and Disabled Jews. We bring our unique backgrounds, identities and perspectives, grow in our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world, and strive to make our communities safe and free.

We center our community on the Jewish value of Doikayt, or “here-ness.” This means creating a home for Jews and everyone else, where we are, at MIT — free of antisemitism and all other forms of bigotry. As anti-Zionist Jews, we do not look to or wait on a Jewish nation state to feel safe — we start working right here, right now.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinian Liberation

As Jews, we reject Zionism and demand an end to the genocide, apartheid, and occupation that subjugates our Palestinian siblings. Jewish history teaches us the importance of a people’s self-determination and we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian movement for liberation and we affirm Palestinians’ right to resist. We will not engage in attempts to undermine the fight for Palestinian liberation that draw the movement into endless public debates over the means by which Palestinians dismantle the systems that oppress them. We define our role as Jews at MIT to pressure our institutions to end support for Israeli genocide, apartheid, and occupation.

We are committed to Collective Liberation 

As a Jewish group, we fight for Jewish safety at MIT and beyond. We know that our safety is threatened by white supremacist ideologies, including the dangerous conflations of Judaism and Zionism, and pitting of Jews against other minorities, especially our Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian siblings. We must dismantle white supremacy in all its forms – it is impossible to fight antisemitism while embracing other forms of racism. The struggle for Jewish safety and liberation is inextricably linked with those of other oppressed groups around the world. We will not stop fighting until we achieve our common goal of collective liberation.

We take care of ourselves and each other

We create a community in which we care for and collaborate with one another. We step up when others need us and ask for help when we are in need. As a group striving towards justice in the world, we value and nurture each person’s well-being. As part of a larger movement, we show up for our allies to sustain each other in collective struggle at MIT and beyond.

We practice Teshuvah 

We are committed to the practice of Teshuvah, which roughly translates to returning to something you’ve looked away from. If we stray from our values, fail to show up effectively, or inadvertently cause harm, we will take accountability for our actions and work to repair and prevent future negligence or harm. To build a just world we must actively work to unlearn and fight against our own ignorance and internalized prejudices. We will return to our values, reflect, and grow. We actively welcome feedback both from within our community and, especially, from our siblings fighting for justice alongside us.

Our Language

Zionism

The belief that the Jewish right to self determination is intrinsically tied to the existence of a Jewish nation state, which can only be achieved through violent occupation, settler colonialism, expulsion, and exclusion of the indigenous population.

Anti-Zionism

The belief that the Jewish right to self determination is threatened by the illusion of safety under a Jewish nation state, and that a militarized settler colonial regime is in direct opposition of Jewish liberation which is intrinsically tied to the liberation of Palestinians and all oppressed people.

        

Antisemitism 

We embrace the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) which defines antisemitism as the “discrimination, prejudice, hostility, or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).” The JDA definition further expands on the definition with guidelines under three categories: (1) General, (2) Israel and Palestine: examples that, on the face of it, are antisemitic, and (3) Israel and Palestine: examples that, on the face of it, are not antisemitic.

Apartheid

As defined by Human Rights Watch, Apartheid is a crime against humanity consisting of three primary elements: (1) an intent by one racial group to dominate another; (2) systematic oppression by the dominant group over the marginalized group; and (3) particularly grave abuses known as inhumane acts.

        Human Rights organizations on Israeli Apartheid

  1. Adalah
  2. Al-Haq
  3. Amnesty International
  4. Human Rights Watch
  5. B’tselem
  6. Harvard Human Rights Clinic

Genocide

According to the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

Diasporism

Diasporism is the practice of creating religious, cultural, social, political, and economic homes wherever we, as Jews, find ourselves. Central to this practice is the conception of Doikayt (hereness), a commitment to create vibrant spheres of Jewish life and fight for collective liberation in our communities.

Further Reading:

https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/resource/zionism/

https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/2019/01/12/a-partial-history-of-jewish-alternatives/

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/antisemitism-palestine-israel-gaza/

https://www.aprilrosenblum.com/world 

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0032329221999906 

https://jerusalemdeclaration.org/ 

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/07/19/israeli-apartheid-threshold-crossed 

https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/10770 

https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/20931.html 

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/ 

https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution 

https://www.btselem.org/apartheid 

https://hrp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/IHRC-Addameer-Submission-to-HRC-COI-Apartheid-in-WB.pdf 

https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/convention-prevention-and-punishment-crime-genocide 

The Colors of Jews by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/kaye-kantrowitz-melanie

Jacob Plitman, On an Emerging Diasporism