Open Letter to the Jewish Alliance of Greater RI Regarding Violence in Gaza
Dear Adam Greenman, Mitzi Berkelhammer, and Jana Brenman,
On Friday night, Jews across Rhode Island and around the world gathered for the first night of Passover. Many of us sat around Seder tables, asking questions about liberation and reflecting on what our history can teach us about justice for the oppressed.
But while we discussed our exodus from Mitzrayim, which translates to the narrow place, Gaza became an even narrower place for Palestinian protesters and their families. At that same time, Israeli Defense Forces were firing openly on Palestinian protesters in Gaza, resulting in the death of 24 people so far and injuring over 1,000 more.
March 30th, 2018 was the single deadliest day of the occupation since 2014. But this violence is not new. In fact, Friday’s demonstration commemorated Land Day, a protest that took place on March 30, 1976, in response to Israel’s confiscation of 2,000 hectares of Palestinian land, and resulted in the murder of six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel by the Israeli Defense Forces. The violence of the occupation is not new, just as the stories of oppression we tell each year on Passover are not new. But as young American Jews, along with others concerned with justice for Palestine, we are newly appalled and called to action by both. As we tell and retell the story of our liberation, we stand firm in our belief that the Jewish people were not led out of bondage so that we could inflict the same violence upon others.
Now, our generation says Dayenu. Enough. Enough to the violence of occupation, enough to American Jewish complicity, and enough to the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s implicit support of these crimes. In light of these recent events and in the spirit of Passover we demand that the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island release a statement condemning the actions of the Israeli government and military in Gaza, and reconstruct its planned “Rhode Island Goes to Israel” trip this coming fall to properly educate participants about the realities of the occupation. In addition, we demand that the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island divest from Birthright and cease any support for their programs, and that the Alliance discontinue or heavily modify its Shaliach Israel Emissary program to accurately reflect the violence of the occupation.
This Passover, we stand on the side of liberation. We ask you to stand with us.
Claire Davidson Miller
Noah Byck Mlyn
Nina Wolff Landau
Ruby Aiyo Gerber
Sam Sander Effron
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