Just Voices #13, June 2017 – Israel/Palestine

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By Sylvie Leber

Dear AJDS members and supporters,

This month we mark the 50th year since Israel’s annexation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For many Jews, this was cause for celebration. In Arabic, however, this event is called the Naksa, or ‘setback’. In terms of its traumatic resonance, this anniversary comes second to the cataclysmic establishment of a Jewish State in 1948, the Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’. But debates within the Jewish Left about wording, or the ranking of such devastating events, can at times feel like a distraction from the ongoing, escalating violence and severe restrictions on democratic rights and free speech. To a growing number of Jews worldwide, it is unthinkable that such social injustice in Israel/Palestine should continue and escalate. This dissent was evident with the groundswell of expressions of solidarity for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Military forces suppressed some demonstrations with violence; it was also used against the Sumud Freedom Camp at Sarura, a resettled Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, joined by hundreds of activists from around the world including AJDS executive members Jordy Silverstein and Rachel Liebhaber, there with the Centre for Jewish Nonviolence. This kind of peaceful action transcends internal divisions and minor differences, and makes successful and lasting connections that are stronger than any wall or other physical barrier.

In this spirit, the current issue of Just Voices brings together voices that inspire, inform, and strengthen our collective resolve to stand up for universal human rights in Israel/Palestine. And as we each take up more opportunities for action, solidarity and change, I hope you will share your own take on being progressive in 2017.

Keren Rubinstein, AJDS Content Editor