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Dear JVP supporter
A fund-raising letter I wrote for Jewish Voice for Peace
Dear JVP supporter,
Some of our members have been involved in the movement for a just peace for over twenty years. The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon is what got me started. I could not accept that the country where I had grown up was being devastated in the name of Jews—in my name. With many others, I demonstrated; I attended meetings; I joined Jewish peace organizations. Eleven years later, I was thrilled when the Israeli government and the PLO signed the Oslo accords in 1993. Like many other activists, I thought we had won. We let our organizations disintegrate.
How wrong we were! In the following period, the Israeli government got serious about creating so-called facts on the ground: the number of settlements skyrocketed, Jewish-only roads were built, checkpoints proliferated, homes were demolished, trees were uprooted… When the Palestinians responded with the second intifada in 2000, we woke up to the reality that the so-called peace process was not what it appeared to be, and that we had made an enormous mistake when we demobilized. In the years after Oslo, the occupation had actually grown far more vicious. It is this realization that triggered the growth of JVP and the creation of many other Jewish peace groups throughout the United States and the world.
This time around, we will remain alert. We welcome any reduction in the violence, and the withdrawal of Israel from any of the occupied territories, but we are keeping our eyes on the big picture. Peace will not be possible as long as Israeli settlers and soldiers occupy Palestinian land in the West Bank; as long as East Jerusalem is annexed to Israel; as long as Palestinians men, women and children are assassinated by the Israeli military; as long as Israelis are killed in military service or in cafés.
The recent disengagement means that 2% of the settlers left the Palestinian territories, with Israel continuing its control of the borders, air space, and water of the Gaza Strip. The other 98% of the settlers remain in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with Israeli propaganda insisting that the disengagement is “painful”. (No such concern is shown for the thousands upon thousands of Palestinians whose homes have been demolished by the Israeli military.) The building of new settlements and the separation wall continues unabated, snaking its way inside Palestinian territory in flagrant violation of international law and human decency.
Now more than ever, we need to redouble and escalate our activism.
Now more than ever, we need JVP’s ethical perspective, clear vision, and bold strategy.
JVP is part of a new movement that is not intimidated by bogus charges of anti-Semitism:
More and more Jews are coming out of the closet on this question, no longer accepting we have to live in fear of speaking the truth in our own community. JVP now has over a thousand paid members and embryonic chapters around the US.
To give our movement some teeth, JVP has called for targeted sanctions against companies that profit from the occupation, joining several Israeli peace organizations: the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, New Profile, Gush Shalom.
More and more Gentiles are starting to realize that true solidarity with the Jewish people must be based on working together for justice, not on looking the other way. The Presbyterian Church is launching targeted sanctions on businesses that benefit from the occupation, and inviting JVPers to speak to them about this. The World Council of Churches, which unites hundreds of Protestant denominations, has spoken in support of the Presbyterians. The National Council of Churches and the American Friends Service Committee have reached out to JVP on this issue.
These are the first steps of a worldwide movement for selective sanctions, with the JVP-initiated campaign against Caterpillar as its leading edge. The Caterpillar campaign has earned the support of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, has included dozens of demonstrations all over the world, has triggered substantial media coverage, and has just been adopted as a priority by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition with hundreds of member organizations.
At the same time as our grassroots and coalition work are becoming more effective, our visibility in the press, radio, and television is at all-time high, with multiple appearances in Bay Area and national media during the week of the Gaza withdrawal.
This is success beyond our most optimistic dreams, but it is only the beginning.
You can help us thrive in this new phase of the movement for a just peace. Please support us as activists or as donors.
Now more than ever, JVP needs you.
Without our staff —a small team who research, educate and coordinate, organize and strategize— our remarkable effectiveness is enormously reduced. Without your donations, we cannot pay our staff. It is that simple. Be generous: our track record shows that your donations are well spent.
For justice, truth, and peace,
Member of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Voice for Peace
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