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New Profile is an Israeli feminist group that works to de-militarize society, culture and education in Israel, and supports conscientious objection by men and women, as well as other forms of resistance to conscription. Like JVP, they advocate selective sanctions to pressure the Israeli government. They say: We, a group of feminist women and men, are convinced that we need not live in a soldiers' state. Today, Israel is capable of a determined peace politics. It need not be a militarized society. We are convinced that we ourselves, our children, our partners, need not go on being endlessly mobilized, need not go on living as warriors. We understand that the state of war in Israel is maintained by decisions made by our politicians […] We are no longer willing to take part in such choices. We will not go on enabling them by obediently, uncritically supplying soldiers to the military which implements them. We will not go on being mobilized, raising children for mobilization, supporting mobilized partners, brothers, fathers, while those in charge of the country go on deploying the army easily, rather than building other solutions. It is hard to express this type of opinion in Israel today. In a soldiers' state there are equal and less equal citizens: the social ladder is topped by those who fight.
Imagine-Life is a non-profit organization initiated by young Arab-Americans. In partnership with several organizations, including JVP, they have launched a campaign to counter the dehumanization of Palestinians in the US media by placing ads on cable television. They say: Imagine-Life supports the principles espoused in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognizes their importance in efforts to resolve conflicts. The goal of the Imagine-Life public awareness campaign is to educate the American public about human rights violations in hopes of creating environments where peace can prosper. Our initial public awareness campaign addresses human rights violations in the Holy Land. Today, almost half of the population of the Holy Land is subject to routine human rights violations based solely on ethnicity and religion; therefore, Imagine-Life seeks to raise awareness to improve the living conditions of millions of people.
The Loretto Community is a Catholic religious community. In 2004, they worked with JVP to file a shareholder resolution with the Caterpillar Corporation, challenging the sale of weaponized bulldozers to the Israeli military. These bulldozers destroy the homes, farms, and livelihood of Palestinians, and build the separation wall that snakes through the West Bank, attempting a de facto annexation of ever more land into Israel. The Sisters of Loretto say: As individuals and a community, we are drawn to a vision of a just, peaceful world. Our original work was education in schools, but with Vatican II we embraced the possibilities of expanding our understanding of mission. As a result, we stood in solidarity with the United Farm Workers, joined those advocating for a nuclear freeze, encouraged the conversion to a peace economy, and spoke out on behalf of victims of oppressive regimes in Latin America. […] We will act with a renewed commitment and in collaboration with others to urge peace, reconciliation, and nonviolence in and among ourselves, in our neighborhoods, and in the world at large.
Some JVP 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. 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, Israel 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 the current relative reduction in the violence, 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 and Gaza; as long as East Jerusalem is annexed to Israel; as long as the Wall snakes through the West Bank; 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. 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:
Help us grow! Please support us as activists or as donors. Now more than ever, JVP needs you.
For justice, truth, and peace,
--Henri Picciotto, member of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Voice for Peace
In 1996, Julia Caplan, Julie Iny, and Rachel Eisner founded JVP to demonstrate against the provocative opening by the Netanyahu government of an archaeological tunnel under Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Lincoln Shlensky was a member from the start, and played a leading role over many years.
In 2000, at the beginning of the second intifada, JVP started growing in numbers and significance.
In 2001, we became involved with like-minded organizations nationwide, and helped organize a national gathering (“Junity”) to discuss building a national Jewish movement for a just peace in Israel-Palestine.
In 2002, when the Israeli military re-invaded the West Bank, JVP members led a sit-in at the Israeli Consulate. The action had a clear message: “Jews to Bush and Sharon: End the Occupation Now!” and it got extensive coverage in Bay Area media and on Israeli television.
In 2003, Mitchell Plitnick, newly hired as codirector of JVP, addressed a gigantic demonstration against the war in Iraq.
In 2004, we helped launch a movement against Caterpillar’s sales of weaponized bulldozers to the Israeli military. Liat Weingart, our other codirector, addressed the Caterpillar shareholders’ meeting. The campaign has grown to include Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as many other organizations worldwide.
In 2005, we played a leading role in the International Day of Action against Caterpillar, which featured dozens of demonstrations worldwide, and garnered much media coverage.
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