We are deeply disturbed by the escalating violence in Israel/Palestine, and heartbroken by the increasing loss of Palestinian and Israeli lives since the start of the year, the deadliest in twenty years. As a Jewish community who sees it as our people’s legacy to continue the struggle for a better world, we are especially horrified by news of last weekend’s settler pogrom in Huwara, during which West Bank settlers killed one Palestinian man and injured many more, and set ablaze hundreds of cars and homes –some of which had families inside—while the Israeli Army reportedly did nothing to stop them.
We also know that this latest wave did not happen in a vacuum. Violence on the ground has intensified since Israel’s current far right ethno-nationalist government took power. Incidents of settler violence have doubled since the new government took office in late December. The current actions of the Israeli government, including the proposed anti-democratic ‘judicial reform’ legislation, further threaten to destroy any hope for Palestinian equal rights and self-determination.
We also know that what we are seeing on the ground is the result of a political system that existed before the current government took power, a system that does not function as a true democracy for Palestinian citizens of Israel living with systemic inequality, nor for Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. This violence will only continue to escalate without pressure to change that political system from Israelis and Palestinians living directly under it, as well as from those of us here in the US whose government sends billions of dollars in military aid to Israel each year. Without signs of hope for a just future for all Israelis and Palestinians, we fear this intensifying violence has no breaking point in sight.
Our organizational principles on Israel/Palestine state: “We believe only the complete and equal respect of all Jewish and Palestinian rights is compatible with our social values and Jewish traditions. Neither Israeli Jews nor Palestinians can be free of the curse of political violence until true democracy and equal rights for all is achieved.”
This is a moment to act in line with these principles. We hope you will join the work of BWC’s Israel/Palestine Committee as we bring our community together to find ways to take action for justice, peace, democracy and equality for all.
Join BWC’s Israel/Palestine Committee’s upcoming meeting on March 22nd to talk about how we can take action.
Register Here. We’ll be discussing what’s been happening in Israel/Palestine and what we can do about it from the United States. This meeting is open to the entire BWC community; we’d love to bring in as many voices as possible as we begin untangling what stances and actions BWC as a community feels ready to stand behind!
In the meantime, here are a few action items in response to the Huwara pogrom that have been shared on our Israel/Palestine listserv:
- Petition: Department of State: Don’t let Smotrich fundraise for genocide.
- Sign on to Americans for Peace Now’s letter to President Biden, asking him to deny entry to the US to Bezalel Smotrich
- Donate to replace a car that was confiscated in Umm al Khair last month