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Thursday, Dec. 14: On Chanukah, Chicago Jews to Form Human Menorah, Reject Jewish Communal Institutions’ Alliance with Trump on Jerusalem

Human Menorah
(Image Provided)

On Thursday, December 14 JVP-Chicago members will condemn Trump and the ADL, Jewish United Fund and AJC for giving green light to Israel’s dispossession of Palestinian Jerusalemites

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—December 14, 2017

By: Michael Deheeger

Last week, the president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledged to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. This Thursday, December 14, on the third night of Chanukah – the eight-day Festival of Lights – JVP-Chicago will form a human menorah bearing messages of justice, in front of the offices of Jewish organizations that applauded Trump’s decision. By aligning themselves with Trump, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and the American Jewish Committee are endorsing longstanding Israeli policies of displacing Palestinians from the city.  By claiming to do so on behalf of the Jewish community as a whole, they are aligning our heritages, cultures and faiths with racism and violence. On Thursday, JVP will shine a light for justice for Palestinians and all people.

The event will take place on Thursday, December 14, at 30 South Wells in Chicago. Singing will begin at 5 p.m. with a speaking program scheduled for 5:15 p.m.  The group will head to the office of the ADL at 120 South LaSalle in Chicago at 5:30 p.m.

Background

Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and intention to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv represents an open endorsement of U.S. support for longstanding Israeli policies of dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem. These are carried out through home demolitions (over lack of permits or as collective punishment), stripping of Palestinians’ residency status, construction of an annexation wall separating Palestinian neighborhoods from each other and from the rest of the city, a deliberate lack of municipal services and impunity for Jewish settlers who seize Palestinian property. The U.S. has long shielded Israel from consequences for all these practices.

By aligning themselves with Trump, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and the American Jewish Committee are endorsing longstanding Israeli policies of displacing Palestinians from the city. The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish United Fund all issued statements endorsing Trump’s decision. The ADL “welcomed the announcement” while also lauding Trump’s “commitment…to peace.” The American Jewish Committee’s CEO David Harris went so far as to praise the president’s “clarity and wisdom,” while AJC’s Director of Media Relations Kenneth Bandler descriped the decision as “clear-headed and purposeful.” The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) – the “community relations” arm of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago – tweeted that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is its longstanding policy. Several JCRC member organizations issued their own statements – the Zionist Organization of America gave its “heartfelt thanks” to the president and went so far as to claim that “Jerusalem has never been a holy city for Muslims.”

This decision reflects these institutions’ deeper alignment with forces of bigotry and state violence. Jewish Voice for Peace’s #DefundIslamophobia campaign seeks to force the JUF to end its ties with groups that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as anti-Muslim extremists. Our #DeadlyExchange campaign seeks to put an end to the Anti-Defamation League’s U.S.-Israel police training exchanges of worst practices. The JUF has organized similar exchanges in Chicago.

Each of these organizations claims to speak for and represent the interests of Jewish people as a whole. The ADL’s claims as its mission “to protect the Jewish people.” The AJC identifies as the “leading global Jewish advocacy organization” building a “secure future for the Jewish people.” The JUF/JCRC describes itself as “the one organization that impacts every aspect of local and global Jewish life.”

By creating the perception that they are speaking for the Jewish community as a whole, they are aligning our heritages, cultures and faiths with racism and violence. By celebrating Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, together on Thursday, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago members will continue building Jewish community that shines a light for justice for Palestinians and all people.

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JVP-Chicago is the local branch of Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jvp.org , a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

Source: www.jvp.org

 

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