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JVP advocates Not Free to Desist Judaism

As a Jewish organization that fights for Palestinian human rights and is dedicated to the fight against anti-Semitism and racism, Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to be part of the Not free to refrain Set of requirements. Building on the legacy of common struggle, we pledge to build Jewish-black-Palestinian solidarity, believing that these are not mutually exclusive identities or communities. We pledge to stand up for the rights of the Palestinians while contributing to the struggle in the US for social justice and against anti-Semitism, anti-blackness and all other forms of racism. We commit to ending racism against blacks where it shows: in our organization, in our movement and in our wider communities.

Our approval of these demands not only reflects our internal political work, but we must make a concrete commitment to changing our organizational policies and practices – as a workplace, on our boards and in organizing our communities – but also our external work for the rights of the Palestinians. We see the incredible work our members and staff have done to make JVP a more racially and just organization through very deliberate campaigns to transform racial justice, and at the same time we see many places where we have not lived up to our values.

Our engagement against racism – inside and outside the JVP, in our internal work and through our support for Palestinian rights – is vital to building the organization, the Jewish community and the world we want to see. Anti-blackness has been at the root of the United States and has shaped violence here and around the world since 1619, when the first enslaved people arrived in Jamestown and were forcibly stolen from their homes.

We see anti-black and anti-Palestinian racism being used together, and we reaffirm our organizational commitment to black-run organizations and leaders who are disproportionately focused on their advocacy of Palestinian rights. Executives like Angela Davis, Marc Lamont Hill, and Ilhan Omar are exposed to harassment and smear campaigns that many other organizers and executives are not exposed to.

We are committed to combating racism against black people in Jewish communities. Black Jewish people face racism in Jewish institutions and communities, including, but not limited to, questioning and questioning their Jewish identity, often as a price to pay for advocating Palestinian rights. And while anti-Semitism is not acceptable, blacks who make anti-Semitic comments are more common and serious than whites, and black leaders and organizations are routinely blamed and asked to apologize for the utterances of others in a way such as white, Jewish, or the like not, are rare. One concrete way to do this is to give BIJOCSM space to take the lead in the fight against blackness, anti-Semitism and racism and to center the voices of those directly affected. To date, more than 200 BIJOCSM leaders have signed the letter urging all American Jews to separate from the police.

We urge all Jewish institutions to join these demands, especially those whose actions in the world have too often deliberately fueled these divisions. Rhetorical statements that black lives matter do not mean anything when the actions of organizations reflect anti-Palestinian and anti-black policies, such as partnering with institutional racist law enforcement agencies or working together to combat black or Palestinian activists to oppression.

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