This June marks 50 years since the 1967 war. 1967 was not the beginning of the occupation or the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was one part of a Zionist plan to claim Israel as the land of the Jewish people, regardless of who was currently living there. The war of 1967 is used as a rationalization and justification of the current borders that Israel controls, even the ones not recognized by the international community. That’s 50 years of normalizing separate and not equal. Denying Palestinians the freedom to travel, shop, visit family, go to school or access medical care. Building Jewish roads and Palestinian roads. Creating checkpoints for one group to pass through and not the other. It has been over 50 years of denying Palestinians the dignity and humanity that all people deserve, and it needs to end.
I decided to get involved with IfNotNow when Donald Trump was elected president. The fact that he was perceived as the “pro-Israel” candidate by many within the American Jewish community due to his pro-settlement stance horrified me. Not only did I feel alienated within an America that elected a bigot and isolated in a Texas that actively discriminates against my LGBT, Latinx, and Black community members, I also felt betrayed by the Jewish community. While Donald Trump has since retracted his pro-settlement stance, I do not believe him. Now more than ever, this is the time for young Jews to get involved in anti-occupation work, and more broadly, anti-fascist work.
The nationalism that is espoused by Trump and the hatred for immigrants, Muslims, and Latinx people mirrors Netanyahu’s nationalism and stance against Palestinians. Donald Trump has emboldened white supremacists and has all but condoned the hatred of the alt-right. We need to see the alt-right for what it is: a rebranding of neo-Nazi beliefs that are just as anti-Semitic as they are racist, sexist and Islamophobic. Trump is working hard to divide us between left and right, liberal and conservative, Muslim and Jew, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. In response to this polarization, we need to find common ground. We need to join in solidarity with other groups that have historically, and continue to be, targeted. We need to grapple with the ugly truths of history, where imperialism determined who was given land and who was displaced.
IfNotNow has been my sanctuary. It has provided me with a network of social justice oriented Jews and allies that are determined to stand up against Trump, Netanyahu, bigotry, and nationalism. I hope you join us in the fight for love, freedom, and dignity for all.