The following call was issued by Young, Jewish and Proud on November 10, 2011, and marked by an Occupy the Occupiers action at a Birthright Israel event in New York:
We call for young Jews and allies nationwide to join in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and with our Palestinian siblings living under their own form of occupation. Let us stand up to the 1% in our own community – the powerful institutions that support Israel”s corporate-backed military control of the Palestinian people and act as the gatekeepers for our community.
Throughout history, Jews have been persecuted as the scapegoats for powerful financiers, thus bearing the brunt of economic hardship on multiple fronts. This collective memory instills us with the responsibility to speak out against corporate exploitation and human rights violations, such as the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, which has politically and economically disenfranchised over nine million people in the name of Jewish statehood.
The ongoing colonization of Palestine has concentrated wealth in the hands of the ultra-stratified Israeli elite, as well as multinational corporations like Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Northrop Grumman, and Veolia. In the United States, over $33 billion in foreign aid has gone to sustaining Israel”s occupation– most of it going directly into the pockets of US-based arms-makers– instead of funding jobs, education, healthcare, and housing for the 99%.
We face a similar dilemma in our own Jewish institutions, which tend to be dominated by a handful of wealthy right-wing donors who fund their own interests, such as free trips to Israel, while urgent community needs go unmet.
The occupation of Palestine and stratification of our own Jewish community are consistent with the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street New York General Assembly”s “Declaration of Occupation.” It is time for us to reclaim our own community.
It”s time to occupy Jewish institutions that actively obstruct human rights for Palestinians, like AIPAC, the Jewish Federations, Birthright, the Jewish National Fund, Hillel, and the foundations of right-wing philanthropists, like the Schusterman Foundation, which impose ideological litmus tests on Jews who want to work in or with the Jewish community.
It”s time to occupy the offices and stores of the multinational corporations that profit off of human rights abuses in Palestine.
Join us and make your voices heard!