Our hearts have been heavy the past two weeks as images and reports of awful violence in Israel and Palestine flood our screens. In the swirl of reactive messaging and confusing and often conflicting information, we return to what we know: everyone has the right to safety and human dignity. To ROP, a shared standard of human dignity means the equal worth of all communities, the need for equal access to justice, and the right to self-determination.Given the high tensions in our communities and the presence of misinformation, how are we finding ways to not only engage in thoughtful conversations but to take action that is grounded in our values?
As someone Jewish, watching these events unfold and the ways people have been lashing out at one another has been particularly painful. I grew up hearing the phrase “never again” about the Holocaust. I know it to mean that we must always tell the story so that genocide is never repeated. Never again means never again for anyone. We must recognize and denounce genocidal violence wherever and whenever it occurs.
We’ve read many recent statements and calls to action written by human dignity leaders and ally organizations, and we wanted to share a few with you all. Check out the pieces below, including ways folks are taking action around the state. What resonates with you? How is your community taking action? Reach out to Sidra at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can amplify and support your organizing!
Sidra and the ROP Team
Contact Your Representatives and/or Donate
Corvallis human dignity leaders shared the following action items via Oregon Peace Network (a newly formed statewide network of peace organizers):
- Call today, email, and write postcards to Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and to your federal representative, telling them to Stop Fueling Violence! Jewish Voice for Peace recommends these talking points:
- For representatives: urge immediate steps to de-escalate, stop arming Israel, oppose any attempts to send more weapons to Israel, including the Meeks-McCaul Resolution, and address the root causes of the violence: Israel’s occupation, the siege of Gaza and Israeli apartheid, and end US complicity in this oppression.
- The same for Senators Merkley and Ron Wyden, minus the Meeks-McCaul Resolution. I would add that Merkley should join Senator Bernie Sanders in denouncing Israel’s collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population by denying them food, water, electricity, and fuel – a serious violation of international law.
- Look up who represents you and how to contact them here.
- Make an emergency donation now to the Middle East Children’s Alliance
- In the midst of the horror all around them MECA’s staff, partners, and volunteers are distributing parcels of food and hygiene supplies to displaced families all over Gaza. They are also providing clean water from the water purification systems MECA has installed in schools, and working to get fuel to hospitals so they can run on generators. They are risking their own lives to get aid to people while also preparing for more horrific attacks to come.
Take Collective Action
The Rising Majority published a statement signed by dozens of organizations that begins by saying “Rising Majority calls on people of conscience and all progressive movements to stand with Palestine in this critical moment and demand CEASE FIRE and STOP THE GENOCIDE being led by the Israeli apartheid state and funded by the United States Government.” The rest of the statement includes suggested action items:
- Individuals and progressive organizations are called to endorse this letter, share it broadly, and encourage more endorsements from grassroots organizations, faith leaders and places of worship, unions, scholars, and all people of conscience.
- Plan or attend a local demonstration to express your community’s solidarity with Palestine and call for de-escalation, no more weapons to Israel, and an end to U.S. military and financial aid.
Support Organizers on the Ground
Emergent Fund released a statement that you can read here, and suggested the following actions:
- Uplift and flank the leadership of directly impacted leaders such as…
- Follow the lead of Palestinian and Jewish voices that have long warned us against the spiritual and human cost of equating identity with colonial genocide and protect them from constantly case-building for their humanity. Pay close attention to oppressive power underwritten by millions in unaccountable money behind the media, news, and pop culture we consume. To reject the false violent narrative that a free Palestine is “anti-Semitic”, we’re reading Zena Agha’s “Palestine: Ways of Being” and Arielle Angel’s “We Cannot Cross Until We Carry Each Other (Jewish Currents)”.
- Give organizers space to heal and strategize in community which will be crucial, today, and for the long term. We will be advocating for and moving safety resources to defend and protect organizers, online and on the streets. In the US, we’re already seeing doxxing (exposing someone’s private information online), internet harassment, people losing jobs for speaking out against the occupation, and threats of incited gun violence at direct actions against Palestinian activists and their allies including Jewish solidarity leaders.
CODEPINK put out a “Statement on the Call for War in Palestine: Peace comes with Justice, not War,” which links to a letter to sign to tell President Biden and Secretary Austin to bring an end to the occupation.
Make an Organizational Statement
Ashland Peace House shared the list of demands below, along with reflections from multiple perspectives through their email newsletter. We especially loved Valarie Kaur’s comment that “My mourning transcends political agendas. Your mourning can too.” Read the whole statement here.
We urge that:
- The International community speak out against the political and humanitarian dangers of further escalation in this conflict.
- All hostages be freed immediately.
- Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire.
- Water, food, healthcare, psychological care, and shelter be prioritized by the State of Israel for the survivors of the Hamas attack.
- International shipments of humanitarian aid be allowed into Gaza to support immediate access to food, water, medicine, and communications for those displaced by Israeli bombing.
Read Beyond the Headlines
This recent article in the Nation, titled, “Solidarity With Palestine Is Not a Crime,” explores the way people are shutting down those who express solidarity with Palestine, and highlights inconsistencies in how the US and Western media covers the Israel-Palestine conflict. What are you reading? Share it with us by emailing email@example.com.