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Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council Statement of Support

Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council Statement of Support

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Published by: pennbds on Feb 03, 2012
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02/03/2012

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A Statement in Support of the PennBDS Conferenceby Rabbis Alissa Wise and Brant Rosen
The upcomingPennBDS conference, to take place Friday, February 3 through Sunday,February 5 has been met, even before it has begun, with enthusiasm and support from awide variety of well-respected organizations and individuals. It has also been met withconcern and resentment from a small, but vocal group of individuals and organizations ± including Jewish organizations.Of all the public statements made against conference organizers and the Boycott, Divestand Sanctions (BDS) movement in general, accusations of anti-Semitism and
 
comparisons to Nazismthat are the most troubling and most in need of refutation and
 
condemnation.The legacy of persecution against Jews runs deep and this prejudice is real even today.Accusations of anti-Semitism should not be taken lightly. Nor should they be issuedcarelessly. This much we owe to those whom we have lost.We strongly reject the incendiary accusations that have been made against the Palestiniancall for BDS.Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctionsis part of a time-honored, non-violent
 
legacy ± tactics which have been used in a multitude of historic struggles for justicewhere a less powerful people have sought nonviolent means to right injustices.In the civil rights movement in this country boycotts were a key tactic in winning equityfor African Americans. In the global struggle against Apartheid in South Africa,corporate accountability campaigns were instrumental in shifting the balance of power.Certainly Jews are no strangers to the downside of power dynamics. But, as painful as itis for us to face, it is Israelis, not Palestinians, that hold disproportionate power.Moreover, Israel is wielding its power in increasingly oppressive ways, whether throughgovernment theft of Palestinian land, discriminatory laws, home demolitions, regular,
 
 brutal crackdown on nonviolent protest, etc.The legacy of institutional oppression against us has left many Jews traumatized. Thislegacy has also inspired others ± including increasing numbers of Jews ± to stand insolidarity with the Palestinians. While there are certainly many liberation movements
 
around the world that we should ± and often do ± support, BDS is a specificallyPalestinian call for solidarity that has been issued from Palestinian civil society. Whilethere is certainly no shortage of oppressive regimes around the world, the relevantquestion before us is not ³why aren¶t they concerned about human rights abuse in other countries?´ The real question, quite simply, is ³do we believe that this call is worthy oour support?´We understand that there are those of good faith who do not support BDS for tacticalreasons. This is a valid conversation ± and the organizers of PennBDS have made it clear 

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