The Resilience of Peace Activism in Dark Times

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“A hero arises in each generation to redeem the nation,” we sing in the Hanukkah song “mi y’maleil” (“who can retell”). This has been true of the American peace movement. Since 1967, generations of American Jews have pursued Israeli-Palestinian peace through an array of initiatives. Political setbacks have inspired strong and creative activism. American Jewish peace activists today, like those who preceded them, must adjust their strategy to this new environment and plow ahead. Read entire piece here.

“Excommunicated” from the Jewish People

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IfNotNow activist Grace Gleason reflects on this video of Reena Bernards, Batya Kallus (Betsy Cohen), and Clare Kinberg, three former activists with New Jewish Agenda, as they recount their experience being excommunicated by a beit din (an authoritative Jewish court) in 1982, following NJA’s publication of open letter critiquing Israel’s actions in the Lebanon War. 

“…the excommunication was a sad moment in American Jewish history. Part of what was so sad for me about it was how I saw that the beit din was just the extreme manifestation of a sentiment that is in fact pervasive and widespread among Jews globally: that a person forfeits her Jewishness by critiquing policies of the Jewish State. The excommunication was simply a magnification of this sentiment. As an observant Jew who draws great value from a sense of peoplehood, the idea of being excommunicated from the Jewish people was such a painful thought (even though in the case of NJA the legal authority was quickly delegitimized).” Read Grace’s full reflection here.