A Jewish Survivor of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre on a Lifetime of Activism

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Ellen Siegel at AJPA interview on Sept. 7, 2014 with her cat Dartanian, who was rescued from Lebanon.
Ellen Siegel was working in the hospital in Sabra during the massacre. Initially, many people in the camps ran to the hospital seeking safety and shelter, injured with bullet wounds. As the violence spread and panic broke out, most of the patients inside the hospital fled, leaving behind only “the critically ill who couldn’t move.” The hospital staff hid them in the basement. Siegel recalls taping up the windows so explosions wouldn’t shatter the glass. The next morning, the volunteer international staff were told to go to the ground floor of the hospital. Militants, who Siegel recognized as Phalange from the Arabic on their uniforms, were waiting for them. When an Arab staff member of the hospital attempted to join the group of mostly Northern European, white volunteers, the soldiers shot and killed him.
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Snapshots from Three Generations of American Jewish Activists on the American Embassy Move

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“I am heartsick over the violence the embassy move has sparked, and angered by the transparent pandering of the Trump Administration to the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Pastor John Hagee. This moment unfortunately reminds me of the atmosphere during which JVP was created in the fall of 1996, when PM Netanyahu encouraged archaeological activity under the Temple Mount for his personal political gain, resulting in violent clashes between the IDF and Palestinians in Jerusalem. It’s important for American Jewish activists to embrace Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel while continuing to advocate for the Palestinian right to claim the city as its capital. Craven political opportunism will never alter the dual claims on Jerusalem, and only fuel my determination to seek justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians.” –Rachel Eisner, J Street Northwest Regional Director and one of the founders of Jewish Voice for Peace Read more