IfNotNow is a movement of young American Jews organizing to end American Jewish support for Israel's occupation of Palestine. Inspired by the sage Hillel’s famous dictum: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” IfNotNow is based upon the principle that Jewish liberation is inextricably bound to the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people.
In the summer of 2014, in response to the violence of Operation Protective Edge and the overwhelmingly hawkish reaction of American Jewish institutions, young Jews came together under the banner of IfNotNow to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish outside of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in New York City. Hundreds of young Jews in more than eight cities nationwide were moved by moral anguish; they picked up the name IfNotNow and came out to the streets to demonstrate their opposition to the war and the Occupation using the power of Jewish mourning rituals.
IfNotNow believes that for too long, institutions within the American Jewish community have played a crucial role in upholding Israel’s oppressive policies, endorsing in words and dollars or by simple inaction a system that deprives Palestinians of civil, political and economic rights through military force. While the Jewish community at large theoretically supports a two state solution, the reality is that the Occupation continues unabated. Settlements are criticized but ultimately excused as the American Jewish establishment spends billions of dollars inculcating in the younger generation an unwavering sense of pride in Israel.
After the war, a group of core IfNotNow leaders conducted a strategic planning process to launch a movement that will dramatically disrupt the status quo in the Jewish community. IfNotNow's explicit goal is to shift the American Jewish public away from the institutions and activities that uphold the Occupation. In November 2015 IfNotNow launched a national training program to build a broad movement of Jews who know that the only way to ensure a vibrant future for the Jewish community is to fight for freedom and dignity for all in Israel/Palestine.