The Elephant in the Room
Israel is a huge part of the British Jewish community today. It features in our liturgy, our culture and our daily conversations. Yet rarely, if ever, do we talk about the occupation, which has blighted the lives of Palestinians and Israelis for over fifty years. In fact, all too often mention of the occupation is shut down altogether. It has become an elephant in the room of our community.
There are countless Jewish organisations which defend or stay silent on the occupation, yet position themselves at the heart of our community. The Israel education we receive in our schools, J-socs, youth movements and cheders is one-sided at best and racist at worst. We are told that we have to defend Israel at every opportunity, instead of being told about the painful reality of occupation for Palestinians and Israelis.
Our community can and must do better. Every time we talk about Israel we need to talk about the fact that the occupation is a disaster for those who live under it, instead of legitimising, distorting or denying it. We will never be able to improve things until we address this elephant in the room.
We are the future of this community and ask everyone to join us in taking a stand and demanding that all our communal spaces and institutions live up to our rich moral traditions. This means talking about the reality of occupation, and standing on the side of freedom, equality and justice for all.
These are some of the actions we have undertaken as part of this campaign:
- StandWithUs UK student conference
- Na’amod challenges Board of Deputies to condemn occupation following Israeli elections
- Yom Kippur Viduy 5780
- Sukkot Against Demolitions
- Zionist Federation’s Annual Balfour Lecture
- UK Lawyers for Israeli hosts the far-right Israeli organisation Regavim