Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently asked questions

Na’amod means ‘We will stand’ in Hebrew, and references the word used to call Jews to read from the Torah in synagogue: ya’amod/ta’amod/na l’amod (please stand). It reflects our steadfast commitment to stand alongside Palestinians in their struggle for human rights, and to the teachings which drive our activism.

We mean the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, the unilateral Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, and the blockade on the Gaza strip.  

The West Bank has been held under military occupation since June 1967. The legal, political and civil rights of Palestinians in the West Bank are severely curtailed, and much of the land has been taken over by Israel in a process of de-facto annexation. 

Notwithstanding Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, it remains occupied as a matter of international law. Further, Palestinians in East Jerusalem have fewer rights than Jews living there – in particular the lack of citizenship – and are routinely subject to discrimination.

Although Israel unilaterally withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, it continues to exert significant control over it, meaning Gaza is widely considered to remain under occupation. In particular, Israel severely restricts the movement of people, goods and services into and out of Gaza. Read more on the website of Gisha.

The Golan Heights are occupied as a matter of international law. However, they are Syrian rather than Palestinian territory, meaning they are not the focus of Na’amod’s activism. 

Israel’s actions in the occupied territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip constitute a system of apartheid. In recognising this, we draw on a body of evidence from leading human rights organisations both internationally and on the ground in Palestine/Israel.

Within the borders of the State of Israel as established in 1948, we see systemic discrimination in matters including immigration rights, access to land, freedom of movement, and political participation. This long-standing situation has been deepened through the introduction of new laws and state policy that result in crimes of apartheid taking place also within these borders.

That’s why, like a range of trusted organisations in Israel/Palestine and around the world, Na’amod uses the term apartheid to describe the Israeli government’s practices (see, for instance, B’Tselem; al-Haq). International law defines this term as acts committed for the purpose of establishing and enforcing domination by one ‘racial’ group over another.

We use this term as a factual, explanatory tool grounded in international law; we will remain evidence-based and commit to educating our members, potential members, and those in the wider Jewish public in the UK to help them understand our reasoning and recognise the reality.

We take this stance in the knowledge that this term makes some in the Jewish community uncomfortable. Nevertheless, we can only end injustice if we are truthful about it. Palestinians have been using this term for decades; in using this term, we show solidarity and allow the people who suffer most from the oppression it describes. The shame lies not in the use of the term but the acts it describes.

In the words of B’Tselem, which released a report in 2021 describing the crimes of apartheid taking place ‘from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea’:

As painful as it may be to look reality in the eye, it is more painful to live under a boot. […] How can people fight injustice if it is unnamed? Apartheid is the organizing principle, yet recognizing this does not mean giving up. On the contrary: it is a call for change.

Na’amod is a non-Zionist movement. We are deeply aware of the feelings that many Jews in the UK have or have had in connection with the state of Israel and its founding ideology. These are our friends, our family, our colleagues and our neighbours.

For Palestinians, however, Zionism has meant expulsion, discrimination, and oppression. In order to be a movement rooted in our belief in dignity, freedom and democracy for all, we cannot ignore this. That’s why we have chosen to define ourselves as a non-Zionist movement. 

By defining ourselves as a non-Zionist movement, we actively take a position acknowledging the ways in which Zionism materially upholds occupation and apartheid, and stand in solidarity with those affected most by the impacts of Zionism, particularly Palestinians suffering its consequences.

Whilst many Jews in the UK will not agree with this position, our strong stances play a key role in opening space for like-minded organisations to speak out.

We will not let personal views be a barrier to entry. Jews who identify as Zionist and non- or anti-Zionist are welcome in our movement, as long as they adhere to our goal and values.

We also acknowledge that Zionism is often conceived of as a response to painful experiences of antisemitism and a way of constructing a route to Jewish liberation. Our understanding of antisemitism makes it clear that our liberation can and should never come through the oppression of others. Our movement is a community for those who are searching for alternative paths to a liberated Jewish future, and seeks to explore what this could look like beyond Zionism.

  • What does becoming a non-Zionist movement mean in practice?

With this position, Na’amod will be able to take a more structural approach to the way we talk about and oppose the causes of apartheid and occupation. These causes include the systems that first established the state of Israel and continue to uphold it, amongst them Zionism.

  • Why has Na’amod taken the decision to become a non-Zionist movement now?

Primarily, we believe it is critical to acknowledge the material consequences that Zionism has had for Palestinians and Israelis.

Thanks to the successes we have seen so far, we believe we have the power to act as a thought leader in encouraging Jews in the UK to confront the material consequences of Zionism.

Na’amod acts within an ecosystem of movements. We have seen more established organisations increasingly speak out against occupation and apartheid and moving away language relating to Zionism. and even critiquing elements of Zionist thought. 

In this climate, clearly identifying as non-Zionist can draw many Jews in the UK towards us and begin a conversation whose time has come.

  • As a non-Zionist organisation, how does Na’amod view the future of Israel/Palestine?

Na’amod strives towards a future free of apartheid and occupation where all Palestinians and Israelis enjoy freedom, equality and justice. Na’amod believes Israelis and Palestinians together are best placed to agree on that shared future – be that a one-state, two-state, or other solution. Na’amod’s role is to uplift the voices that call for that brighter future.

  • What is the difference between Na’amod and a liberal Zionist or anti-Zionist organisation?

Zionism, non-Zionism, and anti-Zionism are all political labels whose meaning is contested and cover a wide spectrum of beliefs.

For Na’amod, being non-Zionist means being clear-eyed on where Zionist practices have caused and continue to cause harm, principally to Palestinians but also to Israelis and Diaspora Jews.

We acknowledge that there are liberal Zionists, in the Diaspora and Israel/Palestine, committed to fighting occupation and apartheid who do not accept much of what is done in the name of Zionism. However, we are committed to educating ourselves and other Jews in the UK about the damage that Zionism has caused and hold a different view to liberal Zionists about how Diaspora Jews can find safety through shared struggles for justice.

We also understand that many anti-Zionist Jews are committed to fighting occupation and apartheid. We do not define ourselves as an anti-Zionist movement, as we want our work to focus on striving for dignity and freedom for all and an end to occupation and apartheid, rather than centring our relationship to Zionism.

We place values over ideology. For that reason, we welcome Jews who identify as non-Zionist, Zionist, anti-Zionist – as well as those with no views on Zionism – into our movement, and also work with a range of allies. What matters is alignment with our values and aims.

As a matter of international law – and according to Israel’s own Supreme Court – the land is occupied, and this terminology also reflects the reality for Palestinians living in the land and the curtailment of their rights. To describe the land as “disputed” is to deliberately ignore the oppression of Palestinians living under Israeli control.

Jewish Diaspora support is one of several pillars which help uphold these systems. We are working to end that support in the British Jewish community and mobilise our community in the struggle for equality and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis. 

We are part of the wider global struggle and believe that together we can bring change.

Na’amod supports  freedom, equality and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis.  We do not take a position on exactly what that should look like and we do not consider that it is for us, a group of British Jews, to say what the outcome should be. Our focus is on ending our community’s support for the unjust and brutal occupation. 

Antisemitism consists of anti-Jewish beliefs, attitudes, actions or systemic conditions. It includes negative beliefs and feelings about Jews, hostile behaviour directed against Jews (because they are Jews), and conditions that discriminate against Jews and significantly impede their ability to participate as equals in political, religious, cultural, economic, or social life (Nexus Definition). Antisemitism is a real and present phenomenon that materially threatens Jews and causes many to live in fear. No one is immune from this mode of thinking, regardless of political affiliation.

We draw on a myriad of different frameworks for our understanding of antisemitism including:

Violence against Jewish communities has created intergenerational trauma and a fear of persecution that runs deep within us. The history of antisemitism in Britain, where Jews were some of the first ‘othered’ people, engenders an intrinsic sense of conditionality to belonging and acceptance here.

We acknowledge that antisemitism is and has been evident on the left as well as the right, and commit to challenging our allies and partners when required and providing clear education to our movement and beyond.

Our policies are determined and reviewed by our members at our quarterly Big Meetings and annual Strategy Retreats. 

Na’amod is a movement of Jews working to create change within our own community, and for that reason membership is for those identifying as part of the British Jewish community. We welcome support from non-Jews and are in dialogue with Palestinian groups. 

Na’amod is made up of several teams who manage different aspects of Na’amod’s work. Our teams are Campaigns, Communications, Growth, Finance, Community and Education. All members are encouraged to join a team and contribute to Na’amod’s work. Decisions are made by consensus within teams. 

Na’amod also has a Strategic Leadership Team (SLT), which meets regularly to oversee the movement and provide strategic direction. 

We hold quarterly “Big Meetings” for all members to discuss the movement’s progress and decide on our next steps.

Na’amod is a volunteer-led organisation although we now have one paid part-time staff member to provide administrative support.