Jewish Voice for Peace Asheville statement on Palestine solidarity

Press release from  Jewish Voice for Peace Asheville:

Asheville, NC (July 5, 2024) —  Recently concern has been raised in our Asheville community that there has been an increase in antisemitism, that Jews are not safe in our community. While we, as Jews ourselves, are naturally concerned about our safety in this community, we wholeheartedly reject any conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. All of the recent community events calling attention to Gaza, including last weekend’s anarchist book fair, have had numerous local Asheville Jewish community members involved as organizers and as participants. We reject as false any claim that these events are antisemitic. We acknowledge it is not always comfortable to be in those spaces, especially when we are asked to bear witness to the pain of our Palestinian and Muslim brethren. However, there is a difference between feelings of discomfort and actual danger.  We, as Jews, have been and are safe in these spaces and will continue to show up and stand for peace and justice.

We are Asheville Jews who stand against the Israeli government’s ongoing genocide against Palestinians. During the Israeli government’s continued assault on Gaza, we have shown up to help support and organize community events including film screenings, potluck meals, marches, and speaking engagements. All of these events have drawn our community’s attention to the reality that the American government and American weapons manufacturers have actively supported the Israeli government’s actions logistically and financially, including through the supply of weaponry. This American support has continued even as groups including the UN, Amnesty International, the ICC and ICJ, and even prominent Israeli scholars have found evidence that Israel is committing war crimes against Palestinian civilians. A partial list includes the purposeful starvation of civilians, attacks on ambulances, attacks on NGO aid convoys, multiple bombings of refugee camps, and  destruction of schools, hospitals, mosques, and churches.…

There is, today, a huge political and ideological schism within the American Jewish community. Many of us were raised to have a deep emotional attachment to the state of Israel, which is now showing up as a reflexive support of the Israeli government, even as that same government commits horrific atrocities. Many of us now are seeing that unconditional support of hardline Zionist ideologies has led to the dehumanization, oppression, and murder of our Palestinian sisters and brothers. We therefore reject that ideology and oppose both the Israeli government’s war on the Palestinian people and our own American government’s support for the ongoing murder of Palestinian civilians.

We as Jews are not a monolith, we can stand for safety and freedom for ourselves AND for Palestinians. We welcome community members of all backgrounds and faiths to sit down and eat with us, and to have the hard conversations needed to overcome fear and difference. We are here with arms and hearts open to all who seek a path forward to peace. There is a place set for you at our table.

Jake Aron
Anne Craig
Rebecca Croog
Asher Edes
Sarah Friedman
Kim Granelle

Lavender Lewin
Matthew Maizels
Yasmin Shawmreh
Lauren Steiner
Kim Wayman
Melissa Weiss
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