No 113 Posted by fw, February 4, 2011
It’s not easy being an activist. Especially if you are an American Jew who also happens to be a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) — with this Mission Statement:
“Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals. JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.”
. . . and a Political Platform that includes this bold assertion:
“We are among the many American Jews who say to the U.S. and Israeli governments: ‘Not in our names!’ “
Today, JVP member, Estee Chandler, sent an email to all JVP subscribers to report this chilling discovery:
“Wednesday morning I found a slightly crumpled piece of paper stuffed in a plant on my front porch. When I unfolded it I saw my photo under the words, ‘Wanted For Treason And Incitement Against Jews.’ My first thought was, wow — that didn’t take long. Then my heart sank when I saw the names of children in my family.”
Here is the full text of Estee’s personalized email.
When I was contemplating launching a Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace last fall, I consulted with some very wise and knowledgeable friends first. I went forward knowing that it would be not only difficult, but potentially frightening and perhaps even dangerous. I took into account that part of my job would be keeping all around me and all who choose to become active as safe as possible.
Wednesday morning I found a slightly crumpled piece of paper stuffed in a plant on my front porch. When I unfolded it I saw my photo under the words, “Wanted For Treason And Incitement Against Jews.” My first thought was, wow– that didn’t take long. Then my heart sank when I saw the names of children in my family.
I am happy to say that the detective at my local police department took the matter very seriously. I am also lucky to live in a neighborhood that the police patrol regularly and which has a great network of neighbors who all look out for each other.
I feel supported by my friends, family local activist community and by the wonderful staff and board of Jewish Voice for Peace. I feel safe. I am not afraid. But I do think this is a great reminder that we should ALL be aware, safe and steadfast in our commitment to equal safety and rights for all peoples.
While we don’t know who did it, and perhaps never will, we do know that they are cowards. And that we won’t back down.
When two members of Jewish Voice for Peace in Northern California were recently pepper-sprayed at a chapter meeting by a member of pro-settler group StandWithUs, they didn’t back down. When the same JVP chapter along with Women in Black and Palestinian allies endured an hour of threats and hate speech at a silent vigil, they didn’t back down. When the JVP staff repeatedly found “Viva [mass murderer] Baruch Goldstein” stickers outside of their offices, they didn’t back down.
Instead, Jewish Voice for Peace is gathering as a national movement in Philadelphia to continue our growth across the nation. The kind of growth that led to a watershed profile in today’s New York Times. We will do so in a changed world. This week, perhaps like you, I’ve been transfixed by images on the television of everyday people like you and me in the streets of Cairo, risking everything for democracy, for freedom, for human and civil rights, for a better life for themselves and their nation’s children.
The risks are always the same. Throughout history, every movement for freedom has faced backlash, threats, and violence. And throughout history, there have been people acting together who have faced their fear and decided the price of silence was too much to pay.
I know internationals, Israelis and most of all Palestinians who have lost an eye, a home, a child, a loved one. But, amazingly, they don’t hide. They speak out even louder. They are my heroes. And it is for them and because of them that I publicly redouble my commitment to being smart, strategic, brave and loud– most of all, loud. And to join with others so we can be even louder together.
Together, we are the majority of Jews, Americans, and citizens of the world who know that Israel’s violations of human rights must end. That Palestinians deserve the same rights that my Israeli family has– to have safe homes, to go to school, to go to work, to grow and be sustained by food from the earth. But as long as we let acts of cowardice like this WANTED poster keep us quiet and fearful, then the others’ voices will drown ours out.
That’s why I hope you’ll join me at the Jewish Voice for Peace National Member Meeting in Philadelphia March 11- 13. Let’s send a message to those who did this to me and so many others.
Let’s send a message to the people pushing occupation and injustice that threats and violence will only hasten their defeat, and that we are together and strong.
Estee Chandler, Jewish Voice for Peace –Los Angeles
If you have any questions about the meeting, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bravo, Estee Chandler. You and your fellow JVP citizen activists are inspiring us with your courageous words and deeds. Stay safe.