As bombs rain down on Gaza, and Israel intensifies its latest genocidal attacks with a ground invasion, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and the Board of Rabbis of Northern California hosted “Stop the Sirens in Israel: An Emergency Solidarity Gathering” at Temple Emanu-El. “Stop the Sirens” is a national effort sponsored by the Reform Movement and led by the Jewish Federations of North America. In San Francisco, the Israeli Consul General, Andy David, spoke—or tried to speak.
Members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and other Jews of conscience staged seven disruptions inside the event, as members of Queers Undermining Israeli Terror, Jewish Voice for Peace, and IJAN demonstrated outside. Our message was clear: any institution that seeks to offer political cover for Israel’s brutality will face opposition and isolation.
Disruptors, who included children and grandchildren of survivors of the Nazi genocide, interrupted the proceedings by shouting “stop Israel’s genocide of Palestinians,” and “never again for anyone.”
Our action was staged in tandem with a funeral march organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, attended by thousands in downtown San Francisco. The Jewish action drew away reactionary Zionist demonstrators and disrupted the media frame of “Jews versus Arabs” by asserting a Jewish voice in strong opposition to the attacks and siege on Gaza and the occupation of Palestine. The action was covered by mainstream media television sources KTVU and CBS.
Predictably, Zionist audience members and counter-demonstrators reacted with violence—pushing, hitting, and verbally attacking activists.
Critics accused us of desecrating a sacred space. But they have it backwards: by inviting an apologist for Israeli war crimes, and in offering prayers to the Israeli Defense Forces, the Zionist hosts desecrated the sacred space. We reject the conflation of Zionism and Judaism which makes a mockery of Jewish values, and manipulates and abuses Jewish histories of persecution by claiming that Israel acts to protect Jews. We call on Jews everywhere stand firmly, and to take action to demand the end of Israel’s bombing, siege, occupation, and colonization.
Stand against Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, stand in support of Palestinian self-determination and resistance, stand on the side of life.