Jewish Voice for Peace - Philadelphia statement of solidarity with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

Jewish Voice for Peace - Philadelphia statement of solidarity with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

Jewish Voice for Peace - Philadelphia stands in solidarity with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and denounces CNN’s decision to fire him, any punitive action by Temple University against him, and the media campaign currently being waged to discredit and silence him. Dr. Hill’s speech at the United Nations about his recent trip to the occupied West Bank was an eloquent defense of equality and dignity for all people, principles that our own Jewish values compel us to defend as well. Those same values inspire us to stand up for Dr. Hill today, proclaiming that the speech was in no way antisemitic.

Any spokespeople from the Jewish community taking part in this cynical frenzy to destroy Hill’s career do not speak for us, nor do they speak for a growing number of Jews around the world who question or reject the occupation of Palestine. We understand these attacks as part of larger campaign to silence supporters of Palestinian human rights, and we will not be silent.

Much of the anger being directed toward Dr. Hill has focused specifically on a single phrase. Hill concluded his 20-minute presentation by saying that justice requires “a free Palestine—from the river to the sea.” Hill’s critics have repeated the false talking point that these words are a call for violence against Jews. Patrick O’Connor, Chair of the Temple University Board and Philadelphia attorney, has gone as far as to call them “hate speech.” Let us be clear: yearning for freedom and self-determination is not hateful, offensive, or antisemitic.

Those of us who have had the opportunity to work and organize alongside Palestinian people understand that this phrase has been used for decades as an expression of hope for a day when none of the various forms of Israeli oppression—the apartheid of occupation and settlement in the West Bank; the anti-Arab discrimination recently codified in Israel’s “Jewish Nation-State Law;” and the punishing, total isolation and blockade of Gaza now in its twelfth year—will exist.

As the Philadelphia chapter of the national Jewish Voice for Peace organization, we know well that Dr. Hill has been an invaluable voice for justice here in Philadelphia and around the country. Temple University leadership should be grateful for Marc Lamont Hill’s integrity; his powerful work as a teacher, both inside and beyond the classroom; and his well-earned reputation as a real mensch who stands for justice and dignity for all. We demand that his academic freedom and his right to advocacy be protected!

Jewish Voice for Peace -- Philadelphia


JVP Philly Emergency Protest of Muslim Ban

Thank you to all who quickly turned out a great crowd to protest following the Supreme Court's despicable decision. From the emergency action facebook event: "Today the Supreme Court upheld the Muslim Ban. We must come together as a community to say No Muslim Ban. We do not have time to mourn, we need to take to the streets now! And then we must organize and contact our elected officials! Please come out to City Hall at 5 PM today to say NO to the Muslim Ban and commit to taking action! "

Why WE walk - Jewish Voice for Peace demands safety for all at ADL Walk Against Hate

Why WE walk - Jewish Voice for Peace demands safety for all at ADL Walk Against Hate

June 3, 2018

Why WE walk - Jewish Voice for Peace demands safety for all at ADL Walk Against Hate
JVP-Philadelphia members protest the Anti-Defamation League’s funding of police training exchanges between the U.S. and Israel

Philadelphia, PA (June 3, 2018) -- Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Philadelphia members highlighted the glaring hypocrisy of a walk against hate sponsored by an organization that gets U.S. police, ICE and FBI agents trained in Israel at Sunday’s Walk Against Hate event, organized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). JVP members passed out hundreds of flyers, engaged with community members about ADL’s police exchange programs, and unfurled a banner reading “ADL Stop the Hate: End Police Exchanges with Israel” when two ADL board members took the stage. JVP’s statement opposing the hypocrisy of the walk and calling for an end to the exchanges is endorsed by a number of community groups, including the Community Bail Fund, Philadelphia Black Lives Matter and the Council for American-Islamic Relations - Philadelphia. A second banner read “Safety Through Solidarity Not Policing #DeadlyExchange.”

 “I’m here at the Walk Against Hate because I believe that building a world without hate means investing in our communities and in safety for everyone. Instead, the ADL is investing in getting American cops trained by the Israeli military,” said Harry Russell, a member of JVP-Philadelphia. “These trainings reinforce racist practices of profiling and move us further towards more militarized policing. Communities don’t want or need that.”

JVP-Philadelphia is collecting signatures on an open letter to ADL, calling for an end to their deadly exchange programs, and is also collecting pledges to not participate in future ADL fundraiser events like the Walk Against Hate from local community groups. In the lead-up to the Walk event, JVP members consulted with the Community Bail Fund and invited community members and groups to donate to the Fund – a local group actively involved in fighting the carceral/police state and raising money to support those who are trapped in jail by an unjust cash bail system – rather than an organization sponsoring militarized police trainings. 

“With antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism on the rise these days, we need organizations fighting for the safety of ALL people. A group supposedly focused on fighting hate shouldn’t also facilitate police trainings with Israel,” said Tali Ruskin, a member of JVP-Philadelphia. “Israel’s expertise in using lethal force, mass surveillance and racial profiling shouldn’t be a model for policing anywhere. We need to challenge militarized and racist policing in both places, not valorize it through these exchanges.”

At the walk, JVP members engaged with community members about their concerns, and shared their vision of real safety beyond policing. Discussions were held about how Philadelphia needs investment in community and education, not militarized police trainings, surveillance, and occupation.

Download JVP Philly Handout Flyer from the march

Download Press Release PDF


Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 15,000 members, 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists, and a Jews of Color/Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus which organizes in partnership with JVP.


On violating the “sanctity of the concert hall” | Broad Street Review

On violating the “sanctity of the concert hall” | Broad Street Review

Benjamin Safran,, May 28, 2018

In recent weeks, the Philly Don’t Orchestrate Apartheid campaign, which challenges the Philadelphia Orchestra’s decision to perform during the 70th anniversary of Israel's independence, held multiple actions outside the Kimmel Center. On May 19, 2018, a few protesters entered Verizon Hall at the start of a performance of Tosca.

The Inquirer quotes interim orchestra co-president Matthew Loden telling the audience, “We live in an age where dissent is important. It matters. It should be heard. But the sanctity of the concert hall should be respected.”

In response, one commenter on social media wrote, “Very happy to hear that they disrupted the performance. Screw the 'sanctity' of the concert hall. Stop entertaining the ruling class, making contributions more important than human lives.” In 2014, Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted the Saint Louis Symphony, albeit during intermission. Though it was a comparatively small protest within the movement, the disruption received substantial media attention.

No safe spaces in art

The concern that classical music primarily serves the elite is legitimate. Musicologist Marianna Ritchey observes that classical music is used in contemporary society to index universal good virtue and high ideals, making it susceptible to use by powerful institutions — often corporations — to paint a positive image for themselves. Western art is seen as both neutral/universal and virtuous, hence its value to the “cultural diplomacy” for which the Philadelphia Orchestra has become known.

When I attended a Philly Don’t Orchestrate Apartheid rally a few weeks ago, many of the protesters were not anti-orchestra but in fact classical music fans, many Jewish (like me). These participants saw the orchestra’s performances in Israel as a chance to speak out about human rights and police brutality. 

With some exceptions, most participants had zero interest in preventing the audience from enjoying the performance. The audience reception was generally hostile; one concertgoer slammed the door violently against a protester’s dog.

Loden’s comment about the “sanctity of the concert hall” recalls President Trump's tweet that theater should be a “safe space”; this was in response to a Broadway performance of Hamilton that called attention to Vice President Mike Pence, who was in the audience. Loden was rightly challenged by Phil Gentry in a recent Inquirer commentary.

Protesters hung banners during a St. Louis Orchestra intermission and sang a "Requiem for Michael Brown." 

As Gentry notes, the action at a performance of Tosca is especially fitting. There is a particularly rich history of political messaging in opera, most often communicated through allegory. Our cultural institutions are certainly aware that art and protest, including classical music, can go hand in hand. 

Disruption works

In 2013, Opera Philadelphia staged a production of Verdi’s Nabucco that attempted to convey the opera’s social meaning when it was first performed, complete with a showdown between protesting musicians and armed guards. 

The 2014 Black Lives Matter and 2018 Philly Don’t Orchestrate Apartheid protests show that disruptions of symphonic concerts, even when carried out by only a few people, can help communicate a message. 

Certainly, not all disruption is good disruption. I see the orchestra’s appearance in Israel as a great opportunity for activists to raise concern over Israel's occupation and human rights violations. I agree with the sentiment that an international trip by an orchestra is never politically neutral. I also agree with Jewish Voice for Peace member Marta Guttenberg, whose letter to the Inquirer (which appeared only in the paper's print edition) noted that the argument that the trip is for “cultural diplomacy” is disingenuous, since there is no conflict between the United States and Israel.

Years ago, another organization considered an action at the annual Opera on the Mall event. We hoped its sponsor — PNC Bank — would stop investing in mountaintop-removal coal mining. I called Opera Philadelphia’s development office to figure out whether PNC executives would be attending. 

It was an uncomfortable phone call, during which I emphasized that we were not considering anything that would prevent the audience from enjoying the concert. The opera employee explained they were not endorsing mountaintop removal but, rather, that they would take money from anyone. 

Public money for the arts instead of war could be good framing for future actions. The stance of taking money from anyone is entirely understandable, but it does not make the opera neutral or immune from consequences if that money comes at the expense of community health and safety.

We decided against holding an action at the opera, though we did hold demonstrations outside a few PNC-sponsored FringeArts events. Our campaign targeting PNC was ultimately a success. We are now targeting PECO to do significantly more to develop renewable energy and jobs in underinvested local communities

I believe classical music is still valuable and can do good. It can make us think. It can draw attention to an ongoing social movement or campaign. It can even use its ability to attract money and power to fundraise for good, as with the recent Symphony for a Broken Orchestra. But yes, in the words of the Philly Don’t Orchestrate Apartheid commenter: “Screw the sanctity of the concert hall.”

Jewish Voice for Peace – Philadelphia Hold Vigil at Rep. Boyle’s Office

Jewish Exponent, May 21 2018

Rabbinical students and Jewish Voice for Peace – Philadelphia activists held a vigil at Rep. Brendan Boyle’s Olney office on Monday, asking Boyle to condemn recent Gaza deaths.
Participants dressed in all black and carried a banner with the names of the dead, as well as signs reading “Jews Stand with Gaza” and “US Jews to Rep Boyle: Break Your Silence on Gaza.”



Philadelphia, PA -  On Monday, May 14th at 1pm, at the twin flagpoles at Philadelphia City Hall, Jewish peace activists held Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney accountable, demanding he condemn Israel's indiscriminate killings and injuries of grassroots protesters and journalists in Gaza. While Mayor Kenney and several city council members gave speeches at the first-ever raising of the Israeli flag at City Hall in Center City (an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia), Jewish Voice for Peace members and allies held a peaceful, solemn vigil in memory of the over 100 unarmed protesters that have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since March 30th, over 50 of whom were killed today.

More than 35 Philadelphia Jews and allies gathered to ask why Mayor Kenney is attending an event celebrating Israel, which killed over 50 unarmed protesters in Gaza today, bringing the total death toll to over 100 since the end of March. JVP members and allies held up a large banner displaying the names and ages of the 51 Gazans who have been killed by Israeli forces from March 30th - May 11th, and also read their names out loud and sang songs of peace.

May Ye, member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council, says: “As an American Jew, I call on Israel to stop killing unarmed protesters in Gaza. I call on my local and federal elected officials to condemn the killings and to enforce the Leahy Law, which forbids the U.S. from funding a foreign military which is engaging in gross violations of human rights, like what Israel is doing right now. The U.S. currently funds the Israeli military to the tune of $3.8 billion a year.”

Since late March, Palestinians have been protesting in Gaza under the banner of the Great March of Return. The protest will culminate tomorrow, May 15th, which is the founding of the State of Israel and marked by Palestinians as Nakba Day (the catastrophe). To date, Israeli forces have killed over 100 unarmed protesters and injured thousands more.

Ben Kuss, a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Philadelphia chapter, states: “Our message is pretty simple. We believe Palestinians should be free and we expect Mayor Kenney to join those like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Representative Barbara Lee who have already spoken out against Israel killing unarmed protesters in Gaza. We are ashamed by Mayor Kenney and members of the Philadelphia City Council who chose to celebrate Israel today, while Israeli forces are actively killing and injuring unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.”

Tali Ruskin, Jewish Voice for Peace Philadelphia chapter leader says: “People have the right to protest without being shot or killed and we are here to ask Mayor Kenney and our city council:  “Will you stand with Palestinians, living right here in Philadelphia, whose families have been violently attacked by the Israeli military, and who have been forcibly removed from their land- in violation of international law?”

Date: May 14, 2018
Time: 1:00pm
Place: City Hall


Jewish Voice for Peace-Philadelphia is the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.


Tali Ruskin, a Jewish Voice for Peace committee member, said it's important that their concerns are heard.
"We're ashamed that our elected officials are out here supporting the state of Israel and on our City Hall property," she said. "We are a group of Jews and allies demanding that our elected officials not celebrate the state of Israel, as they are actively engaging in a massacre of unarmed protesters in Gaza."

City Hall displays Israeli flag for 70th birthday: Ceremony met with celebration, protest (KYW Newsradio, May 14 2018) 

“The move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is also happening today just miles away from where the massacre on Gaza is happening.  We absolutely condemn that move we think that it is it is politically charged and completely out of line with U.S. foreign policy to Israel.”
This is not the only Philadelphia event sparking protests over relations with Israel. At least three times, protesters have picketed outside the Philadelphia Orchestra, upset with the group’s June tour that includes stops in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israeli flag raised at Philadelphia City Hall (WHYY, May 14 2018)

Among the celebrations was opposition from protesters with the Philadelphia chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. 
“The sign I’m holding is a list of Palestinians murdered by the Israeli defense forces,” protester Elijah Blanton said.

Demonstrators Protest At City Hall Over Decision To Move US Embassy To Jerusalem (CBS Local, May 14 2018)

While a group of about a dozen Jewish Voice for Peace-led protesters — though more showed up as the event progressed — sang and stood outside of a barrier made around the area by sheriff and police officers, Lachs Adler acknowledged the violence in Gaza.

Philly Celebrates Israel’s Birthday with Flag Raising (Jewish Exponent, May 15 2018)

Pro-Palestinian activists protest the Philadelphia Orchestra's Israel tour

Philadelphia Inquirer,   APRIL 6, 2018

Philadelphia Inquirer, APRIL 6, 2018


"Sotto voce criticism of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s upcoming tour of Israel began a few weeks ago, but erupted noisily Friday with about four dozen protesters rallying in front of the Kimmel Center as audiences were leaving an orchestra matinee.

Activists urged the orchestra to cancel its concerts in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, citing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in general and, in particular, recent actions by Israeli security forces at Gaza border demonstrations that left more than two dozen Palestinians dead and hundreds injured.

'Tune out Apartheid — Don’t Fiddle for Israel,' read one sign. 'Violins — Not Zionist Violence' was another."

More news about Philly Don't Orchestrate Apartheid:

On Violating the "Sanctity of the Concert Hall."
Benjamin Safran, (May 28, 2018)

By touring Israel, Philadelphia Orchestra ignores crimes against Palestinians | Opinion.
Susan Abulhawa, (April 27, 2018)

Philadelphia Orchestra Ignores Israel's Ongoing Murder, Wounding Of Palestinians In Gaza As Philly Groups Enter 4th Week Of Protests.
Broadway World, Newsdesk (April 26, 2018)

"Israel no bastion of democracy"
Philadelphia Inquirer Letter to the editor by Matt Berkma
n, 4/23/18
In response to ZOA Philadelphia leadership's supportive letter re: the orchestra's Israel trip

zoa orchestra.jpg

"Wrong Time for Orchestra Trip"
Philadelphia Inquirer Letter to the Editor by Marta Guttenberg, May 3 2018


Quaker group among 20 banned from travel to Israel, January 8, 2018

Marta Guttenberg, who is on the steering committee for the Philadelphia Chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace, said several of the 50 or so volunteer members have family in Israel and visit frequently. While she said the ban was discouraging, she’s unsure how it will be enforced. “We’re an all-volunteer chapter, we’re pretty much all-volunteer nationally,” Guttenberg said. “So it’s not going to be that easy for the Israeli equivalent of the TSA to figure out who actually is a member and hold them.” She said she was pleased to be on the same blacklist with the AFSC, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for helping World War II refugees, many of them Jews. “We are trying to speak against a totalitarian system that silences people for speaking up in a nonviolent way,” she said.

Read more

'P Is for Palestine': A controversial Sunday story time, December 17 2017
Barhim Benmbark, 39, from Morocco was asked to do the reading of children’s book P is for Palestine by Golbarg Bashi, an instructor of Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. The public reading was held at the Children’s Community School of West Philadelphia, Sunday, December, 17, 2017.

Trump's Jerusalem declaration sparks fear, joy.

Trump's Jerusalem declaration sparks fear, joy. (, Dec 6)

The decision will sharpen the divide among Jews who fall on different sides of the issue, predicted Philadelphia-based Rabbi Linda Holtzman, a member of Jewish Voices for Peace. She and others also said the announcement could have precedent-setting implications.
“The idea of making it easier for Israel to annex more land is something that even many people who are deeply supportive of Israel are trying very hard not to encourage,” she said.
That could upend international precedent, noted Marwan Kreidie, executive director of the Philadelphia Arab American Development Corporation.
“The whole post-World War II world consensus is we don’t allow war to dictate the acquisition of territory,” he said. “If we accept Israel’s annexing of a place that they took through armed conflict, then what’s wrong with the Russians taking Ukraine? What’s wrong with other people taking land by force?”
Like others opposed to the decision, Kreidie viewed the move as a play to evangelical Christians in Trump’s right-wing base rather than a step towards peace.
“Remember, Jerusalem is a special city,” Kreidie said. “It’s a city that’s holy to three religions. It’s supposed to be the city of peace. You don’t give it to one side.”

JVP Philly joins with 15 chapters around the country to protest ADL

JVP Philly joins with 15 chapters around the country to protest ADL

Jewish Voice for Peace members convened at ADL offices in 15 different U.S. cities, in a coordinated effort to spotlight these “Deadly Exchanges.” The demonstrations mark the inaugural day of action to pressure the ADL — a self-described premier U.S. civil rights organization — to end its support for the state-sanctioned discrimination and repression of communities of color in both the U.S. and Israel.

Tell the ADL: End Deadly Police Exchanges!

On October 22nd, we built a sukkah outside the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, where the Anti-Defamation League was present. We were there to demand that the ADL stop funding police exchange programs between the U.S. and Israel, and to condemn the IACP gathering and the ADL’s participation in the conference. #DeadlyExchange #EndDeadlyExchanges #AbolitionWeekend.

Read: Which Side Is the Anti-Defamation League On? Racial Justice or White Supremacy? (Truth-Out)

See more photos

The Zionist Organization of America's gala celebration of Islamophobia is a disgrace

What kind of Jewish organization would host white/Christian supremacist Steve Bannon as a featured speaker at their national gala event? The same racist embarrassment to all Jews who care about human rights and social justice that “honors” outrageous Right-wing figures every year: the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

The ZOA’s annual local Philadelphia gala is tonight, September 12, and its national gala will be held in New York in November. Along with Bannon on the bill at that NYC event are Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, who supported the Trump campaign with a $25 million donation, and tacked on another $5 million for the inauguration expenses (the largest single donation ever made to an incoming president's inauguration).

Remember those hateful bus ads in Philadelphia promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories? On April Fool's Day 2015, after similar campaigns in New York and San Francisco, anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller and her tiny, foolish organization American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) paid for 84 SEPTA buses to run month-long ads linking Islam to Nazism and inciting violence against Muslims. Philadelphia's Jewish, Christian, and Muslim clergy and community members came together to oppose the ads. The city held its breath in fear of the potential outcomes of AFDI's inflammatory fear-mongering. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled AFDI a "hate group." Geller has been identified by the Center for American Progress as among the ringleaders of an "Islamophobia network" of right-wing funders and activists working to foment irrational hatred of Muslims across the country.

Pamela Gellar was the Philadelphia ZOA chapter's honored speaker at their 2012 gala and, in 2015, ZOA was the only Jewish institution in Philly to maintain support and allegiance with Geller and AFDI. In a statement to The Jewish Exponent, the ZOA’s Morton Klein refused to condemn the ads and instead sympathized with Geller’s position.

This year at the ZOA Philadelphia gala, the honorees include: the senior online editor of the neo-conservative monthly Commentary; a major donor we can assume is a big supporter of the ZOA (who else would accept an award from these extremists?); a couple who are leaders in the field of messianic Christian Zionism; and a fundamentalist rabbi who they quote in their gala literature as saying "Israel was given to us before 1948. It was a gift from G-d. It doesn't matter what UNESCO says."

People in Philadelphia, especially its Jewish community, should understand clearly that the ZOA is a far-Right, racist organization that uses the cover of being "pro-Israel" to spread anti-Muslim messages while welcoming white supremacists and Christian fundamentalists. Shame on them!

IfNotNow and Jewish Voice For Peace - Philadelphia to March from Rally Against Hate to Toomey's Office

IfNotNow and Jewish Voice For Peace - Philadelphia to March from Rally Against Hate to Toomey's Office

Email: philly [at] jewishvoiceforpeace [dot] org

IfNotNow and Jewish Voice For Peace - Philadelphia to March from Rally Against Hate to Toomey's Office

Two groups express solidarity with Jewish community and all others targeted by Trump-enabled white supremacy

Today IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace will jointly attend the Jewish Federation’s Rally Against Hate, under banners reading: “Stand With Jews, Muslims, Immigrants, Black and Brown People: White Supremacy Targets Them All.” We stand with our fellow Jews against the horrific anti-Semitic attacks in our city and around the country, especially the desecration of Mt. Carmel Cemetery, where many of us have been helping to restore the graves. The desecration of over 500 Jewish graves is not something we thought we would see in our lifetimes in the United States of America. And yet it is far too predictable that anti-Semitism would find quarter amidst the fascist, white supremacist, and xenophobic politics of Donald Trump.

We applaud the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for leading the cleanup at Mt. Carmel Cemetery and for organizing today’s Rally Against Hate. In order to fully stand against all the forms of hate that this administration has fomented, we demand that the President and his ally, Senator Pat Toomey, apologize for the administration’s role in emboldening anti-Semites, Islamophobes, and white supremacists. This includes recanting the absurd accusation that Jews might have fabricated the anti-Semitic attacks, and firing the deeply hateful Stephen Bannon.

We will be marching from the Rally Against Hate to Sen. Toomey’s new office at the U.S. Customs House, to demand that Sen. Toomey condemn these anti-Semitic attacks as part of a broader trend of hate crimes against Muslims and immigrants, enabled and emboldened by Trump's rise to power.

In the spirit of solidarity and friendship, we invite the Federations and other Jewish organizations to join us in standing against all forms of hate by being as vocal about Islamophobia and xenophobia as about anti-Semitism, and by refraining from demonizing Muslims, Palestinians, or their advocates as inherently anti-Semitic, which only advances Trump’s agenda of hate and does not make us safer.

We have all been deeply inspired by the solidarity of Muslim-American leaders Linda Sarsour and Tarik El-Messidi, who raised over $100,000 to help repair the gravestones in St. Louis, and are now directing extra funds from that effort to Philadelphia. In that spirit, we redouble our commitments to show up for our Muslim neighbors like they have for us – to show up for immigrant communities, LBGTQ+ communities, and all who are victims of hate - and we ask that you do too.

As we approach the Jewish holiday of Purim, when Esther’s heroism saved the Jews from the Stephen Bannon of their day, we affirm that this mutual solidarity is the most moral and the most effective kind of safety we can ultimately find.

WHO: IfNotNow Philly and Jewish Voice for Peace - Philadelphia.

WHEN: Thursday, March 2, 12 pm.

WHERE: Independence Mall, Philadelphia, PA, followed by Sen. Pat Toomey Office, 200 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA


JVP Philly Statement on Mt. Carmel Jewish Cemetery Desecration

JVP Philly Statement on Mt. Carmel Jewish Cemetery Desecration

We were profoundly saddened to learn that over 500 gravestones at Mt. Carmel Cemetery were desecrated over the weekend. In the context of the grave desecration in St. Louis earlier this week and a rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the country, this appears to be another outrageous and heinous attack on our community. Yet we also see this attack for what it is: part of a broader assault on all the targets of the white nationalists emboldened by Donald Trump, who refused for months to condemn them, and then only did so in the vaguest terms.

We applaud Mayor Jim Kenney’s condemnation of this attack and demand a swift response from Senator Pat Toomey and other congressional leaders who are working with Trump. They must go beyond mere condemnation by acknowledging the role this president has played in fomenting intolerance and xenophobia across the country. Trump and his enablers in Congress have already done immense damage to our society, and they must take extraordinary steps, immediately, to halt the spiral of hatred they have unleashed, whether it targets Jews, Muslims, immigrants, transgender individuals, or any other group. If they do not, they should expect to hear from us.

In Philadelphia and around the country, JVP is committed to fighting anti-Semitism alongside fighting Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism. We are deeply inspired by the solidarity of Muslim-American leaders Linda Sarsour and Tarik El-Messidi, who raised over $100,000 to help repair the gravestones in St. Louis, and are now directing extra funds from that effort to Philadelphia.

It is in this spirit of solidarity that we continue to resist Trump. We are heartened by the swift response of other Jewish organizations to this attack. We believe Jewish institutions in Philadelphia and beyond must speak openly about the political roots of the anti-Semitism we are currently witnessing. We invite Jewish organizations to no longer hold their tongues when Muslims, immigrants, and people of color come under attack, but to connect the fear and threats against Jews to rising violence against other oppressed groups. We will continue to show up not only for ourselves but for each other, whenever mosques are attacked, cemeteries are desecrated, or immigrants are detained.

JVP Philly Letter to Craig Sellers, Head of Friends' Central, on Cancellation of Talk by Dr. Sa'ed Atshan

JVP Philly Letter to Craig Sellers, Head of Friends' Central, on Cancellation of Talk by Dr. Sa'ed Atshan

The following letter was sent to Craig Sellers, head of Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA, in response to the cancellation of a talk by our friend, teacher, and mentor, Dr. Sa'ed Atshan. In addition to cancelling Sa'ed's talk, Friends' Central suspended the two teachers who arranged the talk. You can read about the cancellation and suspensions here, here, and here. A moving piece by Sa'ed about his Quaker values can be read here.

Once a refugee, I now stand in support of those shunned by U.S. government

Once a refugee, I now stand in support of those shunned by U.S. government

JVP Philly member Egina Manachova writes an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer linking her own experience as a refugee to current policies restricting refugee placement and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries;

Because of my race and my religion, and the political climate of the time, I was fortunate to have been able to access a path to citizenship as a refugee, one that is not available for every community. Now as a citizen, I refuse to turn my back on refugees, regardless of where they are from. As a refugee, I stand with all oppressed peoples of the world regardless of who is oppressing them.

Read the whole piece here.

Coverage of JVP Philly and the Protest Refugee Deportations action at PHL airport