Organising in times of war
A report from Uri Weltmann, National Field Organiser for Standing Together.
One after another, world leaders visit Israel – the German Chancellor Scholz, the US President Biden – all of them expressing “support for Israel”, which for them amounts to support for the current Israeli government. But for me, as an Israeli citizen who is distrustful towards my own government, I feel that bolstering up the credibility of Netanyahu’s reign is actually undermining my own safety and security.
“Supporting Israel” is not synonymous with Supporting Israelis – which should mean, staunch criticism towards the current Israeli government (the most hawkish, nationalist, right-extremist government in the history of our country), which works every day against the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Standing Together is committed to organising citizens of Israel – both Jewish and Palestinian – and mobilising them for the cause of peace, equality and social justice.
Yesterday (18 October), Jewish and Palestinian activists of Standing Together in Jerusalem were detained by the police for the “crime” of hanging posters that read, in Hebrew and Arabic: “Jews and Arabs – We Will Get Through This Together”:
This illustrates how the Israeli political establishment is bent on shutting down critical discussion in Israel, using the police to enforce its policies. Look at Standing Together activist in a peaceful protest in Tel-Aviv, in front of the Ministry of Defense, having a police officer confiscate a sign that reads “a child is a child” in Hebrew and Arabic:
Since this new war broke out, we in Standing Together formed an emergency ad-hoc organising effort called the Jewish-Arab Solidarity Guard, which now boasts of 15 local groups throughout the country. These groups – whose supporters number in the thousands – create on-the-ground actions to de-escalate and promote the cause of anti-racism.
Look at some of our local actions, in cities throughout Israel:
Listen to Alon-Lee Green, National Co-Director of Standing Together, speaking to UK audiences in TalkTV:
Read an article in the Guardian about the voices of Israeli peace activists who call against revenge and war – including Noy Katzman from the leadership of Standing Together, who mourns her brother, slain in the Gaza attack.
Last week, dozens of Israeli leading progressive academics and peace activists (including myself and some of my comrades) published an open letter expressing our dismay at the feeble response of some left-wing public intellectuals and organization throughout the world, who rather than denouncing the horrific and brutal crimes committed by Hamas against Israeli citizens in their homes, either sidelined the issue or even glorified and rationalized these atrocities.
As our movement enters into these difficult days, and tries to maneuver the dangerous times ahead, we are ever more in need of the backing of those who support our cause. Our organising efforts on the ground are financed by the people, mostly in Israel but some also abroad, who support our values. Standing Together has more than 4,000 dues-paying members across the country, but our growing work in these days sends us reaching out to our supporters once more.
You are more than welcomed if you could share our story with people around you, and invite them to join our international network of supporters and sustainers. Here is how you can donate to Standing Together:
– Direct wire transfers for donations in Euros:
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Bank Address: Dizengoff 50, Tel Aviv 6433222 Israel
Company Address: Mikveh Israel 8, Tel Aviv 6511403 Israel
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