Friday, September 29, 2006

Philly High Holiday Press Release and Images: 09-28-06


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Philadelphia Jews Honor High Holidays with
"10 Days of Jewish Solidarity with Palestine & Lebanon " Campaign

Activists Hang Banners Calling for an End to U.S. Military Aid to Israel


PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Jews continued to honor the High Holidays this week by unfurling banners reading "U.S. Jews Say: Stop U.S. Military $ to Israel " and "U.S. Jews Stand Against Israel's War Crimes." Similar banners have adorned bridges over interstate highways throughout the city in honor of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

The "10 Days of Jewish Solidarity with Palestine & Lebanon" campaign began on Rosh Hashanah, Friday, September 22. It continues through Yom Kippur on Monday, October 2. The campaign is coordinated with groups of Jewish activists in Boston, Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

"In this period of reflection and renewal, it becomes all the more urgent to separate a centuries-old complex and living tradition from a highly militarized and relatively new state," said a health care professional and participant in this week's actions.

During the high holidays, Jews traditionally reflect and atone for the individual and collective injustices each person has committed or allowed to happen. The national campaign calls on Jews of conscience to honor the High Holidays by taking action in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Lebanon. According to its mission statement, the campaign calls on Jewish communities to question the effect of the U.S. government's unconditional political and financial support of Israeli policy.

These protest actions come one month after Jewish groups in Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco hung banners, held a die-in, and committed civil disobedience in response to Israel's war in Lebanon and the unquestioned U.S. government support for it.

Since June, the actions of the Israeli military have resulted in the deaths of over 1,600 people in Lebanon and over 200 Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. This crisis in Gaza is only the latest chapter in the consistent displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland that has been an inherent part of Israeli state-building. Such violence is an affront to the historic Jewish commitment to justice, say campaign organizers.

"Many American Jews don't support Israel 's recent actions in Lebanon. There is no Jewish consensus on this issue," said a Philadelphia rabbinical student who recently returned from a month on the West Bank documenting human rights abuses against Palestinians.

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