I have to show you this photo.
It’s from a Pride event in New Hampshire, where a group of IfNotNow members asked Bernie Sanders to take a picture with us and our sign that read ‘Anti-Occupation Jews’. My heart was racing. And then, Bernie said ‘yes’! You can see the huge smile on my face as we rushed into the picture (I’m by the yellow arrow).
Growing up in rural Vermont, I often felt isolated as one of the only Jewish people in town. That all changed when I found IfNotNow and felt for the first time surrounded by a community dedicated to building a movement for freedom and dignity.
This summer, I am living with five other young American Jews in New Hampshire, spending the coming months publicly confronting presidential candidates, asking them to take a stand against the Occupation and tell us what they are going to do to put an end to it. It just so happened that we started with my home state’s senator, Bernie.
But we can’t do it alone. We need your support to help us pay for things like the gas to drive hours across rural New Hampshire, the video conferencing tech so we can train others across the country to do the same, and basic materials like the sign you see in the photo.
Yesterday, I learned that Bernie and I aren’t just two Jewish Vermonters, we are two Jewish Vermonters against the Occupation. When he took that photo with us, only one word could describe my feelings — kvelling.
This is why IfNotNow was started four years ago: so American Jews could come together and proudly stand up for our Jewish values by opposing the immorality of the Israeli Occupation. We want to show our politicians that young Jews across America reject the Trump-Bibi alliance, and we want to push Democratic primary candidates to break from the AIPAC-created stalemate in Washington and do what’s necessary to ensure freedom and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians.
This is no small task, but I have immense hope in my generation of American Jews.
The 2020 elections will be the first time I am able to vote for president, and I believe if enough people come together to put forward a progressive vision for this country and the world, we can win. I am ready to make sure that freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians is part of that vision.
We’ll keep you posted the next time Bernie or any other candidate proudly identifies as anti-Occupation.
IfNotNow New Hampshire Fellow