"The fire of hatred and racism is ablaze in Israel," cries Ha'aretz in a recent editorial. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and the right-wing Knesset continue to advance laws and initiatives designed to discriminate against Arab citizens and lock up thousands of immigrants in a giant facility in the Negev. The message out of Jerusalem in the delicate language of legislation is translated into wild incitement in the offices of the rabbis."
"Israeli society is falling into a deep, dark pit of racism and xenophobia," the head of Israel's Reform Judaism movement, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, said yesterday.
Amidst this rising anti-democratic wave, the Netanyahu-Lieberman government again dispatched riot police and bulldozers a few days ago and demolished the Negev Bedouin Arab village of Al- Arakib for the 8th time in six months. While continuing to ignore hundreds of building violations in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the government refuses to seek out a compromise with the Negev Bedouin in the "unrecognized villages," preferring to use force against Israel's loyal Bedouin citizens.
These acts of violence are being carried out in our name to enable the Jewish National Fund to build homes and new settlements in the Negev for 250,000 Jews. We CAN and MUST speak out as Jews and help strengthen our allies in Israel who are fighting to end this injustice.
A few months ago we launched the Campaign for Bedouin-Jewish Justice in Israel, now a project of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and the Jewish Alliance for Change. We've taken a lead role in informing and galvanizing thousands of American Jews, Israelis and others around the world to work for a democratic Israel where Jewish values inspire the fight for equal rights for Israeli Jews and Bedouin Arabs in the Negev, Israel's single poorest and most disadvantaged population.
Take a stand right now for justice and human rights in Israel and click here to make a year-end tax-deductible gift to Rabbis for Human Rights-North America for the Campaign for Bedouin-Jewish Justice in Israel. (Please be sure to select the Campaign when you make your gift online.)
Our accomplishments so far include:
- Devorah Brous, co-director of our Campaign, has just published a trailblazing op-ed in the Jerusalem Report revealing the long-hidden dimensions of the struggle over land and resources between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Click here to read "Seeing the Unseen: The Forgotten Palestinian-Israeli Problem."
- Our campaign has helped generate 10,000 signatures on online petitions of protest to Prime Minister Netanyahu and JNF leaders, and continues to grow. If you've not yet done so, please click here to add your voice now.
- We've forged an international coalition of some 40 Israeli and American Jewish groups who are now working in concert for the first time to end the plight of the 200,000 Negev Bedouin.
- Working with our partners in Israel and the US, we're proud to have broken the story last month of the role with JNF of GOD-TV and other Evangelical Christian groups in planting a one-million tree forest, many near Al-Arakib, as part of the government's plan to displace the Bedouin. For the latest media coverage, please go here.
- As we continue to enlist leading activists and writers both in Israel and the US, our website is rapidly becoming the go-to place to stay abreast of what's really happening on the ground in the Negev and why.
As we move into 2011, we're setting in motion new plans to exponentially increase our impact both in the American Jewish community and in Israel, to help move Israel to end the suffering of its Bedouin minority. We're
- Bringing Bedouin and Jewish activists from Israel to speak in the US, starting in January;
- Working with Israeli filmmakers to create new web videos telling the story of Bedouin Israelis to a wider audience;
- Educating American Jewish leaders and Israeli officials about how other countries have resolved similar conflicts over land and housing;
- Exploring ways to power the struggle to sustain and rebuild Negev Bedouin communities after demolition;
- Developing participation among Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy in the US and Israel in religious services, interfaith vigils and advocacy for Bedouin-Jewish equality;
- Publishing print and online messages in American Jewish media;
- Providing background briefings to journalists who are increasingly writing about the issue;
- And much more!
We can only succeed in this new year if you join forces with our growing international effort. Please make a generous year-end tax-deductible contribution to Rabbis for Human Rights-North America to support the Campaign for Bedouin-Jewish Justice in Israel.
(Or visit www.rhr-na.org/donate, click on "Donate Online" and select "Campaign for Bedouin-Jewish Justice in Israel")
If you've already made a contribution to Rabbis for Human Rights-North America this year, please accept our gratitude and consider a special gift to support our work to help make justice and human rights a reality for Israel's Bedouin community. Thank you in advance for your support.
The Campaign for Bedouin Jewish Justice in Israel
A Project of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and the Jewish Alliance for Change