On Friday, August 27th, J Street U National Board President Brooke Davies sent the following letter to the heads of the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Anti-Defamation League and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, signed by over 100 J Street U student leaders from campuses around the country.
We are writing to you as J Street U leaders, as advocates for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an end to occupation, and as strong proponents of a secure, Jewish democratic state of Israel living side-by-side with an independent and viable state of Palestine.
We are asking you to show leadership by making clear your opposition to the impending demolition of the Palestinian village of Susya.
We know that your organization, like the majority of the American Jewish community, supports a two-state solution. We believe that it is vital for communal leaders to advocate for the two-state solution and to condemn and advocate against actions that undermine it – whether they are committed by Israelis or Palestinians.
Our community’s words carry real weight with our own government and the government of Israel. That is a responsibility we must take seriously.
That is why we write to call your attention to a specific and concrete situation that we believe urgently merits and requires your response. The Palestinian village of Susya has been targeted for demolition by leaders of the settlement movement lobbying the Israeli government. Demolishing the village would not only displace Palestinians and embitter the next generation, it would further facilitate the expansion of settlements throughout the South Hebron Hills in the surrounding villages, making a Palestinian state less viable.
The goal of this demolition effort is clear – to perpetuate the occupation and to undermine the prospects for a two-state solution.
According to the latest Israeli High Court decision, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has until November 15 to make a decision about whether he will demolish 40 percent of the village, and displace approximately 100 Palestinians from their homes.
As supporters of the two-state solution, we must demonstrate to Minister Lieberman that no matter how long the decision is delayed, the leadership of the American Jewish community is watching what happens and stands against actions that are harmful to a peaceful future.
We know you have spoken out on a range of issues when you believe that the interests and the values of Israel and the American Jewish community are under threat. We are asking you now to act in that tradition and with that same purpose. The situation in Susya is a clear example of an ongoing crisis that threatens Israel’s future and undermines respect and compassion for Palestinians and their rights. As a community, we ignore it at our own peril.
We urge you to seize this opportunity to act.
Brooke Davies, President of the J Street U National Student Board, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Class of 2017