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IfNotNow

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://ifnot.net/
Founded2014
In their own wordsA “movement to end the American Jewish community's support for the occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.”

Funding

Activities

  • IfNotNow was founded during the 2014 Gaza War by young Jews “angered by the overwhelmingly hawkish response of American Jewish institutions” as a way to “demonstrate their resistance through the beauty of Jewish ritual.”

Political Advocacy

  • IfNotNow’s primary activities are protests and sit-ins at the headquarters of leading American Jewish communal organizations, as well as “running small, weekend-long orientation trainings on our movement DNA – our collective strategy, story, and structure.”
  • Seeks “to end American Jewish support for the occupation” and claims that the “occupation is a system of violence and separation by which Israel denies Palestinians freedom and dignity by depriving them of civil, political and economic rights.” It further claims that the “occupation is a daily nightmare for those who live it – and it is a moral disaster for those who support it and who administer it.”
  • IfNotNow has been widely criticized for refusing to engage in dialogue with those it criticizes in the Jewish community, indicating that publicity, not influencing the community, is the main goal.
  • IfNotNow is involved in a campaign to infiltrate summer camps, providing training seminars for counselors to “develop programming introducing Palestinian narratives and…’the moral costs of occupation’.”
  • In June 2018, IfNotNow launched an anti-Birthright campaign, claiming that the program “is hiding the truth about Israel from us” and asserting that “Our generation will no longer allow ourselves to be manipulated by right-wing donors and the radical Israeli government who tell us a story about Israel and Judaism that legitimizes, justifies, or simply ignores the Occupation.”
  • IfNotNow runs a program called “You Never Told Me” providing a platform for youth to “change their Israel education to include an honest understanding of the Occupation and Palestinian narratives.”
  • In 2018, IfNotNow created a “Liberation Syllabus” to aid students to “engage with the reality of the Occupation.” The syllabus features books by Ghassan Kanafani, who was a spokesperson for the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),  a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, and Israel.
  • In March-April 2018, IfNotNow led an “Anti-Occupation Delegation” to Israel and the West Bank. Participants met with a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israel conflict including: Breaking the Silence, Machsom Watch, Youth against Settlements, and Ta’ayush.
  • In April 2018, IfNotNow launched a petition to Senator Dianne Feinstein to “Condemn Israeli violence against Palestinian protestors,” as to “condemn the shooting of unarmed protesters is neither bold nor brave: it is the bare minimum we should expect from any moral leader.” IfNotNow ignores the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
  • In March 2018, IfNotNow tweeted its disapproval of ambulances being provided to settlers, claiming that they are “legitimizing settler presence here — which has led to daily oppression of thousands of Palestinians.”
  • In 2016, organized Passover “liberation Seders” in various cities throughout the United States. On numerous occasions, members were arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct. In Boston, a number of activists chained themselves inside the Boston AIPAC lobby before being arrested by police.
  • Jewish Voice for Peace(JVP), which seeks to create a “wedge” in the Jewish community over Israel, has reportedly “celebrated If Not Now’s activism.” A JVP official said that IfNotNow is “helping to make visible what JVP has known to be true for many years; that a generational gap is growing as many young Jews are disillusioned with the Israel they were taught to admire.”

Examples of IfNotNow Protests

  • In April 2018, IfNotNow, alongside Jewish Voice for Peace, protested a gala dinner for Birthright.
  • On June 11, 2017, IfNotNow protested the Celebrate Israel festival in Boston because “50 years of Occupation is nothing to celebrate.”
  • On June 10, 2017, IfNotNow members were expelled from the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia after creating a “pop-up exhibit about 50 years of Occupation.”
  • Organized a “Week of Action to Confront 50 Years of Occupation” during the week of June 5, 2017, with events taking place in cities throughout the US.
  • On June 5, 2017, IfNotNow blocked marchers at the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York as “50 years of Occupation is something to resist, not celebrate.”
  • In May 2017, organized a protest against Jerusalem Day and the March of the Flags outside of Damascus Gate, in which several protesters were arrested by Israeli police. Yonah Lieberman, an If Not Now organizer, said that “This is a significant moment for us. Our generation is rejecting the occupation. In [its] 50th year, it felt deeply significant for us to come together and put our bodies on the line.”
  • In May 2017, IfNotNow members interrupted New York Times columnist Bret Stephens at an event at a synagogue in San Francisco.
  • On February 16, 2017, IfNotNow activists were arrested after disrupting the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during confirmation hearings for David Friedman and his nomination as US Ambassador to Israel.

Staff

  • Founders and early members include Yonah Lieberman, Kara Segal, Max Berger, and Simone Zimmerman.
    • Zimmerman was hired as the Jewish outreach coordinator for U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. She was subsequently fired when a profanity-laced Facebook post about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged.

Archive of Articles about IfNotNow