Friday, March 25, 2011


Barbed, Steel Barriers Divide 50,000-person Campus to Protest Harmful Effects of U.S. Policy in Israeli-Occupied Palestine and the U.S./Mexico Border

Media Contacts – AZ Jewish Voice for Peace
Brooke Lober: 415-624-4467 /
Bryan James Gordon: 520-388-0884 /
Gabriel Matthew Schivone: 520-302-6006 /
Publicity Stills:

TUCSON AZ (USA) – Students from the Arizona chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace at the University of Arizona (UA) collaborated with partners in the UA migrant rights group No Más Muertes/No More Deaths (NMM) to erect the largest mock border wall in the country currently dividing the UA campus in Tucson. They aim to spotlight the lethal effects of U.S. militarization, immigration and border enforcement policies in Arizona, the U.S., and Israeli-occupied Palestine.

Equipped with barbed-wire and stretching nearly four football fields’ length, the mock wall, entitled “Wall to Wall - Concrete Connections/Conexiones Concretas,” will stand for more than a week across the main traffic center of the more-than-50,000-person University of Arizona campus. Endorsed by numerous academic departments, as well as student and community groups, the JVP and NMM worked for nearly 8 months to bring the project to fruition.

Packed into a 387-acre area of central Tucson, the University of Arizona schools and employs more than 50,000 students, faculty and staff, outnumbering the State of Arizona as the largest public employer in Southern Arizona – and therefore a proper target for mass disruption, the students say. “We won’t let daily life continue while people are dying and suffering from abominable policies being funded with U.S. tax dollars,” remarked JVP coordinator, Chicano-Jewish student and native Tucsonan, Gabriel Matthew Schivone: “We aim to disturb, to trouble our peers with the knowledge – and less than one tenth of a simulated experience – of our fellow neighbors and communities’ miserable conditions to which our privilege renders many of us to be immune, and renders the conditions themselves to be invisible. We hope to quicken the conscience of our community and shake them into action to end these abuses.”

The mock wall, in part, represents the harmful effects of Israel’s apartheid wall that punctuates and snakes throughout the Palestinian West Bank. An outgrowth of a 44-year military occupation, paid for by $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, and built on occupied Palestinian territory, the wall was deemed illegal by the United Nations International Court of Justice in July 2004. JVP co-coordinator and Anthropology and Linguistics graduate student, Bryan James Gordon, stated: “The U.S. and Israeli governments should realize that walls and guns do not stop peaceful, hardworking people from seeking a future, and they do not make national economies any stronger, fairer or more independent. They only cause violence, and trick one exploited class into fearing and attacking another exploited class instead of the elites that are exploiting them both."

The students say they are also alarmed by increasing anti-immigrant legislation and sentiment throughout Arizona and the country, and by ongoing repression of migrants, indigenous peoples and communities of color by U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forces. The students also point to more than 6000 human remains recovered from the U.S./Mexico desert borderlands since the early 1990’s, when the U.S. instituted harsh “deterrence” strategies targeting migrants crossing into the U.S. The students’ statement of purpose reads, “By voluntarily giving up the unjust privileges that we enjoy -- and symbolically taking those privileges away from you, our fellow students, faculty, administration and staff -- we aim to create an unavoidable crisis on campus to expose the larger human catastrophe which our community, by and large, continually fails to see...”

In a joint JVP-NMM op-ed published today (March 23) in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the official newspaper of the University of Arizona, both groups stated: “We will not stand idly by nor stay silent regarding the enormous suffering being inflicted either in our local deserts and cities, or 10,000 miles away in Israeli-occupied Palestine.…[Our wall] symbolized our collective will to end global apartheid and work toward a world that truly offers justice for all.”

Publicity Stills:

Purpose Statement from the Organizers:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Boston Solidarity Action with March 15th Palestinian "Day of Rage"/ Unity protests

At this very second, protests are occurring in the occupied Palestinian territories against the undemocratic nature of the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, and Hamas. The leadership of the Palestinian "government" institutions have helped Israel in oppressing the Palestinian people and prevented the type of unity that would allow for a successful popular resistance to the occupation. These protests are part of a wider movement for democracy and justice that is sweeping the Middle East, North Africa, and Wisconsin. These protests will show how Palestinians refuse to be oppressed by the Israeli Occupation, the Apartheid system, and the unjust behavior of their leaders:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brandeis Hillel Excludes Jewish Peace Group

March 9, 2011
For Release: Immediately Upon Receipt
Contact: Lev Hirschhorn - (510) 387-0026

Brandeis Hillel Excludes Jewish Peace Group

The Latest Failure of the American Jewish Establishment

WALTHAM, MA -- The Brandeis University Hillel has formally voted to exclude a Jewish peace group on campus.

On March 8, 2011, Brandeis University Hillel rejected the campus chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) from becoming a Hillel member group. In line with controversial guidelines recently issued by National Hillel, the decision was based on JVP’s support for targetted boycotts of goods produced in Israeli settlements.

In response to the decision, Brandeis senior and JVP activist Jon Sussman stated "Brandeis students have lost an opportunity to learn from one another. Jewish students must demand the national Hillel organization change its condescending guidelines which marginalize progressive Jewish opinion on campus."

Hillel is the center of Jewish life on-campus , and its constitution affirms “the necessity of a pluralistic Jewish community on campus, with partisanship to none.” Regardless of this affirmation, Hillel’s new guidelines exclude Jewish groups on the basis of political opinions.

These guidelines are representative of a trend in the Jewish community to prevent open dialogue on Israel. The Israeli Knesset, for example, is currently hearing legislation to criminalize support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. “Jewish Voice for Peace opposes any ideological litmus test to participate in organized Jewish life,” Sussman said.

Brandeis sophomore and JVP activist Morgan Conley added that Hillel’s ban confuses the settlements with the state of Israel. Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. “We were rejected on the grounds that boycotting settlement goods is the same thing as boycotting Israel. The reality, however, is that the settlements are not in Israel - they are in the Occupied Palestinian territories. By blurring the line between the state of Israel and the occupied territories, Hillel is unfortunately appearing to support a Jewish state at the expense of a democratic one.” Conley remarked.

Support for targeted boycott is an increasingly mainstream position within the Jewish community, shared by national organizations such as Meretz USA. Leading Jewish artists including Stephen Sondheim, Tony Kushner, Frank Gehry and Amos Oz have defended several of Israel’s best-known actors who are boycotting performances in the settlement of Ariel.

“Hillel needs to give groups like Jewish Voice for Peace a place at the Jewish communal table,” Sussman insisted. “If not, Hillel will alienate a generation of young Jews committed to our values of peace, justice and self-determination.”


Jewish Voice for Peace is the only national Jewish organization that provides a voice for Jews and allies who believe that peace in the Middle East will be achieved through justice and full equality for both Palestinians and Israelis. With 27 chapters, a Rabbinical Council, 100,000 online supporters and an advisory board composed of many of the leading Jewish thinkers and artists of our time, Jewish Voice for Peace is the country’s fastest growing grassroots group dedicated to promoting a US foreign policy that respects the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to peace and self-determination.