Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Jewish-American organisation aims to highlight occupation in 2020 elections

By F.F. Dawkins - July 04, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [US Election]

American-Jewish NGO, IfNotNow, has launched a new campaign aimed at highlighting the Israeli occupation of Palestine in the upcoming US elections in 2020. 

The campaign aims at addressing American presidential candidates and their policies, specifically in regards to policies concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict and occupation.

On 29 June, a number of IfNotNow’s representatives met with the Democratic Party’s nomination, Bernie Sanders, who is running in the US 2020 elections. 

Sanders has heavily criticised the Israeli government for their actions in the West Bank and Gaza. He recently called the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “racist” at a CNN Town Hall interview. 

Founded during the Israel-Gaza conflict in 2014, IfNotNow started by protesting in front of American Zionist Lobby organisations and in the following years eventually enlarged their criticism towards the Israeli occupation of Palestine. 

The organisation stated in a press release that “IfNotNow, which is led by young American Jews, has spent the past four years organizing in the American Jewish community and opened this 501(c)4 in order to expose the occupation as a moral crisis within the American Jewish community, end the weaponization of antisemitism in the political debate over Israel, and create political space for leaders who will stand up for the freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians”.

The 501(c)4 is a specific form of organisation, which allows American non-profit organisations to engage in social welfare promotion. It further gives the organisation a tax-exemption and enables them to participate in the electoral process and influence politics. 

According to POLITICO, the group wants to raise US$100,000 in the first quarter of the fundraising campaign. 

However, IfNotNow has been attracting public attention even before their latest campaign. 

Past activities mainly addressed US government policies towards Palestine and pro-settlement Jewish organisations in the United States. 

Popular campaigns of the past focused on the Jewish Birthright trips, which are free ten-day trips to Israel for young US citizens with a Jewish heritage. With the hashtag #NotJustAFreeTrip, the organisation aims to include the Palestinian perspective of occupation and daily life in the tours. 

Besides that, members of the organisation walked off a Birthright trip and joined activists from 'Breaking the Silence to visit Hebron. 

Another prominent campaign addressed the one-sided educational aspect of the Jewish summer camps. These camps seek to strengthen Jewish education of young people. Nevertheless, they are widely known for ignoring or justifying the occupation. IfNotNow aims to redefine Jewish education in this campaign by raising public awareness and direct confrontation of Jewish institutions.




Lead image source: IfNotNow

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