Rabbi David Mivasair, of Vancouver is speaking out in Canada after spending 2 weeks in Palestine with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. Over 100 diaspora Jews, mostly young Americans, were helping Palestinians defend their homes and lands against Jewish Israeli settlers and the Israeli military. Listen to CTIP’s 2 exclusive video interviews with Rabbi Mivasair.
Rabbi Mivasair is a member of the Reconstructionist branch of Judaism, and is well known in Canada for his attachment to a number of social justice causes, including human rights for Palestinians.
He recently spent 2 weeks in Palestine along with a large delegation of North American Jews organized by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. The group was there as a demonstration of the fact that not all Jews support the Israeli occupation or Israeli actions.
The group travelled to several hotspots in the region, including spending three days in direct hands-on solidarity with Palestinians struggling to defend their homes in the South Hebron Hills, in a tiny village called Sarura. (“not much more than a couple of huts“, he says).
“It’s remarkable that Fadel Umar and his family are still in their home and on their land at Sarura in the South Hebron Hills, now 19 days after they reclaimed it with a little help from their friends. The Israelis can come at any moment and bulldoze it all — but they’re staying away as long as the eyes of the world are watching“, says Rabbi Mivasair.
I spoke to him in Vancouver and asked him about his trip.
A number of the young Palestinians whom Rabbi Mivasair spoke to have also developed a Facebook page which Canadians can access to learn more about their struggle, and show their concern. If you can’t visit the West Bank yourself, Rabbi Mivasair encourages Canadians to check out (and like) the Facebook pages of some of the bright, young and dedicated Palestinian leaders he met like Eid Suleiman, Tariq Hathaleen, and Awdah al-Hathaleen.
Economic suffocation of the economy of the West Bank
Rabbi Mivasair also spoke about the myriad ways in which Israel appears to be trying to undermine the Palestinian economy in addition to pure theft of Palestinian land. This includes encouraging Christian tourists to stay in Israel (and not in Bethlehem) and to use Israeli (i.e. not Palestinian Christian) guides, and to buy souvenirs in Israel (not in the West Bank.) “We should think in a much broader way about how we can support Palestinian life and the Palestinian economy,” says Rabbi Mivasair.
He also encourages Canadians, especially Canadian Jews, to check out If Not Now, a relative new organization of progressive American Jews.
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