We are IfNotNow Macalester. Welcome to the #JewishResistance. Next week begins the holiday of Passover, a celebration of Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt. During seders — ceremonial meals for the first two nights of the holiday — Jews and non-Jews around the world will come together and recount this story, discussing the importance of freedom and liberation for all people. Part of the ritual of this holiday is asking four questions that answer the overarching question of how and why this night is different from other nights. This year, we, as IfNotNow, are encouraging Jews across the nation to ask #The5thQuestion: will you talk about 50 years of occupation this Passover? The tradition of Passover is insignificant and hypocritical unless we address the current Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and resources.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, meaning that for the past 50 years, our community has supported the horrors of the occupation while celebrating our own liberation each Passover. This year, we need to discuss the fact that an entire generation of Palestinians has spent their whole lives under occupation—that living under occupation means a constant threat of violence, a denial of civil, political and economic rights, and support for the idea that Palestinians are less deserving of freedom and dignity than their Israeli neighbors. We need to talk about the Palestinian villages being demolished, the roads being blocked and the resources being withheld from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. We need to talk about how the occupation is a daily nightmare for those who live it and a moral disaster for anyone who supports and administers it. As IfNotNow, we believe that the celebration of Passover presents an important opportunity to address American Jewish support for the occupation.
On April 16, IfNotNow will begin a national campaign to count down the 50 days preceding June 5, the exact day that marks the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation. Throughout these 50 days, we will continue to ask American Jewish institutions to choose the side of freedom and dignity for all people, and take a stand against the occupation.
IfNotNow is a growing movement of American Jews working together to end American Jewish support for the occupation and advocate for freedom and dignity for all peoples. IfNotNow combines Jewish spirituality and tradition in order to create community and unite American Jews to work towards ending American Jewish support for the occupation. The movement has 10 chapters across the country and next fall, Macalester students Ari Jahiel ’19, Dani Bowen-Gerstein ’20, Ruby Elliott Zuckerman ’20 and Emma Greenberg-Bell ’19 will be starting a student org on campus as a branch of the newly formed IfNotNow Twin Cities hive. We are very excited to create this new community at Mac! If you’re interested in joining us, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us via our Macalester emails.
Language for this article is borrowed from IfNotNow #The5thQuestion Action Guide.