Editor’s note: Under normal circumstances, The Phoenix does not allow groups to publish letters as a collective and requires individuals to submit on groups’ behalf. The Phoenix has decided to make an exception to this policy on account of members of Jewish Voice for Peace being targeted online as individuals. We are a community newspaper and take our responsibility to protect community members very seriously. The Phoenix is completely unaffiliated with JVP and does not have a stance on the Sabra campaign.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) at Swarthmore College is in full support of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)’s campaign to end the sale of Sabra products on campus.
As outlined by SJP, Sabra is owned by the Strauss group, a corporation that sends funds to the Golani Brigade, a particularly violent arm of the brutal Israeli military. We are appalled that our institution, by buying Sabra products, funds the Golani Brigade and thus funds violations of Palestinians’ human rights.
As a Jewish organization committed to freedom, justice, and equality for all people, we are dedicated to ending our community’s complicity with the illegal Israeli occupation and to promoting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. The boycott, a time-honored tool, provides a powerful opportunity to take steps towards ending our College’s financial complicity in the occupation.
Alongside supporting the call to end the sale of Sabra products on campus, we wholeheartedly condemn the claims, coming from anonymous petitions and paid advertisements, that this campaign is antisemitic. These hasbara tactics are a clear attempt to intimidate activists into silence and to artificially influence the conversation on campus via digital astroturfing. There is nothing antisemitic about calling for our institution to stop funding extreme violence perpetrated by the state of Israel. We will not stand by while accusations of antisemitism are weaponized to attack a campaign advocating against violence. What is truly antisemitic is the assumption that calling out Israel’s violence is an attack on all Jews –– Israel does not speak for all Jews. When the Israeli army arrests children, demolishes homes, harrasses Palestinians, and violently upholds an illegal occupation, it certainly does not represent us or our Judaism. We are here to state, loudly and clearly: not in our name.
Jewish tradition teaches us to honor those who have resisted injustice and fought for freedom. In schools, in synagogues, at home, and with our friends and family, we are taught “tzedek tzedek tirdof” — justice, justice, you shall pursue. Jewish history also reminds us of the importance of principled resistance and action towards justice. It is from our understanding of these traditions and history that we feel compelled to support this campaign.
As Jews, as Swarthmore students, and as a group of individuals who care about human rights, we proudly join the call to end the sale of Sabra products on campus and encourage all who care about human rights to sign the petition as well: tinyurl.com/sabrasjp.