A recent, but radical, forward looking, phenomena is the emergence of more civil society groups from among Jewish people in Israel and the USA who have mobilized and gathered to challenge Israel’s control of the West Bank. More recently, these groups are challenging the Trump administration and mobilizing Jewish organizations support to Israel. One of these is the group called “IfNotNow”. The group took birth in the summer of 2014 to organize young Jews against Israel’s war in Gaza. It is now an apparatus of activism steeped both in left-wing protest and Jewish tradition.
IfNotNow now is, perhaps, the question that must daunt civil society groups, peace messengers, and those who abhor war but do little other than wringing their hands in despair. IfNotNow is a call to act for justice at a time when some are acting boldly, taking the risks for justice and other important global institutions have chosen silence. The big and the famous among the global institutions have even succumbed to the threats of Israel by pretending they would rather be ‘interlocutors’ than take sides. Such organizations ought to bear in mind these wise words from Archbishop Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
IfNotNow is a notion we should hold on to because it is a reminder that if we blandly take in information about the oppression carried out by Israel, and do nothing to protest and resist, we are complicit in the criminal occupation. IfNotNow is an idea that asks us how we can stay silence while Israel sentences a 16 year old girl to 6 years in prison on mere suspicion of planning to stab. IfNotNow asks us to examine whether we agree with the judges notion of justice.
IfNotNow is an idea that must oblige us to boycott the occupation and demands that refugees retain the right to return to their lands. IfNotNow is a suggestion that obliges to reject settlements in every way possible by asking our governments to isolate Israel till it stops its illegal ways. IfNotNow is a question we must ask ourselves about the Separation Wall. IfNotNow, when will it be torn down, and dismantled?
We urge readers to view the news in this update to act and act- NOW.
Ranjan Solomon Commentator and analyst
Justice in Palestine