Welcome, summer fellows!

JVP Triangle-NC is so proud to host two amazing student fellows this summer. Meet Noah Byck Mlyn and Davia Young, who will be working on projects for our chapter and BDS coalition throughout the summer:

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My name is Noah Byck Mlyn and I just finished my first year at Vassar College and will be transferring to Brown University in the Spring after a semester off. I was fortunate to be a part of a vibrant Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Vassar as well as a new, quickly growing JVP chapter. We successfully passed a BDS resolution in our student association which was unfortunately overturned by referendum. Vassar is generally a very progressive campus, and getting the chance to work with members of student government who were excited to learn about opportunities for solidarity and resistance was inspiring. A challenge we encountered, and what eventually led to the resolution’s failure in a school-wide referendum, was the emphasis by students and administrators on “dialogue” in place of real political action..

I am excited to be working together with Davia Young in Durham, NC this summer where we will be working on a BDS resolution to be presented to the city council as well as various smaller projects focusing on chapter membership retention and publicity. We are also helping to organize the monthly chapter meetings centered around a specific topic relevant to our movement. Aside from my activism, I am also a college debater and an actor.

 

 

1918192_10205554402763051_2527695920152996863_nMy name is Davia Young, I live in Durham, North Carolina and go to school at Guilford College. I major in Community and Justice Studies and minor in Environmental Studies and Women, Gender, Sexualities Studies. I just spent a semester in Morocco studying Arabic and human rights/multiculturalism, and am going to spend this summer working with the North Carolina Triangle Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace with Noah Byck Mlyn. Our main project with the Triangle JVP is to draft a BDS resolution to be presented at the Durham City Council, as well as smaller projects like promotional material and membership retention.

I was really involved in my Jewish youth group and community in high school but never really felt like I connected with people on Israel/Palestine politics, and my sophomore year of college I got to spend a month in Israel/Palestine where I had a radical awakening when I realized there was an entire discourse that I was not exposed to as an American or as a Jew, and that being Jewish did not have to mean being Zionist. After a long personal journey I felt it important to continue the fight for Palestinian freedom and against the Israeli occupation within the Jewish community, which led me to JVP.

My school is quite small but we have an active SJP and after a long process for Open Hillel now have a Jewish group called Chavurah, but no JVP chapter yet. Along with my other work, I am the president of the Ultimate Frisbee team, DJ at my college radio station, and am the president of Guilford Peace Society, a club that organizes around local and national social justice issues.

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JVP-Triangle Statement in Solidarity with Muslim community in Raeford, NC

Jewish Voice for Peace-Triangle NC expresses our deep concern about the recent attacks on Masjid Al Madina in Raeford, NC.  This past Thursday, bacon was left outside the back entrance to the mosque; a white man with three loaded handguns and additional ammunition in his vehicle threatened to kill members of the mosque, including children gathered there. He then moved to run over people going to evening prayer services.

We know that these attacks are not isolated incidents — this fall, the new Mosque in Burlington received online threats from a local white supremacist group.  We also know that this attack did not come out of nowhere — it was precipitated by an anti-Muslim speaker hosted in Pinehurst just a few weeks ago, and occurs in the context of both ongoing racist and Islamophobic rhetoric in the presidential and local elections and a U.S. foreign policy that devalues Muslim lives.  We must speak out to challenge hateful rhetoric, because it is clear that it incites physical violence against Muslim people across the state, nation, and globe.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Muslim communities in Raeford and Fayetteville, as you celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.  We are in solidarity with you, and will show up to support you however we can — and we call on our communities to do the same.

As we finalize this statement, we are learning of the horrific shooting in Orlando, FL and are distressed both by this attack on LGBTQ communities of color, and by subsequent news coverage demonizing Muslims.  We are grateful to those eloquently offering analysis in this time of grief — including the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) and JVP’s National Network Against Islamophobia.  We join in MASGD’s call to “resist the forces of division and hatred.”

We are grateful to be fighting Islamophobia as a member of the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI), and we hope that our collective efforts, together, will lead to real safety and freedom here in NC and around the globe — for Muslims, Black people, immigrants, people of Color, indigenous people, Jews, LGBTQ people, and all people.

Action Alert! Chapel Hill, Don’t host Israeli Apartheid!

We found out a few days ago that the Town of Chapel Hill is hosting an official delegation from Israel — 4 members of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) — on Monday afternoon.

This delegation is part of an exchange program run by the US State Department, in collaboration with the Raleigh-based nonprofit organization International Focus. The delegation will be touring around the US for three weeks, and the Chapel Hill Mayor has agreed to host them from 1-4pm, and invited members of the Town Council and Orange County Commissioners to participate in an exchange about “Building Legislative Capacity.”

Do we really want an apartheid state to build its legislative capacity? No! Many of us in the Triangle, including the Town of Chapel Hill itself, are horrified by NC HB2 and the legalized discrimination that it promotes against workers, transgender people, LGBQ people, Black people, immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, women, and poor people.  The legislation that the Knesset passes is far worse than HB2 in its codification of discrimination against the Palestinian people.

Tell the Town of Chapel Hill, DO NOT support Israeli Apartheid!

The Town of Chapel Hill’s participation in this visit normalizes the Occupation by acting as if the Israeli government is a value-neutral or even progressive government — which erases the violence that the State of Israel commits against Palestinians every day. Israel denies Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza access to water, roads, and even their own farmland. Israel has demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian homes. Since 1948, the Knesset and other government bodies have passed over 50 laws discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel.(1) Only 1 in 7 Palestinians can vote in Israeli elections.(2) This is not democracy, and it will not be democracy until the occupation is over, Palestinians have full rights as citizens, and Palestinian refugees have the right to return according to international law. By hosting this delegation, the Town of Chapel Hill is exchanging information that will help the State of Israel continue and strengthen these racist practices and policies.

Let’s stop this from happening! Take action!

  1. Today, call the Chapel Hill Mayor, Pam Hemminger and tell her: Cancel the delegation!

Mayor’s Office: 919-968-2714

You can say something like: “My name is ______ and I am a Chapel Hill/Orange County/Triangle resident. I am calling to ask you to cancel your meetings with the International Visitors’ Leadership Program delegation from Israel.  By hosting this delegation, you send a message that the town of Chapel Hill supports Israel’s well-documented, unjust, and racist human rights abuses as well as its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The Occupation is brutal, and intent on removing any path to safety or peace. I do not want my elected representatives legitimizing the Occupation!”

  1. Email the Chapel Hill Mayor & Town Council and tell them to cancel the delegation!

Email: mayorandcouncil@townofchapelhill.org and it will go to the entire group.

Talking points:

  • I do not want my local elected representatives legitimizing the Occupation!  Israel uses delegations like this to normalize itself and to hide its egregious attacks on Palestinians.
  • By hosting this delegation, you send a message that the town of Chapel Hill supports Israel’s well-documented and unjust human rights abuses as well as its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The Occupation is brutal, and intent on removing any path to safety or peace.
  • By hosting this delegation, the Town of Chapel Hill is unintentionally exchanging information that will help the State of Israel continue and strengthen its racist practices and policies.
  • This visit is in direct violation of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. To host this delegation while there is a call to boycott is to stand on the wrong side of human rights!

 

  1. If the delegation is not cancelled, join our allies from AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East) on Monday as they leaflet at the delegation events. Bring signs!  

*If you can join AIME for these events, please RSVP to Miriam Thompson.

12:30-3:00pm — meet at entrance behind the Town Hall (405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514)

3:00pm-4:00pm — meet at the gate of the NC Botanical Garden (100 Old Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27517)

 

Please, after you contact the Mayor and Council, email us at trianglenc@jewishvoiceforpeace.org to let us know that you did, and any response you receive!

We cannot be silent when our local governments play host to Israeli Apartheid.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Chanukah action against Islamophobia

 

MEDIA ADVISORY:

Jews Gather in Durham on Chanukah to Challenge Islamophobia and Fight Against Racism

WHAT: Jews protesting Islamophobia and racism will gather holding nine signs listing commitments to fighting injustice in the shape of a Chanukah menorah. Activists will call attention to Governor Pat McCrory’s anti-refugee and anti-immigrant stance and to also inmate abuse at the Durham County Jail.

For 8 nights, Jews in different cities, including New York City, Miami, Chicago, Washington, DC, New Haven, Portland (Oregon), Durham, Columbus, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Springfield, Ithaca, and Denver will be holding up these signs and reading aloud each commitment in a public space.

WHO: Initiated by Jews Against Islamophobia in NYC (a coalition of Jewish Voice for Peace NY and Jews Say No!) with the Network Against Islamophobia, a project of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national membership organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people; together with JVP chapters across the country

WHEN: December 11 at 5:15PM

WHERE: CCB Plaza / the Bull in Durham

WHY: As Jews, we believe that challenging Islamophobia and fighting against racism are part of our obligation within our communities and as partners in the broader struggle for justice and dignity for all peoples. Our commitments include: 1. We will not be silent about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes; 2. We condemn state surveillance of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities; 3. We challenge, through our words and actions, institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-Black violence; 4.  We protest the use of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism to justify Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians; 5. We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling in all its forms; 6. We call for an end to racist policing #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter; 7. We stand against U.S. policies driven by the ‘war on terror” that demonize Islam and devalue, target, and kill Muslims; and 8. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong for immigrants’ rights and refugee rights.

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Activists holding signs in the shape of a menorah, each sign with a different statement; life-sized effigy of Governor McCrory; lighting Chanukah candles; marching to the Durham County Jail

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Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC chapter is part of a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jvp.org) has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Rally Friday in support of Palestinian resistance, #BlackLivesMatter

Contact: Sandra Korn

skornkob@gmail.com

Rally Friday in support of Palestinian resistance, #BlackLivesMatter  
Over 100 expected at march beginning 5PM at Durham Central Park

Durham, NC — As the violence of the Israeli occupation claims more and more lives, protesters will gather at Durham Central Park 5PM on Friday October 30 in solidarity with Palestine. The action will feature banners, speakers, and a march to the Durham County Jail.

Organized by a coalition of local community organizations, the rally will draw parallels between Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing, and the violence against and displacement of people of color in the U.S.

The co-sponsoring organizations are Black Workers for Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC Chapter, Muslims for Social Justice, and Workers World Party Durham Branch.

“I demand the liberation of my people,” said Zaina Alsous. “As a Palestinian living in diaspora, I stand in solidarity with the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ Uprising. I want an end to occupation, racist violence, and displacement, at home and abroad. None of us are free until all of us are free.”

“As a member of Muslims for Social Justice, I see a connection between anti-Islamophobia and anti-colonial movements, the black liberation movement, and other international progressive movements,” said Manzoor Cheema. “Palestinian liberation and black liberation are deeply interconnected.”

Since October 1, over 50 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded in acts of aggression by Israeli settlers and military officials in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Earlier this month, thousands of Palestinians protested in refugee camps and at military checkpoints on a “Day of Rage” in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinian citizens of Israel simultaneously took to the streets for a general strike, closing businesses and schools across the country.

“The United States spends billions of dollars funding Israeli occupation and the genocide of the Palestinian people, while equally denying poor, predominantly black and brown communities basic access to living wages, healthcare and adequate housing,” said Laila Nur. “The Palestinian struggle against imperialism and violent racism is the struggle of the indigenous American, the African American, and many other oppressed peoples.”

“Israel continues to paint itself as a safe haven for Jewish people, who have historically faced persecution,” said Jade Brooks. “However, in reality Israel today operates as a white supremacist settler colony. As a member of Durham’s Jewish community, I oppose the Israeli occupation and ongoing violence.”

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Black Workers for Justice is an organization of Black workers organizing to build the African American workers’ movement as a central force in the struggle for Black Liberation and Worker’s Power.

Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC is a chapter of a national membership organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel and Palestine.

Muslims for Social Justice is a North Carolina based organization dedicated to Human Rights and Social Justice for all.
Workers World Party is a revolutionary socialist organization with branches throughout the U.S., including in Durham, NC.

Jews: show up for justice and resist racism from North Carolina to Palestine!

The recent escalation of racist violence in the US and in Israel is alarming, heart-breaking, and unacceptable. We mourn those we have lost, and we are full of anger and committed to challenging racism in all its forms. In the past few weeks, 47 Palestinians have been killed and over 1,400 injured by racist violence. The death toll in Israel and occupied Palestine continues to rise. The Israeli occupation of Palestine, resistance to it, and resulting violence have also claimed the lives of 9 Israelis and 1 Eritrean asylum-seeker in the past few weeks.

Here in North Carolina, there have been numerous bold racist and anti-Muslim actions over the past year. This Sunday’s neo-confederate rally in Chapel Hill is part of this alarming trend. The neo-confederate movement is white supremacist, anti-Muslim, anti-Black, and anti-Jewish. The same people rallying to defend confederate memorials such as Silent Sam on UNC’s campus have opposed the US welcoming Syrian refugees. This is in the face of a refugee crisis — millions of Syrian people, tens of thousands of whom are Palestinian refugeesnow experiencing double displacement, are living without stability or safety. This is due to destabilization of the Middle East for which US imperialism and neocolonialism are deeply implicated.

We know that there can be neither justice nor peace in the Middle East or in North Carolina when the dominant narrative is that Black, Muslim, and Arab people are subhuman, predisposed to violence, and labelled “thugs” or “terrorists.” This prejudice and systemic violence takes many forms, and we see it across the political spectrum in the US and Israel.  Sunday’s demonstration is all the more upsetting because it aligns with state and federal policies that institutionalize Islamophobia and racism, blaming and targeting Muslims, immigrants, and Black people.

There are numerous parallels between the historic and present-day treatment of people of color, particularly indigenous and Black people, in the US and the treatment of Palestinians and Jews of color in Israel and occupied Palestine.  In both cases, state violence and vigilante violence go unchecked.  Increased Israeli violence against Palestinians is both a continuation of the occupation and a backlash against Palestinian resistance to that ongoing occupation.  Here in the US, the neo-confederate movement’s growth is both a continuation of a long history of white supremacy, and a backlash against the #BlackLivesMatter movement’s resistance to white supremacy.

As Jews in the South, many of whom were raised here, we know that we have historically been a target of white supremacist violence. We are not fooled – as Jews who are critical of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, we know that the US Right’s support for the state of Israel has nothing to do with our safety, let alone that of anyone else.  The well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians depends on ending the occupation and all oppression of Palestinians; US white supremacists still hate Jews; and, as Fannie Lou Hamer and Emma Lazarus have poignantly said, none of us is free until all of us are free.  In this moment, the white supremacist Right specifically targets Black people, immigrants, and people who appear Muslim or Arab. Those of us with privilege must stand in solidarity.  JVP-Triangle NC joins those who gather to fearlessly speak and share the real history of the South: slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, white power; and the enduring resilience and resistance of people of color demanding dignity and justice.

JVP-Triangle NC demands safety and justice for Syrian and Palestinian refugees. The Mayor of Chapel Hill, Mark Kleinschmidt, signed an important letter welcoming Syrian refugees to make homes and new lives here in North Carolina. We stand against the anti-Muslim bigotry responsible for backlash against refugee resettlement, while acknowledging our government’s role in the root causes of displacement.

We stand for safety and dignity for Palestinians and an end to the occupation.  We stand with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We stand with UNC students of color resisting the invasion of their campus and seeking historical accuracy. We call for UNC Chancellor Folt to speak out against white supremacy and protect UNC students from racist violence. We call on our Jewish communities to show up to challenge anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, and anti-Black bigotry in all its forms. In doing so, we honor our Southern heritage of organizing in multiracial movements for dignity and justice for all people.

This weekend and always, we recommit to the struggle for justice and love alongside Palestinians; Black people; Muslims; refugees; immigrants; students; and all who would be free. We will put our bodies in the streets, and speak out together, “with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might.” Will you join us?