Sacramento Jewish Voice for Peace Supports a Cease-Fire

by Molly Chlebnikow

I am a member of Sacramento Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish-led organization that includes descendants of Holocaust survivors, people with family in Israel, multi-ethnic Jews, Jews active in the Sacramento Jewish community, secular Jews, and many allies. We are here as Jewish people to say we stand with Palestinians. We must do everything we can to stop the genocide that Israel is committing against the people of Gaza and to uplift the urgent need to end violence, apartheid, and occupation in Palestine.

On February 6th, a group of us attended the Sacramento City Council meeting, along with at least 100 other members of the public, to speak in support of Councilmembers’ Vang and Valenzuela’s resolution for a permanent cease-fire and unrestricted humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Mayor Steinberg continues to generalize that the entire Jewish community does not support a cease-fire. We write as testament that this is simply not true. This premise continues to pit Muslims and Jews against one another and to paint those of us in support of Palestine as antisemitic. Yet it is because of our Jewish values we know to stand in solidarity with those being harmed and oppressed. The threat to a free and liberated Palestine is Israel and Zionism, not Judaism.

Israeli forces have murdered almost 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza, and hundreds of thousands more will die from starvation and disease in the absence of a cease-fire and a major mobilization of humanitarian aid.

Across the U.S. and here in Sacramento, a growing number of Jews are demanding a cease-fire to end the immediate violence, and increasingly, are standing in solidarity with Palestinian’s fight for self-determination, understanding that our futures are interconnected and our liberation is tied together. Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist Jewish-led organization, is now active in over 80 cities in the United States with a base of over 700,000 supporters. In Sacramento, the chapter has quadrupled in size in the past few months.

We urge the mayor and City Council to recognize that support for a cease-fire comes also from their constituents who are experiencing the profound pain of losing relatives in Gaza and fearing for the lives of loved ones each day that the killing goes on.

Considering here in Sacramento we are living on stolen land, it is imperative to call for a cease-fire. We need for our elected leaders to stop blocking change and to stop conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Zionism is steeped in a culture of white supremacy and Israel is a settler-colonial project. Both need to be rejected for a different way of collectively coexisting to come forth. We must find ways to address and repair the impact of settler- colonialism, here locally and abroad.

We are actively changing what it means to be Jewish in the U.S. We are in solidarity with Palestinians, understanding our healing processes are interconnected, and Palestinians are the ones to determine what a free Palestine means. Our liberation is tied together. None of us are free until all of us are free.

Molly Chlebnikow, member of Jewish Voice for Peace in Sacramento

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