Photo Credit: Ofer Vaknin from Haaretz

Dear Friends,

I have watched the last week with horror. Ceasefire is here, and with it a chance to breathe and take stock of the wreckage. 11 days of fighting left 12 Israelis dead, including 2 children, and at least 248 Palestinians dead, including 67 children. I go numb to these numbers until I see a child pulled from the rubble that looks like my baby, and my throat catches, and I remember that “seeing no stranger” is hard labor, emotional labor. But once your eyes are open — you can never again explain away the deaths of children again, like I have heard people on both sides do this last week.

So let me say it loud and clear: I stand with the Palestinian people. I stand against the brutal occupation of Palestine and the ongoing subjugation, assaults, and killings of Palestinian people. With equal ferocity, I stand unequivocally against the ongoing antisemitic violence and persecution of Jews, past and present, including the vicious antisemitic assaults just this last week in the United States. All week, I have been mourning with Jewish friends who have family in Israel hiding in bomb shelters. And all week, I have been mourning with Palestinian friends whose family in Gaza have no shelters to hide in at all. My mourning transcends political agendas. Your mourning can too. The time has come to center the human cost of the conflict above all.

This is why I’m so inspired by the extraordinary marches on the ground right now: Israelis and Palestinians rising up for a shared future. They are declaring that they will no longer be victim to the right-wing ideologies that control their societies. The two groups leading the charge are called “Standing Together” and “Breaking the Silence.” They shift us from false “us and them” thinking to what it will take to build a shared future. This is a powerful example of shifting from the frame of resistance to REIMAGINE a shared future for all, as revolutionary love calls us to do. It is the stuff of lasting transformation. If enough of us stand with them.

My love, now is the time. It’s okay if you are afraid of speaking up. Anything worth doing requires bravery. It’s time for a critical mass of us to affirm the dignity and humanity of all, to mourn ALL who have been killed, and looking at last week, that means specifically taking into our hearts the children killed by Israel’s bombs and Hamas’ rockets, and say to their families — We see you. We wail with you. We will not look away. We insist on a world where you are safe and free. In your children’s memories, we will stand together and break the silence.

In love and solidarity,
Valarie


Support these efforts to help reimagine a shared future

#1 Donate to Standing Together. This is the grassroots people’s movement in Israel. Standing Together organizes Jews and Arabs, locally and nationally, around campaigns for peace, equality and social justice, in order to build power and transform Israeli society.

#2 Donate to Breaking the Silence. This organization of veteran soldiers of the Israeli military endeavors to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. They aim to bring an end to the occupation.