Used strategically, nonviolence can lift oppression from an oppressive situation rather than lay blame or dictate the choosing of sides. We will use nonviolence to act on the side of dignity and equal rights over violence and dehumanization.
The Jewish tradition is rich with examples of nonviolent approaches to redistribute power and seek justice. Just as other traditions around the world draw from their heritage to engage in nonviolent resistance to oppression, so too do we look within our own tradition for inspiration, from Shifra and Puah’s noncooperation with Pharoah’s instruction to slay Hebrew baby boys to Honi the Circle Maker’s insistence that “he shall not be moved” until the rains fall from the sky.
“In many of my previous experiences with anti-Occupation activism, I have found my Jewish identity to be an obstacle to engaging fully with the work— a part of myself that I must either deny or reject to be taken seriously as an activist. As a participant in the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s week of action, this paradigm was reversed: rather than a hindrance, being Jewish functioned as the inspiration and the guiding principle for our work, making this one of the most empowering and positive Jewish experiences of my life.”
—Participant, Nonviolence in Action, October 2015
As Jews from around the world, we are implicated by the actions of the Israeli government when it claims to act in the name of all Jews. When our name and our religion is being used in ways that we disagree with and in ways that contradict international law, it is our responsibility to speak out.