Written by Gabriel Matthew Schivone Gabriel Matthew Schivone
Published: 26 June 2011 26 June 2011
A moment before boarding the next flotilla
I’d rather use my influence and power, in concert with other members of American civil society, to actively and nonviolently resist policies I consider abominable.
You might wonder what would motivate a Jewish American college student to participate in what may be the most celebrated - and controversial - sea voyage of the 21st century, one that aims to nonviolently challenge U.S.-supported Israeli military power in the occupied territories. I simply cannot sit idle while my country aids and abets Israel's siege, occupation and repression of the Palestinians. I would rather use my personal influence and power, in concert with other members of American civil society, to actively and nonviolently resist policies that I consider abominable. So, next week, I and more than 30 other American civilians will be sailing on the U.S. ship the Audacity of Hope, to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
I am one of a growing number of young American Jews who are determined to shake off an assumed - and largely imposed - association with Israel. Prominent advocacy organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee, which proudly proclaim their unconditional support of Israel, for several years have been declaring their "serious concern" over the increasing "distancing" of young American Jews from the state.
But what Israel apologists like the AJC view as a crisis, I see as a positive development for American Jews, who, like other parts of U.S. society, are shifting from blind support for Israel to a more critical position that reflects opposition to our country's backing for Israel's policies.
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