This past Wednesday there was a powerful action in front of the Israeli Consulate in Chicago: a Sukkot protest against the Israeli government’s Prawer Plan, which is currently poised to evict up to 40,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their homes in the Negev desert.
As you can see from the clip above, this action was organized by a community of young Chicago Jews inspired by the Sukkot festival’s message of shelter and salvation to stand in solidarity with Bedouin who are on the verge of devastating displacement. An inspiring example of spiritual activism at its finest – bravo to Young, Jewish Proud/Jewish Voice for Peace for spearheading this action in Chicago (as well as a simultaneous event in Boston!)
As I wrote last June, the Prawer Plan has already passed its first reading in the Knesset – and there are already disturbing indications that the plan has already begun to be implemented. If you live in the Midwest, please join us this Monday, September 30, for a collective “Call in to Stop Prawer!” (Details here.) And if you haven’t yet, please sign this Avaaz petition that urges Knesset members to follow their conscience “support a solution coordinated in cooperation with local residents instead of this discriminative bill.”
signed and shared.Very exciting news about your new trip.
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I understand if the time is best for the group, but Monday at the beginning of the work week is impossible. Coordinating with other groups at a more (non-work) time would draw more people.
Is it possible,even remotely,that with this Prawer plan Israel is trying to better the lives of their Bedouin citizens…I checked it out on wiki and it seems that the plan might have some fruitfull benefits…especially down the road,bringing the bedouins into the modern age….of course being in the modern age may not be what the bedouins want….that may be the problem
Yes, this is indeed the “problem.” The Prawer plan was completed without consultation of the local community, and is a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the Arab Bedouin citizens to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing, and freedom to choose their own residence.
Whether or not the Bedouin move into the “modern age,” this is for their community to decide. While some Arab Bedouin may indeed want to raise their families in cities, full and equal citizenship means having the choice to determine your own life.
It is also important to bear in mind that this plan was not initially motivated by a desire to “better the lives of Bedouin citizens.” It is driven by the desire of the Jewish National Fund to use this land for Jewish settlement: the $4 billion “Blueprint Negev” project that seeks to ensure this area has a majority Jewish population. The JNF’s plan includes economic development projects that seek to attract young Jewish Israelis and Jewish westerners to move to the Negev. Despite the centuries that Bedouin people have been living there, ethnic/religious identity alone is being used as a criteria for who has access to the land.
It’s likely you are right, hopefully there could be a way to accommodate both the rights of the bedouins and the Jewish development of the Negev..sadly it reminds me of what happened to the American Indian…maybe if one keeps the pressure on things will work out better for the bedouins then the apaches and the Navajos…..
“Jewish development” of the Negev is precisely the problem. A democracy does not parcel out land rights (or depopulate lands) based on the ethnicities of the inhabitants. That is institutional racism, pure and simple.
No Jewish development in the Negev? I have not heard of many Arab villages welcoming Jews to live amongst them anywhere in the middle east. So, in Israel as it is in most of the middle east Jews and Arabs don’t live together in the same villages.
This is not about “Jews and Arabs living together in the same villages.” It is about democracy and equal rights for all who live on the land, whether they are Jewish or not. If Israel will continue to grant land rights to Jews and deny them to non-Jews this reasonably casts doubt on its claim to be the “only democracy in the Middle East.”
Rabbi…do you believe that that all of the Negev, should be off limits to Jewish development,because of the itinerant movement of the Bedouin Arabs?…
No, I never said that the Negev should be off limits to Jews. I have written more than once now that I believe Jews and non-Jews should have equal access to the land and its resources.
This is turning into a spitting match – I’m going to end this comment thread here.