Israel-Palestine have been a subject of debate within JFREJ for over thirty years. We’ve periodically revisited our approach, and there have been moments when we’ve engaged more and moments when we’ve engaged less. At this moment in history, given conditions on the ground and given the ways in which our allies are approaching Palestine, we believe it is time for another community-wide discussion. Over the summer of 2021, we began surveying our membership on the subject in order to open up space for this discussion. After collecting responses, we hired an expert to begin analyzing the data. In 2022, we’ll use the results to shape a process of learning and discussion with our allies and our full membership all about Israel-Palestine and Jewish Left organizing in the diaspora. Stay tuned via our website for updates! If you have any questions or suggestions for our approach, you can email

The last time we wrestled with Israel-Palestine as a full membership was in 2015. In 2015, our membership reaffirmed that JFREJ organizes locally while orienting internationally. We are part of a broader global movement that calls this orientation grassroots internationalism — an orientation that requires mutual solidarity, forged over time between frontline communities around the world who are suffering from the impacts of oppressive global systems. On this issue, that means we support local efforts led by our partners for Palestinian rights and freedom, and against Israeli apartheid, occupation, displacement, annexation, aggression, and ongoing assaults on Palestinians.

Israel-Palestine can play a role in local politics, and we are especially called to respond to instances when they have an unjust impact here in our own city: our representatives from the City Council to Congress often accept free or heavily subsidized trips to Israel that promote a one-sided and often militarist perspective; our theaters and art galleries cancel presentations by Palestinian artists when they are pressured by the right-wing pro-Israel lobby and activists aligned with it; our mayors make appearances at AIPAC conferences and recite their talking points. These are local matters and JFREJ recognizes — and acts on — them as such.

We are connected to what happens in Israel-Palestine. We are connected as a Jewish organization, and an organization in the United States. At JFREJ we focus our efforts on pursuing racial and economic justice locally — and we know that the U.S. government provides more than $3 billion in annual aid to the State of Israel. We are connected as a community with members who have lived there, loved there, put down roots there, protested there, and have friends and family there. We know that these memories and connections carry love, grief, and sometimes rage. What do these connections mean and require of us as a local Jewish organization with an internationalist orientation and commitment? That’s the question we are currently asking all 6,000 JFREJ members, whose opinions and feelings on Israel and Palestine — and how JFREJ engages on the subject — we are currently in the process of surveying.

We hope this information-gathering process will help us identify areas of alignment and dissension, what positions and relationships our members already hold, and get a sense of what folks want to learn more about. We will use the results to create our 2022 plan of learning and discussion for our membership.

Update: May 25, 2022

We are deeply appreciative that hundreds of JFREJ members took the time to fill out the survey and shared with us their thoughts, fears, and hopes about the organization’s approach to Israel-Palestine.

We hired a data expert to analyze the responses. A full report is forthcoming, and JFREJ members in good standing are invited to join us on Thursday, July 7th, for a briefing on the survey results. We also formed a JFREJ Israel-Palestine team of members, which developed a proposal for a series of trainings and political education to be offered to the full membership.

The JFREJ board and staff recruited the following members to serve on our Israel-Palestine team based on their leadership on the subject. We wanted a team comprised of JFREJ members with a high level of commitment to and understanding of JFREJ’s political project; an ability to think strategically in the service of JFREJ’s vision and long-term goals; capacity to hold this project in a consistent and ongoing way; some combination of the skills we need, such as writing, editing, strategy, pedagogy, organizing, and facilitation; and familiarity with Israel-Palestine politics and the Palestine solidarity movement.

JFREJ Israel-Palestine Team:

  • Shirly Bahar (JFREJ Mizrahi & Sephardi Caucus, JVP-NYC)

  • Susannah Dyen (JFREJ Facilitation Team)

  • Carinne Luck (Diaspora Alliance, IfNotNow)

  • Sarah Meister (JFREJ Welcome & Care Team, JVP-NYC)

  • Mik Moore (The Jewish Vote Steering Committee, Americans for Peace Now)

  • Emma Saltzberg (The Jewish Vote Field Team, DSA-NYC)

  • Alisa Solomon (JFREJ Community Board of Directors, founding member of JFREJ)

  • Simone Zimmerman (JFREJ Action Board of Directors, IfNotNow)

This team is gearing up to hold a series of trainings and political education sessions open to neighborhood groups, caucuses, campaign teams, allies, and our full membership. We will offer members opportunities to learn from and discuss with Palestinian, Jewish, and Israeli scholars, organizers, and community leaders in New York and beyond. Stay tuned.