Dear friends,

We’re writing to you after a long day of action in Washington D.C., where we joined IfNotNow in shutting down the White House along with over 1,000 other Jews and allies. We came here to demand that President Biden, who is now on his way to Israel, and all of our elected officials implement a ceasefire and end the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

The past eight days have been an unbearable emotional burden for us as Jews, as well as our Arab, Muslim and Palestinian siblings. We are sitting with tremendous grief, exhaustion, anger and fear. We know true justice and liberation can only exist through solidarity. We know that our grief and our anger cannot be used to justify an escalation of violence against an entire people. We know that we cannot, with our Jewish values and ancestral histories, stand witness to a war being waged supposedly in OUR names, with OUR tax dollars. We know that our strength as a multi-racial, multi-generational, leftist Jewish community comes from our ability to take action together and say: Not In Our Name!

Over the course of the afternoon, we surrounded and successfully blocked every entrance to the White House. Over 30 people were arrested, including JFREJ members, but we stood strong. We sang Jewish songs while the Secret Service arrested organizers, and said the Mourner’s Kaddish while blocking intersections. We heard from a young, queer, Black organizer about Exodus’s telling of enslavement and liberation, and how this serves as an inspiration for liberation for all, including Palestinians in Gaza.

We made our message clear: we will not allow business as usual to continue while bombs rain down on Gaza. This moment demands urgent, disruptive action. We refuse to allow our bereavement to be used as a weapon against 2 million innocent Gazans who are now trapped without food, water, electricity, fuel, or medical supplies, as Israel ceaselessly attacks from air and ground.

This is the moment to stand up as a Jewish community and say no to genocide, no to ethnic cleansing, no to perpetual escalation and violence. Not in our names.

We made our message heard today, but the fight does not end here. JFREJ members will be attending Jewish Voice for Peace’s mass action in DC on Wednesday, daily power hours on zoom to call on our members of Congress to demand a ceasefire now, and more marches and rallies to come. In a moment of such pain and hopelessness, coming together in action has been truly uplifting. We hope you’ll join us.

Forever in solidarity,

Nikolai Mishler (he/him), Lilly Sandberg (she/her), and Hallie Chametzky (she/her)

JFREJ Members