GUEST ROOM | An Open Invitation to Jewish Students

We write as members of Jewish Voice for Peace at Cornell. We are a group of students from different Jewish backgrounds, faiths and experiences who believe that above all, our Judaism implores us to stand up for the freedom of all people. Our Judaism compels us to recognize the ongoing genocide of Palestinians by the Israeli state and to fight against the cycles of violence that continue to cause mass suffering, displacement and death. We specifically refute the notion that Jews require a militarized theocracy to ensure our safety and ability to flourish. We condemn in the strongest terms the suffocation, occupation and murder of the Palestinian people in the name of Judaism.  

We write this to make it clear that Jews at Cornell, as everywhere, are not a monolith. We write this to Jewish Cornellians who may feel confused, divided or afraid to question Zionism. We understand because many of us grew up in families and congregations that espoused the ideals of Zionism without regard to its violent actualization. The process of questioning and unlearning is difficult, but it is essential. Questioning our beliefs, our values and our systems is at the very heart of Judaism, as we are regularly reminded during the Passover celebration we will commemorate next month. We write to Jewish students, urging you to ask questions and offer dissent; There is a community and a movement for you.

President Biden, among others, has stated that Jews would not be safe without Israel. We refute this idea in the strongest terms: we should be safe anywhere we live. Our freedom is not conditional on a state built on oppression and militarism. Jews have loved,struggled,fought and made homes all over the world, long before the notion of Zionism ever existed.  We are safe in the understanding that none of us are free until all of us are free. We are safe in our built communities, shared traditions and commitment to liberation. Furthermore, there is little evidence that Jews living in Israel are safer than Jews elsewhere, as we are regularly reminded that a people cannot build security on the oppression of others.