Over the past few weeks, we have been following with horror and heartbreak the suffering, loss of life, and destruction in Gaza. Along with our member-leadership and staff, I offer this message on behalf of our organization as an important step in raising our collective voice for justice and the liberation of all people.
PROTEC17 unequivocally condemns the genocide that has been happening in Gaza and other occupied territories since the Nakba of 1948. We call for an immediate cease fire and the delivery of crucial humanitarian aid to Gaza. We acknowledge that complacency is the same thing as inaction. In this light, we acknowledge our country’s part in this suffering and devastation now and for many years, and join others in demanding that the United States divest from weapon manufacturers arming Israeli troops.
As our mission states: PROTEC17 is committed to inspiring action, advancing equity and building community. This includes within our own workplaces, locally within the communities in which we live, and globally through our shared humanity. We acknowledge that these events impact all people, especially people within our union and communities that have personal connections to those living in this region. We deeply mourn lives lost. And we are grieving the unimaginable destruction and suffering of people – especially of children – that is the result of decisions that they did not make.
As PROTEC17 continues on our liberation journey, we are committed to standing in solidarity with oppressed communities. Our union is dedicated to continuing to push for racial, social, and economic justice – knowing that these are all connected. We stand firm in our stance against occupation, genocide, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and antisemitism. We are for the liberation and flourishing of all peoples and want to do our part to encourage peace.
Tragically, misinformation has led to the misconception that supporting the Jewish community equates to supporting violent Zionism and toxic nationalism at the expense of innocent lives. We stand in solidarity with Jewish Communities speaking out, “not in our name”. In the face of justice, we offer a quote from Stefanie Fox, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace:
“To point out Palestinian oppression is not, as so many commentators have alleged, to justify the unjustifiable killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas. It is simply another way of asking that we treat Palestinians with the empathy and decency that we ourselves long for, and to actually take the steps necessary to ensure the only real and lasting peace—the kind that will come with Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality.”
There are efforts circulating to reach out to our congressional representatives in support of a ceasefire and safe access to resources and aid. I invite you to join us in doing your part to engage with resources and actions, some of which are listed below. As we do in the Labor Movement, I encourage you to use your voice to call for justice and peace.
In compassion and solidarity,
Karen Estevenin, PROTEC17 Executive Director
Understanding the War in Gaza – Educational Resources
The Zinn Education Project: https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/violence-in-israel-and-gaza/
Project48 – Understanding the Nakba: https://project48.com/
The United Nations: https://www.un.org/unispal/history/
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) – Israel-Palestine as a Local Issue: https://www.jfrej.org/israel-palestine
Jewish Voice for Peace: Jewish Grief Must Not Be Used as a Weapon of War: https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/2023/10/grief-weapon/
Aljazeera – ‘Not in my name’: The European Jews condemning Israel’s war on Gaza: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/10/23/not-in-my-name-the-european-jews-condemning-israels-war-on-gaza
Israel-Hamas war: Palestinian ambassador to the UK refuses to condemn attacks (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8TGW10jkCM
Ways to Take Action and Show Your Support:
- Donate to civilian and medical aid via Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
- Donate to emergency medical aid in Gaza via Palestinian American Medical Association (PAMA)
- Donate to Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
- Donate to World Central Kitchen, which is delivering food aid to the region
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) action alert: contact your representatives to support the Ceasefire Now Resolution
- Comment Line for the White House (202) 456-1111
- Sample message: “I am asking for an immediate ceasefire, unconditional restoration of water, electricity and fuel to Gaza civilians, safe access to humanitarian aid, and a just political two state solution that is the root of this conflict.”