There is certainly no disputing that 2021 has been another challenging year. Just as we thought we were coming out of the pandemic, the Delta variant hit and everyone had to regroup. Despite these challenges, Ameinu continues to focus on the issues central to our agenda.
The Israel and Palestine trip we’d hoped to have in the summer, for example, was clearly not in the cards. So we did the next best thing. We visited virtually. Knowing that our members were suffering from Zoom fatigue, we moved beyond ‘talking heads’ on the screen. We toured the West Bank with Peace Now, visited Dror Israel social activists in the north, learned about the Mizrachi experience in Israel and concluded our journey with System Ali, the Jaffa based Jewish-Arab hip hop group. The responses from participants have been uniformly positive – calling the trip an “excellent concept” and the content “riveting.” While we hope to travel to Israel together soon, we continue seeking opportunities to share more such experiences with our members.
Ameinu’s nuanced progressive Zionist voice has had ample opportunities for advocacy during this tumultuous year. Our engagement with the new Israeli government reflects our approach.
We congratulate this unexpected coalition, and have called on them to lead “Israel out of the toxic Netanyahu era and restore a sense of a shared society to all citizens of Israel.” The recent classification of six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organizations” by Defense Minister Benny Gantz has caused us to express distress and ask to see proof. Outside the public eye, we’re meeting with multiple government ministers and members of Knesset in an effort to influence policy and budgets.
However, our primary audience for statements and other types of advocacy is the American Jewish community. In response to one statement, a rabbi responded, “I appreciate reading what Ameinu has to say about various political issues. It means a great deal to me, especially at a time when too many Jews are drifting to the right.” That is only one example of the encouragement we hear regularly from leaders in the mainstream Jewish community. And that is why it is critically important we utilize our role in various settings where we have a seat at the communal table – Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, American Zionist Movement, Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization.
As we begin planning for 2022, we are focused on engaging the left – expanding the work we do through The Third Narrative. Launched in 2012, this initiative has produced materials downloaded in 22 countries and is used in a wide variety of settings: synagogues, churches, mosques, campuses, advocacy groups and more. One particular area of focus is engaging with academic associations to oppose academic boycotts of Israel through the Alliance for Academic Freedom. This organization is led by a group of 200+ liberal academicians formed under The Third Narrative umbrella. We have been witnessing troubling developments in American progressive politics recently and endeavor to address these issues going forward.
Our end of year campaign is crucial to expanding these Third Narrative efforts while we continue our current educational and advocacy work. Your contribution now will enable us to hit the ground running in 2022.
We appreciate that this has been a difficult year for many and truly thank you in advance for your gift.
P.S. Please donate now and fund our nuanced outreach to American progressives.
You can also send a check to: Ameinu, 17 State St. Suite 4000, New York, NY 10004