Yesterday the Instagram account of Jewish Voice for Peace Detroit was banned from the platform. This act of censorship must be denounced as another attack on the democratic rights of pro-Palestinian activists.
JVP Detroit has played an outspoken anti-Zionist Jewish leadership role before and since the recent bombings in Gaza. The group openly denounces the current Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) offensive as genocide. JVP Detroit’s Instagram account was deplatformed the day before a rally at the federal building in Detroit, which they are leading in conjunction with Palestinian, Jewish, and other social justice groups to demand an immediate ceasefire. This rally follows a mobilization last week organized by an ad hoc group of self-organized anti-Zionist Jews including JVP Detroit. The event made waves for demonstrating that anti-Zionist Jews exist and are willing to take militant action against the State of Israel’s apartheid regime and genocide against Palestinians.
For years JVP Detroit has been mobilizing in partnership with Palestinian organizations, anti-Zionist Jews, and other social justice groups in the city to fight for peace and equality for Palestinians and Jews. JVP is known for denouncing Israel’s settler-colonial occupation of Palestine and Zionism. For years they have held study groups and actions. This Spring they held a panel in an upscale Jewish suburb of Detroit with Jews and Palestinian community leaders that came under controversy for its message of community solidarity, “Speaking out for Palestinian Rights is not anti-Semitic!” Throughout the summer, JVP Detroit’s social media accounts reported on and denounced the increasing violence against Palestinians perpetrated by settlers and the IDF in Gaza and the West Bank.
Defending against censorship of anti-Zionist Jews is especially important because their existence proves that the Israeli state’s oppression of Palestinians is not aligned with historic Jewish values and will not be tolerated by a significant segment of Jewish Americans. The ideological argument that a Zionist state is good for Jews becomes much weaker if they cannot unequivocally equate Zionism and Judaism. The existence of anti-Zionist Jews threatens the narrative that a Jewish state is the answer to antisemitism, and that the brutal colonization of Palestine is tolerable. Anti-Zionist Jews have a storied history and are not a new phenomenon, but they have often been drowned out of popular narratives to legitimize Zionism. We must fight any censorship against pro-Palestinian solidarity.
We must stand with JVP Detroit in demanding an end to Israeli military intervention and genocide in Gaza, and in declaring that an ethno-state is not the answer to liberation, for any of us. To make Palestinian freedom real, we must build on a fighting program to unite the interests of the Jewish, Palestinian, and international working class, whose combined power is needed to overthrow capitalism and the systems of oppression it imposes.