Letter to Louis August Jonas Foundation in support of your Palestinian Camp Rising Sun alumni


August 2018

To the Louis August Jonas Foundation and Camp Rising Sun alumni,

We are citizens of Israel, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people [1]. We have learned from friends, who are of your Camp Rising Sun alumni, about your upcoming world reunion to be held in Neve Shalom in September 2018. We write to you to ask that you cancel this reunion as an organisation and we call on all international and local alumni not to attend this event.

It is because CRS betray your own goals of "fostering an appreciation of both diversity and our common humanity" [2], that we feel the need to support our Palestinian friends, whom you have failed, by fostering racism within your community.

We understand the seriousness of our assertion, so let us be clear in our reasoning:

The fact that your own alumni felt the need for extra-community support is in and of itself evidence of your failure to meet their needs and concerns. The fact that these alumni are of a particular ethno-racial class, with a colonised indigenous history and present, is evidence of a disturbing "colour-blindness" on your part.

It is further disturbing that your reunion page [3], authored by your Israeli alumni, doesn't mention indigenous Palestinians at all, and chooses instead to only mention Israel and indulge only in Jewish tradition, such as Shabbat dinner. This is just one way in which the reunion taking place on indigenous land, purporting to support "both narratives" of colonised and coloniser and celebrate their culture, in fact, ignores and erases Palestinians.

Israeli Alumni Association of Camp Rising Sun led by Avi Blecherman and Klil Karmon have ignored the calls of Palestinian and Arab Alumni who have expressed great concerns in hosting this event. They have also engaged in cultural appropriation by using a symbol of Palestinian steadfastness and right of return, the cactus, as the logo of the event.

Another fact brought to our attention was that no serious consideration was made of suggestions of Palestinian alumni in the West Bank to relocate the reunion, thus making it more accessible. This alone exhibits a disregard of the discrimination against your members. Your insistence on going ahead with the reunion as planned empowers your privileged Israeli members to imagine co-existence where apartheid is to be found, and disempowers the victims of apartheid.

We would expect the camp and it's Alumni, including the Israeli alumni, in the spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood that the camp purports, to represent and support their Palestinian fellow campers in their nonviolent struggle to have their basic human rights respected.

If the Louis August Jonas Foundation and Camp Rising Sun alumni, continue on their course of ignoring indigenous voices and normalising Apartheid they are placing themselves on the wrong side of history.


Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from Within

[1] http://boycottisrael.info/

[2] http://www.lajf.org/what-we-do/

[3] https://crsisrael.wixsite.com/crsisraelreuniun