Matt Nosanchuk and Jessica Haller share their perspective In this article that discusses the intersection of progressive Activism and Zionism
“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” This quote from Pirkei Avot is recited so often among Jewish activists that it can feel like a cliche. Many of us have heard it in moments of exhaustion, pessimism or despondence.
Last month, Sunrise DC, a local hub of the Sunrise Movement, the national youth-led climate organization, invoked that very text to announce their withdrawal from a rally promoting voting rights and DC statehood because three Jewish organizations that identify as Zionist were also on the program. In their statement calling for the exclusion of these organizations from the rally, Sunrise DC failed to mention their decades of progressive activism.
Following pushback from Jewish and progressive partners, the national Sunrise Movement issued a statement acknowledging that singling out Jewish organizations for widely held views was antisemitic but entirely ignoring the discussion of Zionism. Sunrise DC responded by doubling down and explicitly standing in opposition to Zionism…