Our Open Letter to Fellow Alumni

 

To our friends and fellow alumni of Jewish camps, schools, and youth movements across the country:

The #YouNeverToldMe campaign was born out of a pattern of realizations that the Israel education we received during our youth was one-sided and incomplete. We, your friends in IfNotNow, are compelled to compassionately call in these institutions to reflect with us and to change their Israel education to include an honest understanding of the Occupation and Palestinian narratives.

We are alumni of different institutions from across the spectrum of Jewish life -- Camp Ramah, USY, BBYO, NFTY, Solomon Schechter, Young Judea, URJ, summer camps, and Jewish day schools around the country. We are young adults who proudly identify as Jewish, and, for many of us, we have youth organizations to thank for this. Across denominations and organizations, we have had formative experiences at camps, day schools, and youth groups. And yet, universally, we were never told the honest truth about the Occupation.

We can no longer accept an educational approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ranges from open endorsement of indefinite occupation to saying "It's complicated" and leaving it at that.  We can no longer accept a communal norm that will force another generation to only learn about the occupation only once they leave these institutions. We can no longer sit idly by while the institutions we care so deeply about lose moral legitimacy.

Our love for these youth organizations and concern for the freedom and dignity of all people compels us to speak out.

After 50 years of Occupation, we say that enough is enough.

We invite you -- alumni and supporters from across the country -- to join us in asking our institutions to reimagine Israel education in a way that engages directly with the realities of the Occupation and reflects the ethics our institutions aim to teach.