A 2017 Sunrise DC protest. (Screen grab/Facebook) (Screen grab/Facebook)
Sunrise DC

Sunrise DC cancels speaking appearance, denouncing organizations that “support Zionism and the State of Israel.”

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Citing the participation of three Zionist Jewish organizations, the Washington D.C. chapter of an environmental movement cancelled its speaking appearance at a rally for D.C. statehood scheduled for Saturday.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Sunrise DC said, “Given our commitment to racial justice, self-governance, and indigenous sovereignty, we opposed Zionism and any state that enforces its ideology.” Sunrise DC has since protected it tweets, meaning only approved followers can see them.

“As a colonial project, Israel routinely displaces Palestinians through the construction of settlements and the wholesale theft of homes and land. It also treats the Palestinians, as well as Black and brown Jewish-Israelis as second-class citizens who have virtually no responsive representation in government, often subjecting them to extreme policing and brutality,” the statement said.

The statement specifically cited the participation of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Sunrise DC called on the Declaration for American Democracy coalition, one of the rally’s sponsors, to rescind the Jewish groups’ membership from the network of 230 organizations. Sunrise DC said those three organizations are “all in alignment with and support Zionism and the State of Israel.”

All three of those Jewish organizations primarily address U.S politics and, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported, will still participate in the rally.

The JTA also noted that two other Jewish organizations participating in the rally weren’t mentioned in Sunrise DC’s statement. They are Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish social justice group that evades the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — although one of its funders is well-known for generously supporting radical anti-Israel and BDS groups — and Worker’s Circle, which has previously called on the U.S. to pressure Israel by leveraging its military aid to the Jewish state.

Neither the Sunrise movement’s national leadership nor the D.C. chapter responded to media queries. Neither did the Declaration for American Democracy.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said he was surprised at the attack on his organization.

“It’s unfortunate that any organization would refuse to join together to protect voting rights. The work of our coalition to ensure that every American has access to the right to vote is too important not to remain in partnership as we push Congress to act,” he said.

‘Antisemitic – plain and simple’

American Jews slammed Sunrise DC.

Anti-Defamation League director Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “Sunrise Movement DC is refusing participation in a voting rights rally because of the presence of ‘Zionist organizations.’ This is the vilification of Jewish nationhood and a litmus test for all who support it. This is antisemitic – plain and simple.”

With Sunrise DC’s tweets being protected, others posted comments on the organization’s Facebook posts.

“Sunrise is an ANTISEMITIC bigoted organization masquerading as a “progressive” organization. FYI – boycotting events because mainstream Jewish organizations are participating is antisemitic . SHAME ON SUNRISE and its bigoted leadership,” Jon Skeed wrote.

Saturday’s rally supports statehood for the District of Columbia and the Freedom to Vote Act, which is currently blocked in Congress by a Republican filibuster.