September 8, 2010 by staff
Rosh Hashanah, The festival marks the Jewish New Year. As leaders in Israel and Palestine to renew efforts to end the conflict in the Middle East, a local group calls for a year of peace in San Diego.
About 100 people with the newly formed Coalition of San Diego of Israel gathered together on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. They carried banners with messages of peace and blew the shofar – a traditional Jewish symbol. They said the Shofar sounds like a warning to Israelis, Palestinians and the San Diego community to seize the opportunity for peace.
Audrey Jacobs, co-president of the San Diego Coalition for Israel, said his group was formed last spring to meet the growing tensions in the community.
Jacobs said a case that sparked controversy was the Justice in Palestine Week 2010 – End of Apartheid “event organized by the UCSD Muslim Student Association in May. The students called for a resolution of UCSD to get rid of all economic ties with companies doing business with Israel.
“The incident happened at the UCSD increased awareness that San Diego is one of the focuses in the country specifically on campus for anti-Israeli sentiment,” said Jacobs, “and the community here, they felt powerless and have a way to actively express their support for the Jewish state. ”
Nasser Barghouti, a coordinator of the Coalition for Justice in Palestine San Diego, said his group’s mission is “to protest against the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, to help the Palestinian cause and promote the Palestinian point of view.”
Barghouti said the coalition is diverse and includes prominent members of the Jewish community and a growing number of local college students.
“It’s a growing movement,” said Barghoiti. “There is now developing an awareness about this issue and that action must be taken, completely non-violent action must be taken to really try to pressure Israel to respect international law.”
Barghoiti said an example of local action including a boycott and divestment movement against companies that have been documented to support the Israeli occupation.
Barghoutii said he is not optimistic about peace talks in the Middle East. He said negotiations would not succeed because it is an uneven playing field and the Israelis have more power, money and support.
“Moreover, the Palestinians have been living in a situation of military occupation in the West Bank and under siege full – a concentration camp in the Gaza Strip and apartheid in Israel,” said Barghoiti.
Members of the Coalition of San Diego Israel say that cling to the hope that the New Year will bring peace and resolution, both here and abroad.
“This is an extraordinary moment when we must unite and support this effort internationally and locally,” said Jacobs.
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