Suzanne Weiss is a long time pro Palestinian Jewish activist and a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. On January 31, 2019 she was a speaker at an event organized by IfNotNow Toronto and a few years ago at Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto.
On April 10, 2019 Suzanne Weiss posted:
“Liberation Seders Honour The Great March of Return. Our Seder is dedicated to a free Palestine and the liberation of all peoples. The Seder draws on the legacy of the many Jews in every generation who have used the Seder for political purposes, including the Partisans of the Warsaw Ghetto who began their revolt on the first night of Pesach, not only because the tactical need of the moment, but also because their understanding of the meaning of the Passover story… All partisans of Palestinian human rights invited. The Seder will have the reading of a Liberation Haggadah followed by a vegetarian Middle Eastern dinner.”
The Jewish Liberation Theology Institute, a pro Palestinian organization based in Onatrio, shared the “Legacies of Resistance – A Haggadah for a Liberation Seder.”
Here are excerpts from the “Haggadah for a Liberation Seder”:
This haggadah draws mainly from the haggadah put forward by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network in 2012 and 2014… A special thanks to Rabbi David Mivasair for his thoughtful edits to this year’s Haggadah, particularly for adding the Ten Plagues Upon Israel.
At the same time that we celebrate legacies of resistance, the story of Exodus gives us a lot with which to wrestle. The Hebrews are referred to as G-d’s “chosen people,” and promised the land of Canaan. Religious Zionists have interpreted this as a justification to colonize modern day Palestine.
As Jews committed to ending Zionism, and as people who are part of global movements for liberation, we choose what interpretations and traditions we draw on, and what we challenge or reject. Rather than ignore the parts of our histories that challenge our visions for the future, we explore and account for the complexities of the traditions we inherit and continue the ongoing process of refining and elevating them.
We confront the parts of the Exodus story that lend themselves to exceptionalism, separate us from our fellow human beings, deny the many allies we have had throughout history, accept revenge as a form of justice, and use our own suffering to justify the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.
This Seder is dedicated to a free Palestine and the liberation of all peoples, living beings and the planet.
Hebrew is a gendered language and traditionally, in Judaism, God is referred to with masculine language. This year, we draw on feminist traditions within Judaism and refer to God in the Hebrew as feminine. We do this to challenge the patriarchy embedded in tradition, to disrupt the norm of masculinity as supreme—to “queer” our Seder experience.
by Mahaliyah Ayla O[ppenheim]
is this freedom?
is this a lie?
in my family the
sky is always falling
during the massacre in Gaza there is no wood left to bury the dead
even the resting cannot rest
the cemetery is bombed
never again has become
my death song
a beat that don’t beat back
a call with no response
I come from a long line of crooks
but till 1948 we were never
anything other than petty thieves
my family says
we became this way outta necessity
Washing of hands
Israeli agricultural and settlement run-off, as well as chemical warfare, pollute many Palestinian water sources beyond that. As a result, many Palestinian communities lack what is necessary for daily life. This is one way the State of Israel perpetrates genocide and displacement, making it impossible for Palestinians to live on their own land.
In addition to the traditional Seder plate items, we include:
Olive, representing the struggle of Palestinian people for land and self- determination… When olive groves are destroyed, the past and future is destroyed. We eat an olive, to make real our understanding of what it means each time a bulldozer plows up a grove. Without the taste of olives, there will be no taste of freedom.
Orange, symbolizing feminist, queer, and trans struggles against marginalization within Judaism.
In Palestine, the Israeli military and Jewish settlements seize control of water sources and divert it away from Palestinians to Israeli Jews.
Ten Plagues of the Occupation of Palestine
This year we take more drops of wine from our cup to grieve the plagues of apartheid, occupation and war being inflicted on Palestine:
1. Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to settle Palestine as a ethnically exclusive, Jewish state
2. Destruction of Villages – Destroying over 400 Palestinian towns since 1948
3. Home Demolitions – Destroying the same homes again and again and uprooting olive trees – Destroying income and heritage for generations of Palestinian families
4. Blockades and Checkpoints – Subjecting Palestinians to daily humiliation and violence by denying access to work, medical care and seeing their families and loved ones
5. Israeli Apartheid Wall – Limiting movement, destroying homes, and increasing surveillance by building a 30-foot high concrete wall around the West Bank with gun towers and electric fencing
6. “Administrative Detention” – Imprisoning and torturing Palestinian adults and children indefinitely, without trial
7. Theft of Resources – Destroying the Palestinian economy, exploiting Palestinian labor, and stealing water and fertile land
8. False Democracy – Denying civil rights to all non-Jews through Apartheid laws and administrative systems
9. Erasing histories of the ancient history and culture of Palestine to generations of children
10. War Crimes – Violating international law, by disabling and torturing children and adults and massacring Palestinians (in Sabra, Shattila, Deir Yassin and others)
Traditionally the Seder concludes with the words, “Le-shanah haba’ah bi-Yerushalayim: next year in Jerusalem.” This tradition predates Zionism and the state of Israel. Before political Zionism, “Jerusalem” was sometimes interpreted to be a conceptual place symbolizing a future condition of peace and freedom. With awareness of how this metaphor of freedom has been exploited for the political projects of establishing Israel on Palestinian land, we call for peace and justice in Palestine and all over the world and end by saying: “Le-shanah ha-ba’ah bi-heroot: next year in freedom.”