Public Comment

Bay Area Jews Held Mock Trial Outside San Francisco Jewish Federation

Penina Eilberg-Schwartz
Friday January 06, 2017 - 09:47:00 PM

Early Friday morning, 25 Bay Area Jews and allies held a mock trial outside the offices of the San Francisco Jewish Federation, challenging the institution on two counts of moral bankruptcy: its silence on the appointment of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel and its support for 50 years of Israeli Occupation. The mock trial included actors representing the prosecutor, defense, and four witnesses: the San Francisco Federation, David Friedman, Stephen Bannon, and a representative of IfNotNow’s #JewishResistance.

The action -- one of six happening across the country this week and next -- came in response to a national call made by IfNotNow, a diverse national movement of American Jews working to end the American Jewish community's support for Israel’s Occupation. IfNotNow demanded that all local Jewish Federations and their parent organization, the Jewish Federations of North America, publicly denounce the appointment of Stephen Bannon by the last night of Hannukah, December 31st. The San Francisco Federation did share a partner organization’s statement condemning the appointment of Stephen Bannon. However, it remained silent on the appointment of David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel. 

David Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer with no diplomatic experience who supports the settlement enterprise and wants to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He has also likened leftist Jews to Kapos - Jews who aided the Nazis. 

“We are here today because the American Jewish institutions that claim to represent us as American Jews have failed. While we are pleased our Federation shared the Jewish Community Relations Council’s statement against Bannon, its silence on David Friedman’s appointment is only the latest example of its support for the Occupation, which is a daily nightmare for Palestinians and a moral disaster for Jews everywhere,” Bay Area IfNotNow leader Becca Kahn Bloch said. 

“In the past, though the Federation has claimed to represent the whole Jewish community, it has not spoken for us. We are here today, as members of the Jewish community, IfNotNow and the #JewishResistance, to put the Federation on trial for its moral bankruptcy. But we are also here to invite the Federation to turn from its pro-Israel-at-any-cost position, and join our growing movement dedicated to freedom and dignity for all,” Kahn Bloch continued. 


See live video from the trial at 


IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. It is also leading the #JewishResistance against the Trump administration, in deep solidarity with all thosefighting for freedom and dignity for all. IfNotNow has chapters across the country. For more information: