“Israelism” on Tour: New Film Examines American Jews’ Growing Rejection of Israel’s Occupation

The new documentary Israelism examines the growing generational divide among Jewish Americans on the question of Palestine, with many younger Jews increasingly critical of Israel and less supportive of Zionism. Simone Zimmerman, one of the protagonists of the film and a co-founder of the group IfNotNow, says she grew up being told that supporting Israel was central to her Jewish identity, but that collapsed once she visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories and saw the system of apartheid under which millions live. “It’s so deeply contrary to our values as Jewish people to support this disgusting oppression and denial of freedom,” she says. We are also joined by Erin Axelman, co-director and one of the producers of Israelism, who says Zimmerman’s journey mirrors their own and those of many other young Jews who realize they “must fight for the freedom and equality of Palestinians while also fighting antisemitism.” The film is on a 40-city screening tour in Canada and the United States after previous efforts to ban the screenings on several campuses.

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