New Jewish Agenda was a national organization from 1980 to 1992 with the slogan “a Jewish voice among progressives and a progressive voice among Jews.” NJA practiced participatory grassroots democracy with over 45 local chapters and 5,000 members. NJA organized a progressive Jewish voice for every political issue of their decade: working for Middle East Peace, Central America Solidarity, Worldwide Nuclear Disarmament, Economic and Social Justice in the US, and they had a powerful Jewish Feminist Taskforce that included work on LGBT issues and the emergence of the AIDS pandemic. New Jewish Agenda took radical stances on the rights of Palestinians and Queer Jews. Activists from a wide range of religious and secular communities coalesced in NJA, building power and analysis that continue to illuminate our movements today.
This book is a history of the New Jewish Agenda and also includes afterwords essays by Dr. Rachel Mattson and Daniel Lang/Levitsky, original art by Abigail Miller, and an appendix of key New Jewish Agenda documents.
“We know about the Jewish anarchists, communists, and socialists of the early-20th century. What about all the Jewish rabble rousers in the late-20th century? Justice, Justice… is a fascinating hidden history of Jewish activism in Reagan’s America. Nepon’s careful, critical work is a gift to those who pursue justice in the 21st century.”
—Dan Berger, author of Outlaws of America
Ezra Nepon is a compelling, original writer who goes on a deeply personal detective quest to uncover the roots of modern progressive Jewish thought. Nepon is a radical historian in the tradition of Howard Zinn, and in Justice, Justice, Nepon opens the book on an important missing chapter in E Jewish progressive history, with insightful reflections for change-makers of all backgrounds. A stirring, valuable book.
—Billy Wimsatt, author of Bomb the Suburbs and No More Prisons
Imperative reading for anyone who wants to understand the history and current state of Jewish activism in the United States in an increasingly globalized world.
—Hassan El-Menyawi, PhD candidate, Sociology, New York University and Middle Eastern human rights activist.
This compelling story of one progressive American Jewish organization from the 1980s has important lessons for anyone interested in understanding how social change happens. Nepon documents the power of on-the-ground grassroots organizing to make social change, as well as the forces that led to the demise of an important social justice organization. Of particular interest to many activists today will be Nepon’s analysis of New Jewish Agenda’s commitment to address both domestic and Middle East peace and justice issues, in contrast to today’s reality of single-issue organizing, and more seriously, increased pressures by the mainstream Jewish community to silence any criticism of Israel.
—Stephanie Roth, Jewish Voice for Peace board member
For more information about this project, check out Ezra’s blog at newjewishagenda.net.