3Cs met with Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom on Wednesday, March 7 to discuss his work on mapping Bedouin populations in the West Bank. Conversation centered around questions of the power & danger of mapping as well, more specifically, the political-usefulness of maps for refugees and displaced peoples.
Short Biography of Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom
Jeremy Milgrom is an American-born rabbi who has lived in Israel since 1968. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, he has served congregations, was a Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and taught Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University and Achva Teachers’ College, but has mostly pursued a just peace in the Middle East throughout his career.
Rabbi Milgrom has had leadership roles in emerging Israeli peace groups during the last three decades: he was the first to bring Peace Now’s message to American Jewish community in 1978, established the pattern for lecture and fundraising tours on behalf of Yesh Gvul (in support of Israeli soldiers who refused to serve in Lebanon) in 1983, and was a founding member of Rabbis for Human Rights in 1988 and its co-director from 1995-1998.
A pioneer in interfaith partnerships with Christian and Moslem Palestinians, he founded and directed Clergy for Peace with Rev. Shehadeh Shehadeh and since 1998 has brought hundreds of volunteers to tutor Bedouin children of the Jahalin tribe who have been forcibly moved from the Negev to the West Bank.
An veteran of the Israeli army, Milgrom became a pacifist after the birth of his first child and was finally released from reserve military service (“Miluim”) after an eight year struggle. Like many Israeli activists, his primary measure for the integrity and viability of his peace efforts is in the upbringing of his three children, who have been junior participants in Jewish/Arab dialogue Sabbaths, at joint volunteer work camps and at countless protest rallies. While he is relieved that his younger two children who are currently in uniform chose non-combatant service in the Israeli Army, one of his more rewarding moments came when his oldest daughter fought for and received a deferment for conscience and spent two years serving society as a community organizer.
He is a frequent lecturer in Israel and abroad on Resolving the Middle East Conflict, the Religious roots of Non-violence and related subjects. Recently, he wrote Let your love for Me vanquish your hatred for him: Modern Judaism and Non-violence and delived a series of lectures for the World Council of Churches’ program for Ecumenical Accompaniment for Peace in Palestine and Israel devoted to helping participants refute the notion that anti-Zionism is necessarily anti-Semitic.