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 was most controversial for positions on the rights of Palestinians and the rights of Queer Jews. Jewish activists from a wide range of religious and secular communities coalesced in NJA, building power and analysis that continue to illuminate our movements today.
“We know about the Jewish anarchists, communists, and socialists of the early 20th century. We know, too, that Jews were disproportionately involved in the civil rights and New Left movements of the mid-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. Ezra Berkley Nepon gives us the inside scoop of New Jewish Agenda, both a clearinghouse for Jewish involvement in a range of progressive causes of the 1980s and a bulwark against the din of conservative voices in Jewish communities. Nepon’s careful, critical work is a gift to those who pursue justice in the 21st century.”
– Dan Berger, historian, organizer, and author of Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity and The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism