not in our name
If Gerald Kaufman can speak so forcefully, so can we. Send letters and op-eds to your local papers. – Stanley
[In the most dramatic and forceful statement by a Jewish government official to date, a British MP sharply denounced the Sharon government and expressed a surprisingly nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Gerald Kaufman, a long-time Labour Party MP and self-described "friend of Israel" loudly proclaimed that the Star of David represents all Jews and not Sharon's "repulsive government". He roundly rips Sharon, whom he had the insight to label a war criminal, as well as offering a voice of
reason on the subject of suicide bombings. While unequivocally denouncing such attacks, he asks the reasonable questions of what would happen if "we" were occupied for 35 years, and raises the key questions of how Zionist fighters behaved in the 1940s with such acts as the bombing of the King David Hotel and the massacre at Deir Yassin. He also points out that another difference is that Israel is a state and that it needs to be held to the
standards of an independent state. He says, "The difference between the Deir Yassin massacre and what happened in Jenin is that Deir Yassin was the work of terrorist groups denounced by mainstream Jewish groups. The horrors in Jenin were carried out by the official Israeli army." One may hope that such a powerful statement, from a prominent Jewish official in a major Western state may inspire other Jews the world over to finally speak out against what is happening in our names. – MP]
Jewish people are opening their hearts and minds to the reality of what has
become our most distressing issue,
Israel and the Palestinian people.
Jewish people should resist the pressure to support the Israeli state's side
unconditionally in the conflict against the Palestinian people. It has been
depicted as an us vs. them battle, so that criticism of the Israeli status quo
or support for the rights of the Palestinians to regain their occupied territory
are attacked as an act of betrayal against our own people.
But is it really? In all likelihood, defending a status quo that perpetuates
war, pain anger, resistance and, perhaps, ultimately anti-Semitism is more an
act of betrayal. Fifty-two years of bloodshed since the founding of modern
Israel is not a reason for pride; rather it indicates a major policy failure
that must be changed. Jewish people must amplify our dissident voices to escape
this trap of silence. During the Vietnam War, U.S. militarists unsuccessfully
tried to bully opposition withslogans like "My Country — Right or Wrong." We
now say "My People — Right the Wrongs." Can we open up our hearts and our minds
to the principles of what is just and practical?
Do we have the courage to oppose the dogma that has governed Jewish and Western
relations with the Israeli
Jewish people have the power and we have the ability to ensure the same rights,
the same treatment and the same respect for the Palestinian people in Israel as
we expect for ourselves. We must no longer abandon our Palestinian sisters and
brothers to a similar fate that our Jewish elders and ancestors righteously
fought or escaped throughout our history.
We who are Jewish must demand an end to the war on the Palestinians, a proper
respect for the UN resolutions recognizing the rights of Palestinians, an end to
Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, a guarantee for Palestinian
self-determination and the dismantling of the Israel-style apartheid system. It
is not in our interests that we continue enforcing unjust conditions that
perpetuate resistance and bloodshed.
Solidarity with the Palestinian people is in effect solidarity with the Jewish
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Mass.
LILLIAN S. ROBINSON
Principal, Simone de Beavoir Institute, Concordia University Montreal
Montreal and 31 others Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation
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