Like so many times before, the state of Israel is again unleashing its staggering capacity of lethal violence against the refugees and victims of its historical crimes. Palestinians in the Gaza strip, most of them refugees, already living under siege in what is effectively an open prison, are now being bombed and massacred. From South Africa to Turkey, London to France, Toronto to New York City, all across the world, people have taken to the streets and massively demonstrated their anger and their solidarity with the Palestinian people. But political leaders, from Obama in the US to Putin in Russia, from Hollande in France to Sisi in Egypt, are almost unanimously backing Israel’s violence, an expression of their commitment to continue buying the very weapons that are “battle-tested” on Palestinian civilians and in protection of their economic and political interests in the Middle East. They have once against extended to Israel the diplomatic shield that enables its ability to act with impunity and its exemption from international law.
The inhumanity of Israel’s murder and repression machine is continuously justified by the needs of so-called “Jewish safety” after the Nazi Holocaust. Since 2000, this machine has killed a Palestinian child every three days on average. If we, as descendants of multiple histories of genocide and persecution against Jewish peoples, accept that this is the “price of our safety,” we become complicit in what can only be described as a practice of human sacrifice. Less than two weeks ago, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager, was horrifically set on fire and burned alive by a band of Israeli vigilantes. The perpetrator, however marginal themselves, were acting on the continuous drip of racist incitement against Arabs by the political and moral leaders of Israel. As Israeli fighter jet pilots set out once again on missions that will incinerate Palestinian children with the highest and most sophisticated technology of death, we have an obligation to make every effort, not just to say “not in our name”, but to help put an end to this.
Many of us have learned our family’s endurance of political violence, have heard from our parents of the experience of abandonment. Let that history resonate within us and move us to act. At this moment, when Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked calls publicly to kill Palestinian mothers, and Israeli general Oren Shachor justifies killing whole families “to frighten them,” let us remember that genocide begins with the indifference of the world.
The time to act is now. We call on our fellow Jewish people of conscience to bring support and solidarity to the Palestinian resistance and liberation struggle in earnest. We stand in our own histories of resistance to genocide – some of us the children and grandchildren of Warsaw and Vilna ghetto resistance fighters – when we stand with the Palestinian right to resist the latest brutal assault in 66 plus years of ethnic cleansing and colonization.
We call in particular for Jewish people, in whose name this violence occurs, to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and to participate in BDS campaigns, which have proven to be among the most effective civic tools to put pressure on those who enable Israel’s repression of Palestinians. We call on Jewish people to support efforts to end the complicity of our governments in Israel’s repression of Palestinians and our own governments attacks on Palestinian activists. We especially call for Jewish support of efforts to end US support for Israel, end Israel’s legal impunity, impose a military embargo against it, and to bring the perpetrator of Israel’s crimes to justice.
We share with you the following statement by Jews Against Genocide, a group of Jews in Israel who have taken action against the shameless exploitation of Jewish history and suffering to justify genocidal action against the Palestinian people. We join their call for others to engage in similar actions of civil disobedience and to support and broadcast their action. Let us help build a world where everyone is safe because we take care of each other, not a world in which some are safe when others burn to death.
IJAN and Jews Against Genocide call on Jews of Conscience to “lay siege” on Israeli consulates with protests, creative actions, pickets and demonstrations and to protest events that attempt to justify Israel’s brutality against the Palestinian people.