At 3.30pm today, 4 August 2014, outside the London offices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, on the 27th day of Israel’s military attack on the Gazan people, Jews in Britain Against Genocide staged a die-in to commemorate the hundreds of Palestinian children deliberately targeted and killed by Israel. We displayed toys, clothes and replicas of mutilated children and babies smeared red to symbolise the blood of Palestinian children murdered by Israeli forces.
We are Jews in Britain outraged at the Board of Deputies’ uncritical support for Israel as it commits genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
The Board of Deputies claims to speak in our name when it lobbies in defence of Israeli violence. It organises rallies with the Zionist Federation in support of Israel’s slaughter. It demands that John Prescott be punished for comparing Gaza to a concentration camp (Daily Mirror, 26 July 2014). It attempts to intimidate local councils for flying the Palestinian flag as an expression of solidarity with Gaza, and has written to the prime minister thanking him for his support for Israel’s massacre in Gaza. It cynically uses the Nazi genocide of Jews to silence critics of the Israeli genocide of Palestinians.
We Jews know, from our history, about persecution, concentration camps, starvation and murder. Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp by imposing a seven-year military siege, by restricting access to food, water, fuel and medical supplies, by imprisoning 1.8 million people and squeezing them even further by imposing no-go areas within the Gaza Strip.
In the current assault on Gaza, entire families are killed and neighbourhoods obliterated. UNICEF has condemned Israel for deliberately targeting women and children. Nearly 400 children have been murdered in less than four weeks, and more than 2000 have been injured and maimed. Gaza’s dead children are dead simply because they are Palestinians – this is genocide.
At least a quarter of a million Gazans are homeless because of Israeli bombing. There is nowhere safe to escape to — Israel has bombed UN-protected schools, hospitals and other UN buildings, killing civilians seeking refuge. Ten thousand people have been killed or injured. The bombardment of Gaza from the sea, land and air increasingly turns Gaza from a concentration camp into a death camp.
We support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and in particular we demand that the British government end its complicity in genocide by first of all ending its arms trade with Israel.
The Board of Deputies claims it wants Israel to be treated fairly and impartially within British society, but in fact it demands exceptionalism. It wants Israel to be exempted from any sanctions in spite of its apartheid and now its genocidal campaign against Gaza.
We accuse the Board of Deputies of condoning the atrocities the State of Israel commits in Gaza by attempting to silence Israel’s critics. This massive blood stain will not go away.
We accuse the Board of Deputies of joining with the anti-Semites in equating Zionism with Judaism and telling the world that all British Jews support Israel. That is a lie.
Jews in Britain Against Genocide
Genocide is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as any act committed with the intention of destroying in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. http://www.un.org/pubs/cyberschoolbus/treaties/genocide.asp
Concentration camp is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a place in which large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labour or to await mass execution’.