Charter of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network
We are an international network of Jews who are uncompromisingly committed to struggles for human emancipation, of which the liberation of the Palestinian people and land is an indispensable part. Our commitment is to the dismantling of Israeli apartheid, the return of Palestinian refugees, and the ending of the Israeli colonization of historic Palestine.
From Poland to Iraq, from Argentina to South Africa, from Brooklyn to Mississippi, Jews have taken up their quest for justice, and their desire for a more just world, by joining with others in collective struggles. Jews participated prominently in the workers’ struggle of the depression era, in the civil rights movement, in the struggle against South African Apartheid, in the struggle against fascism in Europe, and in many other movements for social and political change. The State of Israel’s historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their land contradicts and betrays these long histories of Jewish participation in collective liberation struggles.
Zionism—the founding and current ideology that manifested in the State of Israel—took root in the era of European colonialism and was spread in the aftermath of the Nazi genocide. Zionism has been nourished by the most violent and oppressive histories of the nineteenth Century, at the expense of the many strains of Jewish commitment to liberation. To reclaim them, and a place in the vibrant popular movements of our time, Zionism, in all its forms, must be stopped.
This is crucial, first and foremost, because of Zionism’s impact on the people of Palestine and the broader region. It also dishonors the persecution and genocide of European Jews by using their memory to justify and perpetuate European racism and colonialism. It is responsible for the extensive displacement and alienation of Mizrahi Jews (Jews of African and Asian descent) from their diverse histories, languages, traditions and cultures. Mizrahi Jews have a history in this region of over 2,000 years. As Zionism took root, these Jewish histories were forced from their own course in service of the segregation of Jews imposed by the State of Israel.
As such, Zionism implicates us in the oppression of the Palestinian people and in the debasement of our own heritages, struggles for justice and alliances with our fellow human beings.
We pledge to: Oppose Zionism and the State of Israel
Zionism is racist. It demands political, legal and economic power for Jews and European people and cultures over indigenous people and cultures. Zionism is not just racist but anti-Semitic. It endorses the sexist European anti-Semitic imagery of the effeminate and weak “diaspora Jew” and counters it with a violent and militarist “new Jew,” one who is a perpetrator rather than a victim of racialized violence.
Zionism thus seeks to make Jews white through the adopting of white racism against Palestinian people. Despite Israel’s need to integrate Mizrahis in order to maintain a Jewish majority, this racism is also seen in the marginalization and economic exploitation of the socially deprived Mizrahi population. This racialized violence also includes the exploitation of migrant workers.
Zionists disseminate the myth that Israel is a democracy. In truth, Israel has established and enforces internal policies and practices that discriminate against Jews of Mizrahi descent and exclude and restrict Palestinian people. Moreover, Israel, in collaboration with the United States, undermines any Arab movements for social change and liberation.
Zionism perpetuates Jewish exceptionalism. In defense of its crimes, Zionism tells a version of Jewish history that is disconnected from the history and experiences of other people. It promotes the narrative that the Nazi holocaust is exceptional in human history — despite it being one of many holocausts from Native Americans North and South to Armenia and Rwanda. It sets Jews apart from the victims and survivors of other genocides instead of uniting us with them.
Through a shared Islamophobia and desire for control of the Middle East and broader West Asia, Israel makes common cause with Christian fundamentalists and others who call for Jewish destruction. Together they call for the persecution of Muslims. This shared promotion of Islamophobia serves to demonize resistance to Western economic and military domination. It continues a long history of Zionist collusion with repressive and violent regimes, from Nazi Germany to the South African Apartheid regime to reactionary dictatorships across Latin America.
Zionism claims that Jewish safety depends on a militarized Jewish state. But Israel does not make Jews safe. Its violence guarantees instability and fear for those within its sphere of influence and endangers the safety of all people, including Jews, far beyond its borders. Zionism colluded willingly in creating the conditions that led to violence against Jews in Arab countries. The loathing aroused by Israeli violence and military domination toward Jews living in Israel and elsewhere is used to justify further Zionist violence.
We pledge to: Reject the colonial legacy and on-going colonial expansion
The moment when the Zionist movement decided to build a Jewish State in Palestine, it became a movement of conquest. Like the imperial conquest and genocidal ideologies of the Americas or Africa, Zionism depends on the segregation of people and the confiscation of land that produces ethnic cleansing and depends on unrelenting military violence.
Zionists worked hand in hand with the British colonial administration against the indigenous people of the region and their legitimate hopes for liberty and self-determination. The Zionist imagining of Palestine as “empty” and desolate justified the destruction of Palestinian life in the same way that such racism justified the extermination of Native Americans, the Atlantic slave trade, and many other atrocities.
From the ever expanding settlements to the Apartheid Wall, Israel’s commitment to colonial domination leaves its mark in environmental damage and the destruction of the physical landscape of Palestine. The failure of these policies to end Palestinian resistance propels Israel toward ever increasing violence and policies that, when followed to their fullest extent, end in genocide. In Gaza, the Israeli state withholds access to food, water, electricity, humanitarian aid, and medical supplies as a weapon that targets the foundations of human life.
Israel, once a vehicle for the British and French assault on Arab unity and independence, is now a junior partner in the US-allied strategy for world military, economic and political control, specifically for domination of the strategic Middle-East/Southwest Asia region. The danger of nuclear war through a US/Israeli attack on Iran reminds us that Israel is an atomic bomb that should be urgently dismantled for the sake of saving the lives of all its current and potential victims.
We pledge to: Challenge Zionist organizations
Beyond shaping the creation of Israel, Zionism determined its international policy of military dominance and antagonism toward its neighbours, and established a sophisticated global network of organizations, political lobbies, public relation firms, campus clubs, and schools to sustain and perpetuate Zionist ideas in Jewish communities and the general public.
Billions of US dollars flow annually to Israel to sustain the occupation and Israel’s sophisticated and brutal army. The war machine they fund is a leader in the global arms industry, which drains resources craved by a world in desperate need of water, food, health care, housing and education. Europe, Canada and the United Nations, meanwhile, prop up the infrastructure of occupation under the guise of humanitarian aid to Palestinian people. Together, the US and its allies cooperate in deepening the domination of the region and suppressing popular movements.
An international network of Zionist institutions and organizations support the Israeli military and militant Jewish settlements with direct funds. These organizations also provide the political support necessary for legitimizing and promoting policies and aid packages. In individual countries, these organizations censor criticisms of Israel and target individuals and organizations with blacklists, violence, imprisonment, deportation, unemployment and other economic hardship.
These organizations facilitate the spread of Islamophobia. They beat the drums of war abroad and push repressive legislation at home. In the United States and Canada, Zionist organizations helped pass “anti-terrorist” legislation making organizing in support of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and support for Palestinian, Iranian, Iraqi, and Lebanese and Muslim organizations subject to prosecution as aiding terrorism and committing treason. In both Europe and the US, supposedly “Jewish” organizations are now at the forefront of pushing for war with Iran.
Cracks are appearing in the edifice of Zionism as in that of US world dominance itself. In the region, extraordinary resistance from Palestine and Southern Lebanon to Israeli and US aggression and occupation has been sustained despite limited resources and many betrayals. Around the world, the movement in solidarity with the Palestine people and in confrontation with the U.S. and Israeli policy is gaining momentum. In Israel, this momentum can be seen in brewing dissent that creates possibilities for reclaiming two legacies of the 1960s: Matzpen, an Israeli Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist organization, and the Mizrahi Black Panther Party. In Israel there also is growing refusal of youth to participate in mandatory conscription into the army.
Within the governments and public discussions in the United States and Europe, the costs of unconditional support to Israel are increasingly questioned. Israel and the US seek new allies in the global South to join in their economic and military conquests. The growing relationship between Israel and India is a stark example of this. Sharing an interest in political control and capital gain for the few at the expense of the many, the elite in India as well as in countries across the Middle East and broader West Asia collude with the Western economic and military agenda in the region.
The propaganda of the West’s Global War on Terror resonates with the Islamophobia that is needed and promoted by the Indian elite and has provided an opportunity for the severe repression of dissent by regimes across the Middle East and South and West Asia. Despite this, there are rising people’s movements based in rich histories of anti-colonial struggle that challenge and will ultimately defeat this alliance.
Together with our allies, we aim to help widen those cracks, until the wall comes down and Israel is isolated as was apartheid South Africa. We pledge to take up the battle against these organizations that pretend to speak for us, and to defeat them.
We pledge to: Commit our solidarity and work toward justice
We commit our hearts, minds and political energy to support the varied and vibrant resistance movement of the Palestinian people and to confront the injustices for which the countries we live in are responsible.
We unequivocally support the Palestinian Right of Return. We call for a dismantling of the racist Israeli law of return that privileges the rights of any person that the State of Israel deems as Jewish to settle in Palestine while excluding Palestinians and making them refugees.
We respond wholeheartedly to the call from Palestine for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
We support the demand for the release of Palestinian political prisoners and an end to incarceration of Palestinian political leaders, women, children and men, as a method of control and terror.
It is not our job to prescribe what road the Palestinian people should take toward defining their future. We do not presume to substitute our voices for theirs. Our strategies and actions will emerge from our active relationships with those who are engaged in the range of liberation struggles within Palestine and in the broader region. We will support their struggle to survive, to hold their ground and to advance their movement as best as they can, on their own terms.
We are partners in the vibrant popular resistance movements of our time that defend and cherish the lives of all people and of the planet itself. We are partners in movements that are led by those most impacted by imperial conquest, occupation, racism and the global control and exploitation of people and resources. We stand for the protection of the natural world. We stand by the rights of indigenous peoples to their land and sovereignty. We stand by the rights of migrant peoples and people who are refugees to move freely and safely across borders. We stand by the rights of working people – including migrant workers brought to Israel to replace both Palestinian and Mizrahi labor – to economic justice and self-determination. We stand by rights to racial equality and cultural expression. We stand by the rights of women and children and all exploited groups to be free from subjugation. And we stand by the universal right to water, food, shelter, education, health-care and freedom from violence — the only basis on which human society can survive and flourish.
We commit to support justice so that healing may take root. There is much to heal: the wounds inflicted by the imposition and operation of colonial rule in Palestine and the broader region; the traumas of the European oppression of Jews that the Zionist project is exploiting; the fears and deprivations suffered through years of bloodshed; the manipulations of culture and resources used to exploit Mizrahi Jews and divide them from Palestinians; and the continuing massacre, rape and dispossession of Palestinian people.
The justice we work for must be built by those throughout Palestine, including Israel, and by Palestinian refugees, whose struggle for self-determination can lead to equity and freedom for all who live there and in the surrounding lands.
We call you to join with us.
These pledges require the building of a united international Jewish movement which challenges Zionism and its claim to speak on behalf of all Jews. In the face of an international adversary, it is not enough to work only locally, or even nationally. We must find ways to work together across boundaries, distances, sectors and languages. There is room for many initiatives and organizations, established and new, to work independently and together, in mutual support and collaboration.
Do you stand against racism in all its forms? Then we call you to join with us in ending Israeli apartheid.
Do you support the sovereignty and land-rights of indigenous peoples? Then we call you to join with us in defending the sovereignty and land-rights of Palestinians.
Do you believe that all our lives depend on economic and environmental sustainability? Are you enraged at the theft and destruction of the world’s resources? Then we call you to join with us in stopping Israel’s destruction of Palestinian agriculture and land, the theft of land and water, and the bulldozing of villages and groves.
Do you seek an end to the endless wars for oil and military dominance of the US and its allies? Do you want an end to militarized cultures, to the drafting of our young people and the ransacking of resources that finance armies rather than the necessities of life? Then we call on you to join with us in dismantling a critical piece of the global war machine.
Do you wish to dissociate yourself from the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the destruction of history, culture and self-governance? Do you believe there is no peace without justice? Do you feel enraged and saddened that the holocaust against Jewish people is being used to perpetrate other atrocities? Then we call on you to join with us in ending Zionist colonialism.
For the people of this planet to live in safety, justice and peace, the Israeli colonial project must be brought to an end. We joyfully take up this collective task of undermining a system of conquest and plunder that has tormented our world for far too long.