An Open Letter Regarding

Inless than a month, people from across the United States and beyond will begathering at the 2010 U.S. Assembly of Jews: Confronting Racism and IsraeliApartheid (the "Assembly"). The Assembly is an historic eventintended to build relationships, political clarity and Jewish anti-Zionist organizingand activism. It takes place at a time when recognition of the brutal nature ofthe State of Israel is growing, and increasing numbers of people are compelledto challenge its impunity. To date, the Assembly has over forty endorsers,anticipates two hundred participants, and has gained the interest ofPalestinian, Palestinian solidarity and anti-racist movements in the United States,as well as the attention of mainstream Jewish media.

Giventhe stated purposes of the Assembly, we are expecting challenges to be leveledagainst it. IJAN, the main organizer of the Assembly, is already receiving criticismbased on inaccurate assumptions or apparently different political goals. Withthis momentous event upon us, we would like to take a moment to make clear the principles,positions and goals of the Assembly and help correct or prevent misconceptions.

IJANand the Assembly stand firmly against Zionism – the exclusionary colonialideas, policies and practice that privilege Jews above, and at the expense of,Palestinian people. By extension we reject the Jewish nationalism thatunderlies Zionism, a nationalism that erases diverse Jewish histories andchampions safety in separation, isolation and domination of others. We believethat true safety and long-term freedom can only be found in the emancipation ofall people.

Weexpressly challenge Zionism’s monopolization of our diverse Jewish histories,politics, cultures and religious practices. We take strength from and join in the long tradition of Jewishcommitment to human emancipation. Against the Zionist betrayal of this tradition and the hijacking ofJewish history, the Assembly is a collective act of Jews reasserting andreconnecting with a long history of participation in social justice movements.

Inthe same way that we reject Zionism’s inherent racism, we reject racism andhatred in any form and against any people or person. Thus we refuse to allyourselves with anti-Jewish racists, white supremacists or Holocaust deniers. Todo otherwise, would mean to embrace the Zionist strategy of conflating Judaismand Jewishness with Zionism, a tactic used to assume and even impose unconditionalsupport of Jews for Israel regardless of that State’s actions. In ourunequivocal rejection of Zionism, we do not and will not take part in actionsthat conflate Zionism and Judaism, whether intentionally or thoughtlessly. We believethat supporting Palestinian self-determination requires challenging Zionistideas, policies and practice, not the practice of Judaism.

Toensure that we are neither divisive nor obtrusive guests in Detroit, the Assembly will not endorseparticipation in any political activities other than those developed through thecollaborative national process of the organizing for it. We request Assembly participantsnot to be provoked by those who may attempt to undermine the objectives of theAssembly, including by calling for our participation in activities outside of andcontradictory to it.

Inaddition, IJAN will not align itself with those who either seek to use thestruggle against Zionism for their own ends, individual or collective, or whoproclaim themselves anti-Zionist but whose divisive actions serve only tofurther a Zionist agenda, undermining Palestine solidarity work andanti-Zionist organizing.  Rather, theAssembly is intended to promote the building of organized forces of Jews whocan multiply and amplify efforts to overcome Zionism and decolonize Palestine, by working withand in support of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. 

Tothat end, we welcome all who are 1) interested in supporting the organizing ofanti-Zionist Jews as part of the broader Palestine solidarity movement andanti-racist, anti-imperialist organizing in the United States and beyond, 2)committed to the principles reflected in the Assembly’s purpose, goals,assumptions and expectations, and 3) able to express this commitment throughparticipation that supports the goals and activities of the Assembly. While wewelcome discussions on our continually evolving struggle to overcome thedestructiveness, including of life and land, of Zionist principles, practicesand policies, we will not tolerate attempts to disrupt, undermine, provoke orattack participants, speakers or facilitators.

TheInternational Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

  

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