IJAN Statement Read at the First Forum for Solidarity with the Arab Revolutions

It is withgratitude, respect, hope and inspiration that the International JewishAnti-Zionist Network is participating in this First Forum for Solidarity with Arabrevolutions. 

IJAN is aninternational network of Jews who are uncompromisingly committed to humanemancipation. To this end we focus on the struggle for the liberation of thePalestinian people and land. We are committed to ending Israel apartheid andcolonization and to the right of return of Palestinian refugees. 

Beginning withthe struggle to dismantle Zionism and confront Islamophobia, we participate inlocal and international movements against all forms of racism, exploitation,and militarism, and for economic, political, social, cultural and environmentalrights. We organize as an international network that is active across theUnited States, the UK, Canada, Argentina, India, France, Switzerland, Spain,the Netherlands, and in Israel itself.

We haveappreciation and deep gratitude for the risks taken in so great a challenge toimperialism and Zionism. The most effective way for people in the coreimperialist countries to act in solidarity and defend the Arab revolutions isto extend them to Europe and to the US. The crisis that has been the catalystfor revolution in the region is global.

In addition tofostering political and financial as well as public support for Israel andWestern occupations, military aggression and political and economic interestsin the region, Zionism has a tremendously repressive impact on the societies weinhabit.  Zionist organizations andideology have been central to the rise of Islamophobia and the ongoing so-called"war on terror."  In the US, these haveaccelerated an erosion of civil rights, resulted in FBI raids againstorganizations working in solidarity with Palestine and other internationalstruggles, and is accompanied by censorship and attempts to criminalize criticismsagainst Israel.

In response togrowing criticism of Israel following its brutal siege on and blockade of Gaza,the growing strength of resistance movements in the region and a growingmovement in support of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment andsanctions (BDS), Israel has maintained its usual strategy of militaryaggression and partnerships with Western and collaborating governments toinfiltrate, surveille, prosecute, and attack organizations and activists in theEast and West, North and South, as well as on Arab and Muslim communities inthe West. With growing public skepticism of false claims of anti-Semitism andconcern over their use to censor public and university debate, Zionistorganizations in the UK, Canada and the US countries are lobbying to passlegislation that equates anti-Zionist organizing and terminology withdiscrimination against Jews. This is being used to threaten university fundingon campuses, to deny graduate degrees to students, and remove professors whosework is critical of Israel.

Westernsupport for the dehumanization of Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians andthe many others devastated or threatened by US-allied foreign policy andmilitary aggression is only possible as a result of the long histories ofEuropean, Canadian and US colonialism, racism and exploitation. Thus the raidson immigrant communities and deportations, the growth of prisons, and the policingof African American, Latino, Arab and other immigrant populations in the Westare served by and serve Zionism. Specifically, following a long history oftraining death squads and dictators’ militaries from South and Central Americato South Africa; today the Israeli military and other Zionist organizationstrain most police forces in the United States in crowd control and"anti-terrorist" surveillance. More generally, the near trillion spent on USmilitary spending and billions spent on military and financial aid to Israelare taken from health care, education, housing, and employment programs.

The movementis growing in response. Israel’s consistent attempts to crush Palestinianresistance, and what it and Western governments have negotiated with corruptregimes in this region, are now available on everyone’s computer screens. FromGuantanamo to Abu Ghraib to Palestine to the State of Georgia in the US, themovement of prisoners and others against prisons, brutal policing and tortureis growing in strength and numbers. From France to Canada, from the US-Mexicoborder to the Moroccan-Spanish border, immigrants and refugees are demanding rightsas basic as the freedom of movement. From New Orleans to Palestine, from theCongo to Sudan, internally displaced people are struggling for the right tostay or return. From migrant workers to domestic workers, from trade unioniststo mothers, workers are organizing to protect their income, for a living wageand against exploitation.

We come hereintegral to many struggles in the places where we live and organize, all ofwhich are integral to the struggle against Zionism. We are challenging Westernintervention and interests in this region. We work to end military, economicand political support for Israel. A part of this work is to make clear theextent to which Western populations are paying – financially and with their ownfreedom – for the repression of populations in this region. It is therefore inall of our interest that this region be liberated from Zionism and USimperialism – and that the movements here are informed about and gain powerfrom our movements against racism, exploitation and foreign occupations.

 

As a networkof Jews, we are in a position to discredit Zionist claims that any oppositionto it is anti-Semitism rather than a struggle for justice. We promote andparticipate in the Palestinian call for full boycott, divestment and sanctions(BDS) against Israel. We organize to expose and dismantle Zionist institutionssuch as the Jewish National Fund (JNF) – an organization founded in 1901 toacquire land in Palestine for Jewish-only settlement and use. We are part of aninternational campaign to discredit and abolish the JNF and for the return ofland and property to its rightful owners – the Palestinians. We also see it asour role to disentangle Jewish history from Zionism, and to challenge all theinstitutions and forces that benefit from their conflation.  We do this work both as solidarity withPalestinians and Arabs and for our own sake.

In doing so, wetread in the footsteps of the many Jews who have rejected Zionism and who havecommitted their lives to popular struggles for equity and justice all over theworld. In 1946 here in Cairo and in Alexandria, the Jewish Anti-Zionist Leagueattempted to expose and organize against the colonial, anti-democratic anddivisive impact of Zionism for both Palestinians and for all those livingthroughout the region.  We walk in thefootsteps of Jews whose commitment to joint struggle has shaped their lives andour presence in the conversation here this weekend.  Just to name one whom is greatly missed,Abraham Serfaty, Moroccan Jew, communist, Arab nationalist and human rightsactivist, was incarcerated for seventeen years for his commitment to Arabfreedom. Serfaty died just one month before the uprising of Tunis began. Hisspirit is here, and we honor t
hat spirit by being here today.

To read an IJAN presentation from the Forum about the challenges to Zionism posed by the Arab revolutions and uprisings, click here. 

Click here to find the international labor solidarity statement read by IJAN Labor at the convening.

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