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Jewish and Israeli opposition to Israel's Gaza slaughter (updated Jan. 25)


Israel's young conscientious objectors (shministim) tell why they refuse to serve in an army that occupies ``another people'', the Palestinians. From http://www.December18th.org.


Young Israeli `refusenik' soldiers and reservists protest the Gaza assault, January 8, 2009, Tel Aviv. From Social TV (http://www.tv.social.org.il/)

Click HERE for earlier statements by Israeli opponents of Israel's inhuman assault on Gaza.

Solidarity with refusers

By Adam Keller

Gush Shalom -- January 8, 2009 -- Courage to Refuse has resumed its activity after several years and asked everybody to join them in picketing the Ministry of Defence. Courage to Refuse was founded in 2002, by reservists such as paratrooper officer David Zonshein, sickened and disgusted by the things they had seen (and took part in) during the army's efforts to put down the second Intifada. At that time they had a considerable impact, and their call upon reservists to refuse serving the occupation worried the military authorities. But like other groups they were effectively derailed by Sharon's Gaza trick, which placed on the Israeli public a unilateral and woefully incomplete "Disengagement".

The beginning of the "Cast Lead" war in Gaza -– and specifically, the calling up of an increasing number of reservists, being massed at the Gaza Strip borders in preparation to be thrown in -- aroused Courage to Refuse back into action. Some of the activists themselves got call-up orders, and they got urgent calls from many others who were called up and were far from eager to comply. At least three reservists are known to have informed their officers of their outright refusal to go into Gaza, and many others have resorted to various means of "grey refusal" to avoid it.

For their part, the Courage to Refuse organisers drew up a new manifesto on which they are busily collecting the signatures of reservists, both those who were involved before and those were not (see below).
A call was issued for a demonstration outside the Ministry of Defence on January 8: "Once again we feel the need to call upon reservists and conscripts to refuse taking part in the brutal killing perpetrated by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza. The terrible bombing of the UNRWA school in Jabalya Refugee Camp, in which Israeli forces killed more than forty Palestinian civilians in a single moment, increased our determination to act -– coming after hundreds of civilians killed earlier, including many women and children. A killing perpetrated under the pretext of security, under the Blue and White Flag, and in the name of every citizen of Israel. A killing which must not be allowed to continue!"

Members of other groups, such as ourselves of Gush Shalom, were welcomed to join in, but with a caution: "Without in any way detracting from the importance of earlier demonstrations against the war, in order to make an effective appeal to reservists we should use a bit different language than of the slogans used in these. To restrain our anger, however justified, and moderate our narrative. Not to call the Minister of Defence `A murderer' nor term the IDF `a terrorist organisation' (even when at times speaking in this way seems right) but focus on the pure moral call upon soldiers to preserve the 'purity' of their arms and refuse to take part in this madness."

We "radicals" who joined the January 8 action respected the organisers' wishes. The slogans prepared by Courage to Refuse included "Revenge is not security", "Refuse to take part in the in the campaign of bloodshed", "No to the killing of civilians –- in Gaza and Sderot", "Barak creates terror in Gaza", "Refuse to fight in Gaza" (this Hebrew slogan can also be translated as "Refuse to fight against Gaza"), "Refuse to destroy Gaza and Sderot", "The destruction of Gaza produces terror", "Courage to talk -- not to kill". Some of placards had the national Star of David inscribed beside the slogan –- which is far from the rule in other anti-war protests. Even so, the call upon soldiders to refuse orders made it very radical confrontation with the present warlike atmosphere prevailing in the Israeli media and political system.

What next? So far, the military authorities refrained from imprisoning any of the refusing reservists, knowing from the earlier confrontations that any imprisoned refuser would become a focus of solidarity actions from which the movement could grow and snowball. However, the Courage to Refuse organisers now contemplate a sharper action -– i.e., going southwards to the Gaza Strip border, where the army concentrated the already mobilised thousands of reservists who might any day be sent into Gaza, with the government bent on escalating the war in defiance of the Security Council cease-fire resolution. The military authorities might find it impossible to ignore and tacitly tolerate the presence of agitators busily "subverting the troops".

The Gaza Refusal Manifesto

We, soldiers and officers of the IDF
To whom the security and future are dear
Who understand that the attack in Gaza intensifies the conflict, will bring additional long years of missiles upon growing circles of the Israeli population, and brings terrible disasters upon the peoples in Israel and Palestine alike.
We understand that revenge is not security and that the IDF operation in Gaza perpetuates the conflict, and certainly does not help its solution.
In light of the above, we hereby declare that we will not take part in the campaign of destruction in Gaza.

Contact:
Noam Livneh +972-522-754528
David Zunshein +972-545-656760
Arik Diamant +972-522-754528
diamant.arik@gmail.com

* * *

See also `Why I refuse to fight in Gaza' (January 12, 2009) by Yitzchak Ben Mocha.

* * *

Israeli pilot refuses to target Palestinians

Press TV -- January 14, 2009 -- An Israeli Apache helicopter pilot is refusing to take part in the ongoing onslaught against the civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Captain Orr, who has flown dozens of combat missions over Gaza the past few weeks, said Tuesday that he decided to abort missions to avoid killing civilians after seeing children near his intended targets.

He also expressed sorrow for civilian casualties, the people who were caught up in the bombardment by him and his colleagues, saying that the vast majority of damage and casualties in Gaza were caused by flying attack helicopters and jet fighters.

Since the start of "Operation Cast Lead", Israeli forces have killed more than 1000 Palestinians and wounded over 4580 others -- most of whom are women and children.

Captain Orr made the remarks in an interview with Associated Press. He was also accompanied by a military minder in order not to disclose confidential information.

As the civilian casualties in Gaza continues to rise, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for an "immediate and durable ceasefire" in the region.

"I again urge both parties to stop now, to stop the fighting now, there is no time to lose," Ban said at the start of his Middle East tour aimed at brokering a truce between Hamas and Israel.

The call for ceasefire comes as Tel Aviv continues to attack residential areas across Gaza with unconventional weapons including White phosphorus bombs.

White phosphorus, classified as a 'chemical weapon' by the US intelligence, is an incendiary material that causes horrific burns, severe injuries or even death when it encounters human skin.

Absolutely not in their name, not in ours

By Michael Warschawski

January 18, 2009 -- Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Olmert -- don’t you dare show your faces at any memorial ceremony for the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, Lublin, Vilna or Kishinev. And you too, leaders of Peace Now, for whom peace means a pacification of the Palestinian resistance by any means, including the destruction of a people. Whenever I will be there, I shall personally do my best to expel each of you from these events, for your very presence would be an immense sacrilege.

Not in their names

You have no right to speak in the name of the martyrs of our people. You are not Anne Frank of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp but Hans Frank, the German general who acted to starve and destroy the Jews of Poland.

You are not representing any continuity with the Warsaw Ghetto, because today the Warsaw Ghetto is right in front of you, targeted by your own tanks and artillery, and its name is Gaza. Gaza that you have decided to eliminate from the map, as General Frank intended to eliminate the Ghetto. But, unlike the ghettos of Poland and Belorussia, in which the Jews were left almost alone, Gaza will not be eliminated because millions of men and women from the four corners of our world  are building a powerful human shield carrying two words: never again!

Not in our name!

Together with tens of thousands of other Jews, from Canada to Great Britain, from Australia to Germany, we are warning you: don't dare to speak in our names, because we will run after you, even, if needed, to the hell of war-criminals, and stuff your words down your throat until you ask for forgiveness for having mixed us up with your crimes. We, and not you, are the children of Mala Zimetbaum and Marek Edelman, of Mordechai Anilevicz and Stephane Hessel, and we are conveying their message to humankind for custody in the hands of the Gaza resistance fighters: "We are fighting for our freedom and yours, for our pride and yours, for our human, social and national dignity and yours." (Appeal of the Ghetto to the world, Passover 1943)

But for you, the leaders of Israel, “freedom” is a dirty word. You have no pride and you do not understand the meaning of human dignity.

We are not “another Jewish voice”, but the sole Jewish voice able to speak in the names of the tortured saints of the Jewish people. Your voice is nothing other than the old bestial vociferations of the killers of our ancestors.

[Michael Warschawski is from the Alternative Information Center.]

A call from within

In support of the Palestinian human rights community's call for international action

January 8, 2009 -- As if the occupation was not enough, the brutal ongoing repression of the Palestinian population, the construction of settlements and the siege of Gaza -- now comes the bombardment of the civilian population: men, women, old folks and children. Hundreds of dead, hundreds of injured, overwhelmed hospitals, and the central medicine depot of Gaza bombed. The ship Dignity of the Free Gaza movement which brought emergency medical supplies and a number of physicians was also attacked. Israel has returned to openly committing war crimes, worse than what we have seen in a long time.

Israeli media do not expose their viewers to the horrors and to the voices of severe criticism of these crimes. The story told is uniform. Israeli dissidents are denounced as traitors. Public opinion including that of the Zionist left supports the Israeli policy uncritically and without reservation.

Israel's destructive criminal policy will not cease without a massive intervention by the international community. However, except for some rather weak official condemnation, the international community is reluctant to intervene. The United States openly supports the Israeli violence and Europe, although voicing some condemnation, is unwilling to seriously consider withdrawing the "gift" it handed Israel by upgrading its relations with the European Union.

In the past the world knew how to fight criminal policies. The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves: its trade relations are flourishing, academic and cultural cooperation continue and intensify with diplomatic support.

This international backing must stop. That is the only way to stop the insatiable Israeli violence.

We are calling on the world to stop Israeli violence and not allow the continuation of the brutal occupation.

We call on the world to condemn and not become an accomplice in Israel's crimes.

In light of the above, we call on the world to implement the call by Palestinian human rights organisations which urges:

• The UN Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel's fulfillment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.

• The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation under common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the Conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular placing pivotal importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.

• The High Contracting Parties to fulfil their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.

• EU institutions and member states to make effective use of the European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b), (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel.

Signed by 540 Israeli citizens (first list):

Avital Aboody, Sami Abu Shehadeh, Moshe Adler, Haim Adri, Gali Agnon, Bilha Aharoni, Hagit Aharoni, Saida Ahmed, Danny Aisner, Orna Akad, Aviv Aldema, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, Joseph Algazy, Omer Allon, Dan Almagor, Orly Almi, Tali Almi, Tamar Almog, Udi Aloni, Yuli Aloni-Primor, Colman Altman, Janina Altman, Ahmad Amara, Eitan Amiel, Nitza Aminov, Gish Amit, Yossi Amitay, Naama Arbel, Tal Arbel, Rana Asali, Maisoon Assadi, Keren Assaf, Zohar Atai, Najla Atamnah, Rutie Atsmon, Michal Aviad, Hanna Aviram, Jasmin Avissar, Amira Bahat, Noam Bahat, Daniela Bak, Abeer Baker, Saleh Bakri, Rim Banna, Oshra Bar, Yoav Barak, Daphna Baram, Michal Bareket, Hila Bargiel, Ronny Bar-Gil, Yoram Bar-Haim, Ronnie Barkan, Osnat Bar-Or, Racheli Bar-or, Yossi Bartal, Raji Bathish, Dalit Baum, Shlomit Bauman, Esther Ben Chur, Hagit Ben Yaacov, Tal Ben Zvi, Yael Ben-Zvi, Avner Ben-Amos, Ronnen Ben-Arie, Ur Ben-Ari-Tishler, Ofra Ben-Artzi, Yotam Ben-David, Smadar Ben-Natan, Shmuel Ben Yitzchak, Avi Berg, Daniel Berger, Tamar Berger, Anat Biletzki, Itai Biran, Rotem Biran, Shany Birenboim, Rozeen Bisharat, Yafit Gamilah Biso, Liran Bitton, Simone Bitton, Yahaacov Bitton, Rani Bleier, Yempa Boleslavsky, Hagit Borer, Ido Bornstein, Irith Bouman, Haim Bresheeth, Aya Breuer, Shlomit Breuer, Dror Burstein, Smadar Bustan, Shai Carmeli-Pollak, Smadar Carmon, Zohar Chamberlain-Regev, Sami Shalom Chetrit, Chassia Chomsky-Porat, Arie Chupak, Isadora Cohen, Kfir Cohen, Matan Cohen, Nahoum Cohen, Raya Cohen, Ron Cohen, Stan Cohen, Yifat Cohen, Alex Cohn, Scandar Copti, Adi Dagan, Yael Dagan, Yasmeen Daher, Silan Dallal, Tamari Dallal, Leena Dallasheh, Eyal Danon, Uri Davis, Hilla Dayan, Relli De Vries, Maoz Degani, Ruti Divon, Diana Dolev, Yfat Doron, Ettie Dotan, Keren Dotan, Ronit Dovrat, Daniel Dukarevich, Arnon Dunetz, Maya Dunietz, Udi Edelman, Shai Efrati, Neta Efrony, Rani Einav, Asa Eitan, Danae Elon, Ruth El-Raz, Noam Enbar, Amalia Escriva, Anat Even, Gilad Evron, Ovadia Ezra, Basma Fahoum, Avner Faingulernt, Ghazi-Walid Falah, Naama Farjoun, Yvonne Fattal, Dror Feiler, Pnina Feiler, Micky Fischer, Sara Fischman, Nadav Franckovich, Ofer Frant, Ilil Friedman, Maya Galai, Dafna Ganani, Gefen Ganani, Yael Gazit, Yoram Gelman, Yakov Gilad, Amit Gilboa, Michal Ginach, Rachel Giora, Michal Givoni, Ednna Glukman, Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Bilha Golan, Neta Golan, Shayi Golan, Tsilli Goldenberg, Vardit Goldner, Tamar Goldschmidt, Lymor Goldstein, Dina Goor, Shelley Goral, Joel Gordon, Ester Gould, Inbal Gozes, Inbal Gozes-Sharvit, Erella Grassiani, Adar Grayevsky, Gill Green, David Greenberg, Ela Greenberg, Dani Grimblat, Lev Grinberg, Yosef Grodzinsky, Hilik Gurfinkel, Galia Gur-Zeev, Anat Guthmann, Amos Gvirtz, Maya Gzn-Zvi, Yoav Haas, Iman Habibi, Connie Hackbarth, Uri Hadar, Mirjam Hadar Meerschwam, Rayya Haddad, Osnat Hadid, Dalia Hager, Tami Hager, Hava Halevi, Yasmine Halevi, Jeff Halper, Yuval Halperin, Rula Hamdan-Atamneh, Rania Hamed, Rola Hamed, Anat Hammermann Schuldiner, Doron Hammermann-Schuldiner, Ben Handler, Tal Haran, Elad Harel, Nir Harel, Shuli Hartman, Lihi Hasson, Amir Havkin, Shira Havkin, Amani Hawari, Areen Hawari, Iris Hefets, Ada Heilbronn, Ayelet Heller, Sara Helman, Ben Hendler, Aref Herbawi, Tamara Herman, Avi Hershkovitz, Yael Hersonski, Galit Hess, Hannan Hever, Ala Hlehel, Gil Hochberg, Tikva Honig-Parnass, Tikva Honig-Parnass, Inbar Horesh, Veronique Inbar, Rachel Leah Jones, Noga Kadaman, Ari Kahana, Dafna Kaminer, Aya Kaniuk, Ruti Kantor, Liad Kantorowicz, Dalia Karpel, Rabia Kassim, Amira Katz, Shai Katz, Uri Katz, Giora Katzin, Dror Kaufman, Adam Keller, Yehudit Keshet, Lana Khaskia, Efraim Kidron, Alisa Klein, Sylvia Klingberg, Yana Knopova, Ofra Koffman, Yael Korin, Alina Korn, Rinat Kotler, Meira Kowalsky, Noa Kram, Miki Kratsman, Rotem Kuehnberg, Assia Ladizhinskaya, Michal Lahav, Roni Lahav, Idan Landau, Yitzhak Laor, Orna Lavi, Ruti Lavi, Shaheen Lavie-Rouse, Yigal Laviv, Tamar Lehahn, Ronen Leibman, Miki Lentin, Ronit Lentin, Yael Lerer, Chava Lerman, Noa Lerner, Yair Lev, Yudith Levin, Abigail Levine, Eyal Levinson, Dana Levy, Inbal Lily-Koliner, Moran Livnat, Omri Livne, Amir Locker-Biletzki, Yael Locker-Biletzki, Yossi Loss, Yael Lotan, Guy Lougashi, Irit Lourie, Orly Lubin, Joseph Lubovsky, Aim Deuelle Luski, Naomi Lyth, Moshe Machover, Aryeh Magal, Liz Magnes, Noa Man, Ya'acov Manor, Arabiya Mansour, Roi Maor, Adi Maoz, Eilat Maoz, Yossi Marchaim, Alon Marcus, Esti Marpet, Ruchama Marton, Nur Masalha, Anat Matar, Doron Matar, Haggai Matar, Oren Matar, Samy Matar, Rela Mazali, Naama Meishar, Rachel Meketon, Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Remy Mendelzweig, Racheli Merhav, Yael Meron, Juliano Merr-Khamis, Esti Micenmacher, Maya Michaeli, Avraham Milgrom, Jeremy Milgrom, Elisheva Milikowski, Erez Miller, Katya Miller, Limor Mintz-Manor, Ariel Mioduser, Dror Mishani, Eedo Mizrahi, Avi Mograbi, Liron Mor, Magi Mor, Susan Mordechay, Susanne Moses, Haidi Motola, Ahuva Mu'alem, Ben Tzion Munitz, Norma Musih, Dorit Naaman, Michal Naaman, Gil Naamati, Haneen Naamnih, Naama Nagar, Dorothy Naor, Regev Nathansohn, Shelly Nativ, Salman Natour, Judd Ne'eman, Dana Negev, Smadar Nehab, Shlomit Lola Nehama, Ofer Neiman, David Nir, Eyal Nir, Tali Nir, Alex Nissen, Tal Nitzan, Joshua Nouriel, Yasmine Novak, Nira Nuriely, David Ofek, Tal Omer, Adi Ophir, Anat Or, Yael Oren Kahn, Norah Orlow, Gal Oron, Akiva Orr, Dorit Ortal, Noam Paiola, Il'il Paz-el, Michal Peer, Miko Peled, Nirit Peled, Nurit Peled-elhanan, Leiser Peles, Orna Pelleg, Tamar Pelleg-Sryck, Sigal Perelman, Amit Perelson, Nadav Pertzelan, Erez Pery, Tom Pessah, Dani Peter, Shira Pinhas, Yossi Pollak, Gil Porat, Dror Post, Eyal Pundik, Yisrael Puterman, Ilya Ram, Nery Ramati, Amit Ramon, Avi Raz, Ayala Raz, Hili Razinsky, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, David Reeb, Hadas Refaeli, Shlomo Regev, Dimi Reider, Noa Reshef, Amit Ron, Roee Rosen, Illit Rosenblum, Maya Rosenfeld, Danny Rosin, Yehoshua Rosin, Ilana Rossoff, Ilani Rotem, Natalie Rothman, Areej Sabbagh, Ahmad Sa'di, Sidki Sadik, Walid Sadik, Hannah Safran, Hiba Salah, Sana Salame-Daqa, Galit Saporta, Sima Sason, Sagi Schaefer, Tali Schaefer, Oded Schechter, Agur Schiff, Nava Schreiber, Idit Schwartz, Michal Schwartz, Noa Schwartz, Eran Segal, Keren Segal, Irit Segoli, Irit Sela, Dan Seltzer, Yael Serry, Shaul Setter, Meir Shabat, Aharon Shabtai, Michal Shabtay, Itamar Shachar, Erella Shadmi, Ilan Shalif, Hanna Shammas, Ayala Shani, Uri Shani, Arik Shapira, Bat-Sheva Shapira, Yonatan Shapira, Omer Sharir, Yael Shavit, Noa Shay, Fadi Shbita, Adi Shechter, Oz Shelach, Adi Shelesnyak, Mati Shemoelof, Ehud Shem-Tov, Yehouda Shenhav, Nufar Shimony, Khen Shish, Hagith Shlonsky, Tom Shoval, Sivan Shtang, Tal Shuval, Ivy Sichel, Ayman Sikseck, Shelly Silver, Inbal Sinai, Eyal Sivan, Ora Slonim, Kobi Snitz, Maja Solomon, Gideon Spiro, Neta Stahl, Talila Stan, Michal Stoler, Ali Suliman, Dored Suliman, Marcelo Svirsky, Yousef Sweid, Ula Tabari, Yael Tal, Lana Tatour, Doron Tavory, Ruth Tenne, Idan Toledano, Eran Torbiner, Osnat Trabelsi, Lily Traubmann, Naama Tsal, Lea Tsemel, Ruth Tsoffar, Ehud Uziel, Ivan Vanney, Sahar Vardi, Roman Vater, Ruth Victor, Yaeli Vishnizki-Levi, Roey Vollman, Roy Wagner, Michael Warschawski, Michal Warshavsky, Ruthy Weil, Sharon Weill, Shirly Weill, Elian Weizman, Eyal Weizman, Einat Weizman Diamond, Elana Wesley, Etty Wieseltier, Yossi Wolfson, Oded Wolkstein, Ayelet Yaari, Smadar Yaaron, Roni Yaddor, Sarah Yafai, Galia Yahav, Sergio Yahni, Niza Yanay, Amnon Yaron, Tamar Yaron, Mahmoud Yazbak, Oren Yiftachel, Sarit Yitzhak, Sharon Zack, Uri Zackhem, Jamal Zahalka, Sawsan Zaher, Adva Zakai, Edna Zaretsky, Beate Zilversmidt, Amal Zoabi, Haneen Zoubi, Himmat Zu'bi, Mati Zuckerman

Contact: gazabfw@gmail.com

[From the Free Gaza Movement website.]

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Protest, solidarity and aid convoy for the residents of Gaza

January 13, 2009 -- As medical professionals responsible for the health and safety of all people, Jews and Arabs, we cannot remain silent in the face of the horrors occurring before our eyes:

On Friday, January 16, we will set out together -- members, volunteers and supporters of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel -- to accompany a convoy of food and medical supplies for the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Together, Arabs and Jews, we will express solidarity with the residents of Gaza and the south of Israel, and call:

  • Stop the killing of innocent people
  • Stop attacking medical teams
  • Stop preventing medical care from the wounded
  • Stop shooting at aid convoys

Together we will call for an immediate ceasefire and for a political solution to end the occupation.
Bus transportation will be organised. Upon reaching the south, we will accompany the supplies vehicle on foot up to a pre-arranged point near to the Gaza Strip. There we will hold a quiet rally, after which the supplies vehicle will continue to the Crossing.

Black clothes are recommended. Medical personnel may wear white coats. Please bring water and ID/passports.

A bus will leave Taybeh from the gas station at the northern entrance to the town at 9am.

A bus/buses will leave Tel Aviv from Arlozorov train station at 10am.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel contact person: Miri, 0546995199.

Rabbinical statement on Gaza (USA)

January 23, 2009 -- As American rabbis and rabbinical students from various parts of the Jewish world, we express our sorrow and outrage over Israel's latest military operation in Gaza. Judaism teaches that all human beings are created in the image of God and that one who takes a single life destroys an entire world. We condemn the firing of missiles from Gaza that forced so many Israelis to live in fear and we mourn the loss of life that resulted from these attacks. However, we are devastated by Israel's disproportionate use of force, killing more than 1,300 people, including over 450 children. In the wake of such overwhelming civilian carnage, we can only ask, in the words of the Talmud, "How do we know that our blood is redder than the blood of our fellow?"

Jewish tradition also teaches that "when an arrow leaves the hand of a warrior he cannot take it back." From this we learn that violence unleashes a myriad of consequences that we cannot control or reverse. We cannot begin to fathom the depths of trauma this action has caused for those living in Gaza and the grief for scores of individuals, families and loved ones around the world. Moreover we can only imagine the growing fury it has inspired in Gazans, Palestinians and the greater Arab world and the serious damage it has inflicted upon prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

In the wake of the recent cease-fire the task before the new American administration is all the more daunting - and all the more critical. We urge our new president to turn back the policies of previous administrations - policies which have given Israel a blank check to take numerous measures that we believe are counter to the cause of peace, including the expropriation of Palestinian lands, destruction of Palestinians homes and businesses and the widespread building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, to name but a few. We sincerely hope the Obama administration will find the courage to insist that the Israeli government end these actions in the strongest terms possible.

As Jewish spiritual leaders, we believe the pursuit of peace and justice to be our most sacrosanct value. We reject the vision of this conflict as an "Us vs. Them" zero sum game. We urge all who seek an end to this tragic conflict to commit themselves to peace, reconciliation and restorative justice. We call for a political solution that ends the occupation, addresses the needs of Palestinian refugees and constructs a positive future by and for Israelis and Palestinians in the holy land.

Signatories:
1.    Rabbi Rebecca Alpert (Philadelphia, PA)
2.    Rabbi Joshua Boettiger (Bennington, VT)
3.    Rabbi Vanessa Grawjer Boettiger (Bennington, VT)
4.    Rabbi David Brusin (Milwaukee, WI)
5.    Cantor Michael Davis (Chicago, IL)
6.    Rabbi Michael Feinberg (New York, NY)
7.    Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer (Claremont/Upland, CA)
8.    Rabbi Roy Furman (Chicago, IL)
9.    Rabbi Everett Gendler (Great Barrington, MA)
10.    Rabbi Shai Gluskin (Philadelphia, PA)
11.    Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb (Berkley, CA)
12.    Rabbi Julie Greenberg (Philadelphia, PA)
13.    Rabbinical Student Jarah Greenfield (Philadelphia, PA)
14.    Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herman (Philadelphia, PA)
15.    Rabbi James Greene (Salem, OR)
16.    Rabbi Linda Holtzman (Philadelphia PA)
17.    Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer (Philadelphia, PA)
18.    Rabbi Elliot Kukla (San Francisco, CA)
19.    Rabbi Sarra Lev (Jerusalem, Israel)
20.    Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy (Newtown, PA)
21.    Rabbi Rebecca Lillian (Chicago, IL)
22.    Rabbi Ellen Lippmann (Brooklyn, NY)
23.    Rabbi Katie Mizrahi (San Francisco, CA)
24.    Rabbinical Student Devra Noily (Philadelphia, PA)
25.    Rabbi Brant Rosen (Evanston, IL)
26.    Rabbi David Shneyer (Washington DC)
27.    Rabbi Ira Stone (Philadelphia, PA)
28.    Rabbi Brian Walt (West Tisbury, MA)
29.    Rabbi Melissa Weintraub (Philadelphia, PA)
30.    Rabbinical Student Alissa Wise (Brooklyn, NY)
31.    Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman (Madison, WI)

From http://www.rabbis-speak-out.net/

British MP: `My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza'

By Liam Macuaid

January 15, 2009 -- This snippet is taken from MRzine. Gerald Kaufman is on the rightwing of the British Labour Party and it's so exceptionally rare for him to say much that the readers of this site would agree with that it’s worth posting.

Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) (Labour): In congratulating my right hon. Friend [David Miliband] on steering resolution 1860 through the United Nations Security Council, may I ask him what the international reaction would be if Hamas had slaughtered nearly 900 Israelis and subjected nearly 1.5 million Israelis to degradation and deprivation?  Is it not an incontrovertible fact that Olmert, Livni and Barak are mass-murderers and war criminals — [Interruption.]  Yes. And they bring shame on the Jewish people whose star of David they use as a flag in Gaza, but whose ethos and morals go completely against what this Israeli Government are doing.

The video can be seen here. It's an astonishingly powerful and personal speech.

This is the full text of Kaufman's speech to the British House of Commons on January 15, 2009:

Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab): I was brought up as an orthodox Jew and a Zionist. On a shelf in our kitchen, there was a tin box for the Jewish National Fund, into which we put coins to help the pioneers building a Jewish presence in Palestine.

I first went to Israel in 1961 and I have been there since more times than I can count. I had family in Israel and have friends in Israel. One of them fought in the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 and was wounded in two of them. The tie clip that I am wearing is made from a campaign decoration awarded to him, which he presented to me.

I have known most of the Prime Ministers of Israel, starting with the founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir was my friend, as was Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister, who, as a general, won the Negev for Israel in the 1948 war of independence.

My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland. Most of their families were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the holocaust. My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count.

On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians—the total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that “500 of them were militants.”

That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserts that her Government will have no dealings with Hamas, because they are terrorists. Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, who organised the blowing-up of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews.

Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin. Today, the current Israeli Government indicate that they would be willing, in circumstances acceptable to them, to negotiate with the Palestinian President Abbas of Fatah. It is too late for that. They could have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a friend of mine. Instead, they besieged him in a bunker in Ramallah, where I visited him. Because of the failings of Fatah since Arafat’s death, Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006. Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.

The great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, with whom I campaigned for peace on many platforms, said: “You make peace by talking to your enemies.”

However many Palestinians the Israelis murder in Gaza, they cannot solve this existential problem by military means. Whenever and however the fighting ends, there will still be 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5 million more on the west bank. They are treated like dirt by the Israelis, with hundreds of road blocks and with the ghastly denizens of the illegal Jewish settlements harassing them as well. The time will come, not so long from now, when they will outnumber the Jewish population in Israel.

It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that their conduct and policies are unacceptable, and to impose a total arms ban on Israel. It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by conquest which is the Israelis’ real goal but which it is impossible for them to achieve. They are not simply war criminals; they are fools.

Jews in Solidarity with Palestine: Stop the US-backed genocidal Israeli war on Gaza

  • Nearly a thousand women, men and children killed by US-made Israeli bombs
  • Thousands more wounded
  • 1.5 million under siege for the past 18 months, without food, water, medicine, fuel
  • Collective punishment for resisting occupation; emergency aid blocked
  • Massive violations of international law
  • Apartheid wall
  • Racist oppression
  • Homes and land stolen
  • Forced into refugee camps
  • 60 years of occupation, from the river to the sea

We say enough!

We are Jews in solidarity with Palestine

No to Israel! Yes to self-determination, democracy & freedom!

Stop US Funding of the War on Palestine!

The whole world is horrified by the murderous Israeli assault against the suffering people of Gaza. From Seoul to Caracas, from Johannesburg to Amman to London, millions of people have poured into the streets to demand an end to this genocidal campaign, which is funded by the United States and carried out with US-supplied weaponry.

There have also been protests in US cities. While most of those marching are Arab-Americans, many African Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and whites have joined in. Many Jewish people, outraged at Israel's war crimes and anguished that they are carried out in their name, are speaking out.

It's good that Jewish people of conscience are disassociating themselves from the Gaza aggression. But it's not enough. This atrocity is only the latest, and it's no aberration. It reflects the program of the Israeli settler state -- which is based on the theft of Palestine, the ouster and suppression of the Palestinian people, and the racist ideology of Zionism -- and of its primary sponsor, the Pentagon and US business establishment.
It's not enough to oppose the bombing. It's not enough to demand an end to the 41-year occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. We stand in complete and unconditional support for the self-determination of the Palestinian people. This includes the right to return to Palestine, from the river to the sea, and the right to democratically determine the form and the future of the Palestinian state.

Nothing less will undo the historic crime of al Nakba -- the 1948 catastrophe of the establishment of the state of Israel based on the ouster of the Palestinian people from their homeland, oppression and inequality.
That crime betrayed the whole history of the Jewish people. From helping topple the czar in Russia and build the unions in New York, to resisting pogroms and fighting to the last breath in the Warsaw Ghetto, opposition to persecution, oppression and racism was central to the Jewish heritage.

We call on Jewish people around the world, including those inside Israel, to join us in reclaiming that heritage. Reject racism and genocide. Reject the Zionist state, the very concept of which is racist to the core. Take the hand of our Palestinian sisters and brothers. Defend their righteous struggle to restore their stolen land and build a democratic Palestine.

This is not an impossible quest. Remember how mighty the settler state in South Africa seemed, only a little over two decades ago? The racist regime there was buttressed by US -- and Israeli -- support. But it was battered by the unstoppable political and military struggle against apartheid, which gained worldwide support. Apartheid fell, replaced by a new state based on legal equality.

A future of equality for all is possible in Palestine too. Until this future is won, the Palestinian struggle will go on. We stand with that struggle.

Sign on to this statement at http://www.iacenter.org/palestine/jewsinsolidarity/#signon

Initial list of signers:

Toni Arenstein, NY
Dave Axelrod, NJ
Tibby Brooks, NY
Ellen Catalinotto, NY
Sara Catalinotto, NY
Hillel Cohen, Doctor of Public Health, NY
Naomi Cohen, NY
Heather Cottin, Long Island Troops Out Now Coalition, NY
Barbara Dorritie, Teacher, MA
Ellie Dorritie, ret., APWU*, WNY
Rachel Duell, prof., NJ
K. E. Durkin, NY
Sharon Eolis, nurse-practitioner, ret., NY
Shelley Ettinger, NY
Leslie Feinberg, Co-founder, Rainbow Flags for Mumia, NY
Irving Fierstein, artist, NY
Laurie Fierstein, NY
Michele Finkelman, AFSCME L. 215*, NY
Sherry Finkelman, UFT L. 2*, NY
Julie Fry, V-P., Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*, NY
Gavrielle Gemma, NJ
Michael Gimbel, del., NYC Central Labor Council*
Carl Glenn, NJ
Jerome Goldberg, attorney. MI
Marsha Goldberg, NY
Fred Goldstein. NY
Lila Goldstein, Students for Justice for Palestine*, MA
Judy Greenspan, CA
Sue Harris, Ph.D., NY
Joyce Kanowitz, NY
Stevan Kirschbaum, chair, Grievance Comm., USW L. 8751*, MA
Tova Klein, CA
Michael Kramer, I.D.F. veteran, Veterans for Peace, Chap. 021*, NJ
Donna Lazarus, UFT*, NJ
Milt Neidenberg, ret., Teamsters L. 840*, NJ
Frank Neisser, CWA L. 1701, ret.*, MA
Cornelia Rakow, NY
Arthur Rosen, NY
Anita Rosenblithe, AFT*, NY
Malcolm Sacks, Montreal
William Sacks, attorney, NY
Karina Mellos-Schechter. NY
Dave Schechter, NY
Susan Schnur, Transit Union L. 268*, OH
J.R. Singer, Ph.D., NY
David Sole, Pres., UAW L. 2334*, MI
Al Strasburger, NJ
Paul Teitelbaum, International Action Center, AZ
Jill White, EdD, IL
Eddie Yood, NY


*For purposes of identification only.

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network: We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.

We write with grief and rage as we watch the horrifying Israeli air and ground attacks on Gaza. As Jews committed to ending Zionism, the founding ideology of Israel, and all forms of colonialism, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who continue to struggle in the face of these attacks, much as they have against more than 60 years of ethnic cleansing and racism. As Joseph Massad recently wrote, Gaza is in uprising against genocide, and is receiving today the same indifference from the capitals of the West that the rebels in the Warsaw Ghetto received in 1943.

We stand with the hundreds of thousands who have taken the streets in solidarity with Gaza¹s resistance.

We stand with all those who struggle against racism, dispossession and genocide.

We stand with the majority.  We will not be silent on Gaza.

We reject Israel's pretence to act in response to rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas. Israel broke the ceasefire on November 4, 2008, while world attention was focused on US elections.

What the Israeli government calls ``security'' is fundamentally opposed to the real safety of all people living in the region. Residents of Sderot and other towns bordering Gaza have begged the government of Israel to maintain the ceasefire and accused it of ``wasting that period of calm, instead of using it to advance understanding and begin negotiations''. With United States, European Union, and Egyptian collusion, Israel imposed a siege and blockade for over two years, intentionally preventing its economic recovery, degrading its civilian infrastructure, attempting to dismantle self-governance, and preventing travel and obstructing humanitarian aid.

That siege, which was and continues to be a gross violation of human rights and a crime against humanity, led directly to the present escalation. As of today, Israeli forces have killed over 700 people and injured thousands. Israel has bombed mosques, universities, police headquarters, roads, office buildings, and residential neighbourhoods and schools, causing indescribable and horrible destruction. This isn¹t defence.  This isn¹t a war between two sides. This is terrorism. This is genocide.

We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.

As Jews, we have an additional responsibility to speak and to act against these despicable acts, because we are heirs to the victims of a genocide, because Israel is claiming to ``defend'' us through the ethnic cleansing of Palestine with the ultimate goal of erasing the Palestinian people, and also because of the role played by the Jewish organisations in the United States and the West in justifying, perpetrating and escalating Israeli state terrorism against Palestinians.

We recall that the violence in Gaza today is the inevitable outcome -- the latest link in a chain of terror -- that results from an ideology based on the dispossession of the indigenous people of Palestine in favour of European Jews. Just as the ideology of White racism was the backbone of apartheid in South Africa, so the ideology of Zionism explains the history of violence in Palestine, the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the occupation of the West bank and Gaza in 1967, and the many massacres that Israel perpetrated periodically since 1948 to the present one in Gaza. The maintenance of the Israeli state as a state founded on and perpetuating Jewish privilege requires the denial and attempted annihilation of the Palestinian people.

We recall that unless this ideology is delegitimised and defeated, the violence in the Middle East will continue to escalate until either Palestinian or Jewish existence in the area ends, and possibly both. Racism and colonial domination will never be the basis for peace.

We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.

We insist on an immediate end to Israel¹s assault, a complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces, a complete and unconditional end to the siege, and the restoration and extension of the ceasefire. We insist on the establishment of a special international tribunal for investigating the crimes of the Israeli leadership of this siege.

We affirm the urgent need for Jewish resistance to Zionism and stand committed to the extrication of Jewish history, politics, community, and culture from the grip of Zionism.

We situate our work in a long legacy of Jewish people throughout history who have stood in solidarity with others in common struggles against all forms of racism, empire building, and repression. As a growing sector of the Palestine solidarity movement, we call upon all Jews of conscience to take a strong stand against the current escalation of violence, as well as the murderous ground upon which Zionist ideology and the Israeli state has been constructed.

We call on Jews to put an end to complicity, to break the silence, and to confront the fallacy of a Zionist consensus. We call on anti-Zionist Jews around the world to organise in escalation against the massacres on Gaza, and to continue to support Palestinian resistance through campaigns of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and through actions that target their own governments' financial and political support for Israel.

We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.

WE call on you to JOIN US in continued ACTION!

Mobilise creative actions to disrupt and confront pro-Israel events,  propaganda and businesses. Zionists and their supporters should not have their events, propaganda or business contributions in support of Israel go without confrontation. Creative actions are those which use creative tactics, visuals and art to convey a message about the reason for the disruption such as die-ins, projections of images on the outside of Zionist organizations, public art displays, street theatre, etc.

Targets may include Zionist organizations that have been mobilising a lot of support for this attack, events to fundraise for the siege on  Gaza, or billboards or poster campaigns to justify Israeli violence.

Other ways to take action

  • Join or organise emergency protests and direct actions in partnership with Palestine solidarity and social justice organisations in your area.
  • Donate money for Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) cargo of medical supplies and their delivery. IJAN is partnering with MECA in collecting funds and organising pressure to allow over 5 tons of medical supplies into Gaza through the Rafah border with Egypt. The current conditions in Gaza medical facilities are dire. Please DONATE to MECA now!  In the next week IJAN will send an update out about the shipment, please be prepared to organise any necessary pressure in response to this update.
  • Contact government officials and call on them to act by denouncing the attacks and demanding an immediate cease-fire.
  • Flood Israeli embassies and consulates with letters and calls decrying the attacks. Find contact info for Israeli embassies around the world.
  • Continue circulating the petition in support of UN General Assembly President Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann who has spoken out to condemn Israeli "Apartheid" and call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.  He has received death threats for his statement.
  • Call to Jewish students: Efforts are underway to make visible and support the activism of Jewish students who condemn Israel's actions in Gaza and who support the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
  • Join the "Jewish Students Condemn Israel, Support BDS Campus Campaigns!" Facebook cause. Email students@ijsn.net to be added to the contact list for when IJAN student campaigns are launched and send reports for the website about Jewish student participation in Gaza solidarity actions.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) is a growing international network of Jews whose Jewish identities are not based on Zionism but on a plurality of histories and experiences. We share a commitment to participation in the legacy of struggles against colonisation and imperialism. As such, we struggle against Zionism and its manifestation in the State of Israel¹s historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the confiscation of their land.
ijan@ijsn.net http://www.ijsn.net

Brian Klug: Not in my name

By Brian Klug

Guardian, January 9, 2009 -- In any conflict between peoples, there is a time for balancing the books, for placing facts neatly in the debit and credit columns, for issuing measured statements about the rights and wrongs on both sides. But not in the midst of one-sided carnage. The only decent thing to feel at the present time is outrage. The only thing for decent people to do right now is to condemn, without reserve or qualification, the brutal campaign that the Israeli military is waging against the population of Gaza. Every if and but derogates from decency.

Earlier this week, my synagogue sent its members an email containing details of two rallies in support of Israel "which we would urge you to support". No ifs and buts here, just solid support for the perpetrator in the midst of the horror it is perpetrating. Is it possible to go further in the opposite direction to decency?

Attached was a flyer for a "Mass Rally in Support of Israel" organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, with "the support of the major organisations of UK Jewry", to be held in London this weekend. The flyer proclaims: "End Hamas terror!" No ifs and buts here either. No hint at the unspeakable state terror being unleashed, day after day, by the Israeli military. It defies belief.

So, let me place on record the following fact: the board does not speak for all British Jews and certainly not for this one. Nor does the so-called Leadership Council, nor any of the organisations associated with this misbegotten event. None of them represents me or the Judaism that I cherish and which leads me to say as follows: I condemn utterly the military offensive by the government of Israel against the people of Gaza. The loss of any human life, on whatever side of this conflict, is a terrible thing. At this juncture, though, my heart is with the Palestinians on the ground in the midst of their misery. And I extend my hand to those Israelis who are speaking out against their own government.

[Brian Klug is a founder of the UK-based Independent Jewish Voices.]

American Jews for a Just Peace: Open letter to Israeli soldiers

Introduction

If you are Jewish, please sign the following statement, which we hope to be able to publish soon in Israeli newspapers. We encourage organisations to sign by sending us an email to campaigns@ajjp.org. Sign at http://www.ajjp.org/campaigns/signStatement.php?cid=15&sort=country

Jews call on Israeli soldiers to stop war crimes

We Jews in the international community call upon Israeli soldiers to raise the Black Flag of Illegality over the operations against the people of Gaza.

We refuse to remain silent while Israeli leaders force Israeli soldiers to commit war crimes: crimes against humanity for which they will one day be called to account. Israeli soldiers of conscience can, and must, stop this dangerous, illegal, and immoral war.

This criminal activity does nothing to advance the health and welfare of Jews. Rather, from Sderot to Sydney, from Ashkelon to Amsterdam, we will all benefit when there is justice for Palestinians.

Therefore, we call on you to use all measures possible to stop these atrocities against the Palestinian people. Flagrantly illegal orders must not simply be disobeyed, but actively and effectively opposed.

We members of the international Jewish community call on you, the Israeli soldiers of conscience, to halt the Israeli war machine, which only you can, and must, do.

Organisational sponsor

American Jews for a Just Peace, united States
European Jews for a Just Peace, Europe
ICAHD-USA, United States
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israel
Italian Network of Jews against the Occupation (Rete-ECO), Italy
Jewish Voice for Peace, United States
Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, United States
Jewish Women for Justice in Israel/Palestine (Boston, MA), United States
Jews Against the Occupation (Central NJ), United States
Jews Against the Occupation - NYC, United States
Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Sweden
Jews for Justice for Palestine, Britain
Los Angeles Jews For Peace, United States
Not In My Name - SA, South Africa
People of Faith CT, United States
Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, United States
Tikkun Community Chicago, United States
Tucson Women in Black, United States
Visions of Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine, United States
Women in Black Union Square NYC, United States

Letter by prominent British Jews on Israel's war on Gaza

The Guardian, Saturday, January 10, 2009

We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin. When we see the dead and bloodied bodies of young children, the cutting off of water, electricity and food, we are reminded of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto. When Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, talked of putting Gazans "on a diet" and the deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, talked about the Palestinians experiencing "a bigger shoah"
(holocaust), this reminds us of Governor General Hans Frank in Nazi-occupied Poland, who spoke of "death by hunger".

The real reason for the attack on Gaza is that Israel is only willing to deal with Palestinian quislings. The main crime of Hamas is not terrorism but its refusal to accept becoming a pawn in the hands of the Israeli occupation regime in Palestine.

The decision last month by the EU council to upgrade relations with Israel, without any specific conditions on human rights, has encouraged further Israeli aggression. The time for appeasing Israel is long past. As a first step, Britain must withdraw the British ambassador to Israel and, as with apartheid South Africa, embark on a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Ben Birnberg, Prof Haim Bresheeth, Deborah Fink, Bella Freud, Tony Greenstein, Abe Hayeem, Prof Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Dr Les Levidow, Prof Yosefa Loshitzky, Prof Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes, Prof Jonathan Rosenhead, Seymour Alexander, Martin Birnstingl, Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Ruth Clark, Judith Cravitz, Mike Cushman, Angela Dale, Merav Devere, Greg Dropkin, Angela Eden, Sarah Ferner, Alf Filer, Mark Findlay, Sylvia Finzi, Bella Freud, Tessa van Gelderen, Claire Glasman, Ruth Hall, Adrian Hart, Alain Hertzmann, Abe Hayeem, Rosamene Hayeem, Anna Hellmann, Selma James, Riva Joffe, Yael Kahn, Michael Kalmanovitz, Ros Kane, Prof. Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Mark Krantz, Bernice Laschinger, Pam Laurance, Beryl Maizels, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Marks, Martine Miel, Diana Neslen, O Neumann, Susan Pashkoff, Hon. Juliet Peston, Renate Prince, Roland Rance, Sheila Robin, Ossi Ron, Manfred Ropschitz, John Rose, Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, Leon Rosselson, Michael Sackin, Ian Saville, Amanda Sebestyen, Sam Semoff, Prof. Ludi Simpson, Viv Stein, Inbar Tamari, Ruth Tenne, Norman Traub, Eve Turner, Tirza Waisel, Karl Walinets, Renee Walinets, Stanley Walinets, Philip Ward, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Ruth Williams, Jay Woolrich, Ben Young, Myk Zeitlin, Androulla Zucker, John Zucker

Statement condemning Israel's attacks on Gaza by Independent Australian Jewish Voices

Monday, January 5, 2009

The following statement reflects only the views of those signatories whose names appear below. Signatories of other statements or authors of articles and blogs on our IAJV website are not to be taken as endorsing this statement.

---------------------

We are Australian Jews who join thousands in Israel and around the world condemning ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Together with Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, we condemn the current war as "inhuman, superfluous" and "abominable".

While Israel has the right to protect its citizens and to demand an end to the crime of Palestinian rockets that target civilians, this cannot be used as a pretext for the grossly disproportionate military assault on Gaza because it was Israel that violated the fragile truce on November 4, 2008. Furthermore, Israel ignored Hamas' diplomatic initiatives to re-establish the cease-fire since it expired on December 19.

The crude home-made rockets have caused relatively few Israeli casualties. By contrast, Israeli bombardment has caused [at the time of this statement's release] around 400 deaths and 2000 casualties including a large proportion of women and children. The bombardment has included civilian targets such as a university, television station, factories, mosques, ministry offices, parliament and refugee camps. Since Hamas is a legitimate, democratically elected political party that controls the government, security-related institutions are also civilian targets including police departments and uniformed officers.

History has demonstrated that military punishment has never broken the spirit of a people or produced peace. On the contrary, the assault on the population of Gaza will only inflame hatred of Jews and of the State of Israel while doing nothing to protect the lives of Israelis. Above all, it will undermine the prospects of joining with peace-seeking Palestinians to negotiate a lasting, just solution to the conflict.

The war on the population of Gaza comes after the Israeli blockade that had already created a severe humanitarian crisis under which the Palestinians suffered from lack of food, electricity, medicines, hospital equipment and other basic necessities of life. The blockade was condemned by the UN as a violation of international law and, like the massive Israeli air-strikes, constitutes illegal collective punishment prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

We call for an immediate end to attacks on civilians by Palestinians and Israelis. However, since Palestinians have no means of self-defence against the most powerful military force in the Middle East, we particularly call on Israel to end its brutal assault on the vulnerable Palestinian people of Gaza and to reconsider its rejection of the UN Security Council's call for a cease-fire.

Israel has refused to accept Hamas' consistent offer of negotiations since its election win in 2006. There can be no solution to the conflict without Israel being a willing partner to dialogue.

---------------------

Click HERE for current total

1. Abarbanel, Avigail
2. Asoulin, Eran
3. Balint, Dr. Anthony
4. Bancroft, Russell
5. Bartels, Dr. Ditta
6. Bamberger, Judy
7. Beauchamp, Alice
8. Beinart, Liza
9. Belnick, Judith
10. Benjamin, Professor Andrew FAHA
11. Bersten, Bruce
12. Bersten, Robyn
13. Berzin, Pat
14. Bilander, Celina
15. Bilander, Berish
16. Bilander, David
17. Bilander, Isy
18. Binder, Geoffrey
19. Blay, Ben
20. Blay, Danny
21. Bloch, Dr. Barbara
22. Blooman, Geoffrey
23. Bloomberg, Karen
24. Bloustien, Dr Dave
25. Blustein, Shiffi
26. Bokor, Imre
27. Boniface, Harry
28. Braun, Leo
29. Briskman, Linda
30. Brook, Steve
31. Brull, Michael
32. Buckrich, Judith
33. Buckstein, Ron
34. Bush, Jenny
35. Carleton, Jenny
36. Carleton, Susie
37. Carey, Allan
38. Cass, Moss (former ALP)
39. Chaitman, Lynn
40. Clemens, R.
41. Cohen, Harry AM
42. Cohen, Ian MLC
43. Cowen, David
44. Cox, Eva
45. Crafti, Dr Naomi
46. Dahlstrom, Bronwyn
47. Dapin, Mark
48. D’Aprano, Leonie
49. Dean, Tamara
50. DeSaxe, Mannie
51. di Suvero, Henry
52. Douglas, Greg
53. Dowse, Sara
54. Dryen, Fred
55. Dryen, Robyn
56. Dwyer, Joan
57. Ebel, John
58. Edwards, Julia
59. Edwards, Julie
60. Elson, Shane
61. Epstein, Jonathan
62. Esdaile, Peter
63. Fagueret, Corinne
64. Faire, Shoshana
65. Faye, Dr. Esther
66. Fine, Beverley
67. Fink, Michelle
68. Flax, Gabrielle
69. Fox, Louise
70. Fox, Mim
71. Fraser, Anne
72. Freadman, Anne
73. Frenkel, Professor Steve
74. Fried, Nadia
75. Galbally, Rhonda
76. Gold, Suzie
77. Goldberg, Aaron
78. Goldflam, Russell
79. Goldman, Arnold
80. Goodman, Professor David S G
81. Gordon, Michael
82. Grant, Dr Joan
83. Grossman, Associate Professor Michele
84. Harris, Marshall
85. Hermolin, David
86. Helfand, Sylvia
87. Horsburgh, Jennifer
88. Horsburgh, Maurice
89. Imber, Madelaine
90. Jacobs, Margaret
91. Jaivin Linda
92. Kamerman, Sol
93. Kay, Hanna
94. Kaye, Dr. David
95. Kaye, Margaret
96. Kitching, Professor Gavin
97. Kosky, Jan
98. Kosky, Yvonne
99. Krantz, Katie
100. Lambert, John
101. Langsan, Vic
102. Leber, Sylvie
103. Legge, Bill
104. Leigh, Sue
105. Leonzini, Victor
106. Levey, Dr. Geoffrey Brahm
107. Levy, Dr James
108. Levy, Valerie
109. Lindell, Geoffrey
110. Loewenstein, Antony
111. Loewenstein, Jeff
112. Loewenstein, Violet
113. Marasifgan, Maria
114. Markiewicz, Anne
115. Macredie, Rochelle
116. Marin, Paul
117. McLean, Jean
118. Midalia, Dan
119. Midalia, Harry
120. Midalia, Leon
121. Miller, Jamie
122. Moore, Stefan
123. Morris, Dr. Alan
124. Morris, Jenny
125. Munz, Martin
126. Nahvi, Emma
127. Nathani, Sharon
128. Neering, Ian
129. Nestle, Joan
130. Nimni, Ephraim
131. Nissen, Alex
132. Nissim, Rivkah
133. Otterman, Michael
134. Pataki, Tamas Dr
135. Philips, Michael
136. Pogos, Abe
137. Porzsolt, Vivienne
138. Potipa, Naomi
139. Raber, Richard
140. Rantzen, Vicki
141. Reed, Ann
142. Reed, Karl
143. Rich, Dr Joe
144. Riemer, Andrew
145. Romer, Marta
146. Ross, Dr. Edna
147. Rothfield, Andrew
148. Rothfield, David
149. Rothfield, Pam
150. Rubinstein, Keren
151. Rubner, Paul
152. Rudner, Allan
153. Salom Margot
154. Samorzewski, Meika Loofs
155. Sarkadi, Andrew
156. Schenk, Alan
157. Schetzer, Louis
158. Schonstein, Dr Eva
159. Seeligson, Bella
160. Segall, David
161. Shapiro-Liu, Rosemary
162. Shimmin, Dr Nick
163. Silverstein, Jordy
164. Singer, Esther
165. Singerman, Deborah
166. Slezak, Dr Peter
167. Smit, Jack H
168. Solomon, Robyn
169. Sosnowski, Marika
170. Starfield, Sue
171. Steen, Marc
172. Stein, Yasmin
173. Stockman, Lanie
174. Stratton, Jon
175. Tambour, Anna
176. Tillman, Clive
177. Tropp Fred
178. Tsukasov, Rene
179. Urbinder, David
180. Varga, Susan
181. Vorsay, Avril
182. Walton, Peter Leman
183. Wand, Leslie
184. Wasowski, Vera
185. Weisser, David
186. White, Kevin Judah
187. Witton, Nic
188. Witton, Ron
189. Wolkenberg, Gaby
190. Zagor, Matthew
191. Zilko, Julie
192. Zion, Deborah
193. Zion, Lawrie
194. Zyngier, David Dr
Plus 8 Anonymous.

Palestinian, Jewish and local activists shut down Israeli Consulate (San Francisco)

Thursday, January 15, 2009    San Francisco

 

unity

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2009

Contact: Harris Kornstein, (510) 343-6065
Raw video, audio, and photos available.
Arrested participants available for interviews
.


SAN FRANCISCO – A group of nine activists – Palestinian, anti-Zionist Jewish, and immigrant rights activists – blocked the entrance of the Israeli Consulate beginning at 8:30am today, in non-violent protest of Israeli apartheid and its current attacks on Gaza. The activists chained themselves together using handcuffs and locks, locked the doors to the building, and were joined by a diverse rally of over 40 supporters. The action was organised jointly by local Palestinians and Jews in support of: an immediate ceasefire; the opening of land, sea, and air borders to allow in emergency supplies; and an end to US financial and political support for Israel.

“For the past sixty years, Israel has tried to eliminate the Palestinian people by forcing them out of their homes and off their lands, starving them, and killing them”, said Maria Poblet, an immigrants’ rights organizer.  “The recent blockades and attacks in Gaza are not an exception, but a brutal reminder that killing civilians is a regular part of Israeli strategy.”

Linked arm in arm, Bay Area Jews, Palestinians and social-justice activists aim to increase pressure on Israel and its supporters in the face of the 21-day siege on Gaza and the growing humanitarian crisis.   All nine activists were arrested after about two hours, charged with trespassing, and allowed to leave.  This action is one in a series that has moved from Toronto, to New York, to Los Angeles.

Organisers assert that the current situation in Gaza is not a conflict between two peoples of equivalent capacities, nor is Israel’s motive self-defense. “For the past year and a half, Israel has enacted strangling sanctions under the guise of targeting Hamas, collectively starving the entire population of food, water, medicine, and other vital resources,” stated Monadel Herzallah of the United States Palestinian Community Network. “The recent air and ground strikes are another brutal blow to Gazans who are already trapped in a concentration camp of despair and growing poverty.”

Activists also spoke out against the US pledge of more than $3 billion each year in unrestricted aid to Israel.  “Israel’s use of US aid and military equipment violates our own laws.  We can choose to uphold US and international laws, or ignore them as we are now doing at the peril of our conscience and our place among all of humanity”, said Nadeen Elshorafa of the General Union of Palestinian Students.

Organizer Sara Kershnar of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network summed up the sentiment: “Today, as Palestinians, Jews and our united allies, we make our position clear: we are on one side, the side of justice; Israel, an apartheid state, is on the other.”

Press coverage (so far):

 

Supporters

 

 

Nadeen

arrests


More photos available here.
For more information about IJAN in the bay area, contact bay.ijsn@gmail.com .

[From the IJAN website.]

 

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