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Date

January 10, 2009

A call from IJAN

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 Gaza’s 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 pretense 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 U.S. 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 cease-fire 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 on Gaza 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 neighborhoods, and schools, causing indescribable and horrible destruction. This isn’t defense. This isn’t 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 organizations 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 favor 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 delegitimized 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 Israel’s 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 organize 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.

JOIN US in continued ACTION !

>> Mobilize 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 theater, etc. Targets may include Zionist organizations that have been mobilizing 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 organize emergency protests and direct actions in partnership with Palestine solidarity and social justice organizations 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 organizing 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 organize 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 colonization and imperialism. As such, we struggle against Zionism and its manifestation in the State of Israel’s historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the confiscation of their land.

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

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On the Future of Israel and Palestine

An Interview with Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky

By FRANK BARAT

Barat: Thanks for accepting this interview. Firstly I would like to ask if you are working on something at the moment that you would like to let us know about?

Ilan Pappé: I am completing several books. The first is a concise history of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the other is on the Palestinian minority in Israel and one on the Arab Jews. I am completing an edited volume comparing the South Africa situation to that of Palestine

Noam Chomsky: The usual range of articles, talks, etc.  No time for major projects right now.

Barat: A British M.P recently said that he had felt a change in the last 5 years regarding Israel. British M.Ps nowadays sign E.D.M (Early Day Motions) condemning Israel in bigger number than ever before and he told us that it was now easier to express criticism towards Israel even when talking on U.S campuses.

Also, in the last few weeks, John Dugard, independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the U.N Human Right Council said that “Palestinian terror ‘inevitable’ result of occupation”, the European parliament adopted a resolution saying that “policy of isolation of the Gaza strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level” and the U.N and the E.U have condemned Israel use of excessive and disproportionate force in the Gaza strip.

Could we interpret that as a general shift in attitude towards Israel?

READ ON

Israel : the only solution

boycott-israel-anim

As we watch helplessly from the sidelines this is the one thing we can do to bring about the downfall of the racist violent and murdering zionist entity.

Click on the logo and you will get the list of the boycotted products and firms.

It worked in South Africa, it can work if we all work together.

Vittorio Arrigoni, Gaza, January 9, 2009

Take some kittens, some tender little moggies in a box”, said Jamal, a surgeon at the Al Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital, while a nurse actually placed a couple of blood-stained cardboard boxes in front of us. “Seal up the box, then jump on it with all your weight and might, until you feel their little bones crunching, and you hear the last muffled little mew.” I stared at the boxes in astonishment, and the doctor continued: “Try to imagine what would happen after such images were circulated. The righteous outrage of public opinion, the complaints of the animal rights organisations…” The doctors went on in this vein, and I was unable to take my eyes off those boxes, sitting at our feet. “Israel trapped hundreds of civilians inside a school as if in a box, including many children, and then crushed them with all the might of its bombs. What were the world’s reactions? Almost nothing. We would have been better off as animals rather than Palestinians, we would have been more protected.”

At this point the doctor leans towards one of the boxes, and takes its lid off in front of me. Inside it are the amputated limbs, legs and arms, some from the knee down, others with the entire femur attached, amputated from the injured at the Al Fakhura United Nations school in Jabalia, which resulted in more than fifity casualties. Pretending to be taking an urgent call, I took my leave of Jamal, actually rushing to the bathroom to bend over and throw up.

A little earlier I’d been involved in a conversation with Dr. Abdel, an ophtalmologist, regarding the rumours that the Israeli Army had been showering us with non-conventional weapons, forbidden by the Geneva Convention, such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous. The very same that the Tsahal Army used in the last Lebanese war, as well as the US air force in Falluja, still violating international norms. In front of Al Auda hospital we witnessed and filmed white phosphorous bombs being used about five hundred metres from where we were, too far to be absolutely certain there were any civilians underneath the Israeli Apaches, but so terribly close to us all the same.

The Geneva Treaty of 1980 forbids white phosphorous being used directly as a war weapon in civilian areas, allowing it only as a smoke screen or for lighting. There’s no doubt that using this weapon in Gaza, a strip of land concentrating the highest population rate in the world, is a crime all on its own. Doctor Abdel told me that at Al Shifa hospital they don’t have the medical and military competence to say for sure whether the wounds they examined on certain corpses were indeed provoked by white phosphorous bullets.

But on his word, in twenty years on the job he had never seen casualties like those now being carried into the ward. He told me about the traumas to the skull, with the fractures to the vomer bone, the jaw, the cheekbones, tear duct, nasal and palatine bones showed signs of the collision of an immense force against the victim’s face. What he finds inexplicable is the total lack of eyeballs, which ought to leave a trace somewhere within the skull even in case of such a violent impact. Instead, we see Palestinian corpses coming into the hospitals without eyes at all, as if someone had removed them surgically before handing them over to the coroner.

Israel has let us know that we’ve been granted a daily 3-hour truce, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. These statements from the Israeli military summit are considered by the people of Gaza as having the same reliability as the Hamas leaders’ declarations that they’ve just provoked a massacre of enemy soldiers. Just to be clear on this point, the soldiers of Tel Aviv’s worse enemy are the very same who fight under the Star of David. Yesterday a war ship off the coast of Gaza’s port picked out a large group of alleged guerrilla fighters from the Palestinian Resistance, moving as a united front around Jabalia. They shot their cannons at them. But as it turned out, they were their own fellow soldiers, with the shooting resulting in three being killed and about twenty injured. No one here believes in the truces that Israel declares, and as it happens, today at 2:00 PM Rafah was under attack by the Israeli helicopters. There was also yet another massacre of children in Jabalia: three little sisters aged 2, 4 and 6 from the Abed Rabbu family were slaughtered. Just half an hour earlier in Jabalia, once again the  Red Crescent hospital’s ambulances were under attack. Eva and Alberto, my ISM colleagues were on board that ambulance and managed to film everything, passing those videos and photos on to all the major media.

Hassan was kneecapped, fresh from mourning the death of his friend Araf, a paramedic who was killed two days ago as he came in aid of the injured in Gaza City. They had stopped to pick up the body of a man languishing in agony in the middle of the road, when they were under fire by about ten shots from an Israeli sniper. One bullet hit Hassan in the knee and the ambulance was filled with holes. We’re now at a death toll of 688, in addition to 3,070 injured, 158 dead children and countless missing. Only yesterday, we counted 83 dead, 80 of which were civilians. Thankfully, the death toll on the Israeli side is still only at 4.

Travelling towards Al Quds hospital, where I’ll be working all night on the ambulances, as I raced along on board one of the very few fearless taxis left, zig-zagging to avoid the bombs, on the corner of one street I saw a group of dirty street urchins with tattered clothes, looking exactly like the “sciuscià” kids of the Italian afterwar period. They threw stones towards the sky with slingshots, at far away and unapproachable enemy who was toying with their lives. This is a crazy metaphor, which could serve as a snapshot of the absurdity of this time and place.

Stay human

Vittorio Arrigoni

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