This letter was published as an advertisement in the New Statesman, 15th January 2009:
Dear Foreign Secretary,
We are writing as concerned Jews who are utterly dismayed by Israel’s actions against the Palestinians.
We object to the misleading representation of this conflict as entirely instigated by Hamas and merely defensive on the part of Israel. Rocket attacks on Israel are unacceptable. But Gaza has been under siege more or less since the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli settlers in 2005, a withdrawal that left Israel in complete control of access by air, land and sea, leaving the Palestinians with no opportunity to create a viable economic life. It was also accompanied within months by an increase of settlers in the West Bank in excess of those withdrawn from Gaza making it clear that at no point was the withdrawal intended to lead to viable statehood for the Palestinians. Ever since the election of Hamas – the result of an internationally authenticated democratic process – Israel has enforced collective punishment on the people of Gaza, action which is illegal under international law.
We urge you therefore not to accept the Israeli rhetoric which presents this carnage as part of the `war on terror,’ but rather to condemn it as unjust violence that is destroying the prospects for peace, as well as jeopardising the position of Jews the world over. In the interests of a just and sustainable solution to the conflict, the UK government has a key role to play. We therefore urge you to press the incoming US government to modify the outgoing administration’s counter-productive and hitherto uncritical support for Israel’s actions and policies.
on behalf of the steering group, plus 191 signatures (making 205 in total)
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Lady Ellen Dahrendorf, Uri Fruchtman, Anthony Isaacs, Lawrence Joffe, Ann Jungman, Anne Karpf, Dr Brian Klug, Anthony Lerman, Professor Jacqueline Rose, Leon Rosselson, Professor Donald Sassoon, Professor Lynne Segal, Henry Stewart