Jews For Palestinian Right of Return

I signed the following statement, alongside many inspiring Jews worldwide, because the Palestinian right of return and ongoing displacement of Palestinians is a key, unresolved issue in the Middle East. To learn more see this website:

“For Palestinians, the right to return home and the right to live in dignity and equality in their own land are not any less important than the right to live free of military occupation.”
–Prof. Saree Makdisi[1]
For more than a century, Zionists have sought to construct a “Jewish state” through forced removal of the indigenous Palestinian people.

In 1948, this state was established through the Nakba (Catastrophe): erasure and occupation of more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages, dispossession of over 750,000 Palestinians, and a terror campaign of which the massacre at Deir Yassin is but the most infamous example.

Since 1967, Israel has also occupied and colonized the remainder of historic Palestine. Today, this relentless ethnic cleansing continues — armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies — on both sides of the 1948 “Green Line.” As a cumulative result, seventy percent of Palestinians are in exile, the world’s largest refugee population.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Gaza, where Israel inflicts particularly brutal collective punishment on 1.7 million people — most of them refugees — for defiantly resisting expulsion from their homes throughout historic Palestine.”Pick a point, any point, along [Gaza's] 25-mile coastline,” writes Gaza City resident Lara Aburamadan, “and you’re seven or so miles — never more — from the other side. The other side is where my grandparents were born, in a village that has since become someone else’s country, off limits to me. You call it Israel. I call it the place where the bombs come from.”[2]

To hide these crimes and shield itself from their consequences, the Zionist regime officially denies the Nakba, the ethical equivalent of Holocaust denial. It has even authorized legislation to penalize those who memorialize the Nakba — a step toward criminalizing its observance altogether.

As it is for all colonized peoples, liberation means reversing dispossession. “The Palestinian cause,” writes Dr. Haidar Eid in Gaza, “is the right of return for all refugees and nothing less.”[3]Return — one of the key demands of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign — is affirmed in U.N. resolution 194, but derives from the principle of universal human rights and, as such, cannot be renounced or abandoned by any body or representative; it inalienably attaches to Palestinians, both individually and collectively.

Despite this, even some who criticize Israel’s 1967 occupation claim that Palestinian return is “unrealistic.”However, solidarity means unconditional support for the just aims of those resisting oppression. As Palestinian journalist-activist Maath Musleh explains: “If you think that [return] is not possible, then you are really not in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.”[4]

Some also object that refugees’ return would mean an end to the “Jewish state.” But supporters of social justice must ask themselves how they can defend a state whose very existence depends on structural denial of Palestinian rights.

Recently, more than a hundred leading Palestinian activists reaffirmed their opposition “to all forms of racism and bigotry, including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and other forms of bigotry directed at anyone, and in particular people of color and indigenous peoples everywhere.”[5]

Such racism and bigotry is reflected precisely in Zionism’s attempt to erase the Palestinian people, a century long campaign that dishonors the memory of Jewish suffering and resistance in Europe.
The moral response is clear: “There is one geopolitical entity in historic Palestine,” writes Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah. “Israel must not be allowed to continue to entrench its apartheid, racist and colonial rule throughout that land.”[6]

As Jews of conscience, we call on all supporters of social justice to stand up for Palestinian Right of Return and a democratic state throughout historic Palestine — “From the River to the Sea” — with equal rights for all. The full measure of justice, upon which the hopes of all humanity depends, requires no less.

 

Initial signers

List in formation; affiliations listed for identification only

 

To sign as an individual or organization, e-mail jfpror@gmail.com

 

Max Ajl, Writer and activist; Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine

 

Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Switzerland

 

Max Blumenthal, Journalist and author

 

Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Filmmaker, photographer and film studies scholar

 

Lenni Brenner, Author and anti-war activist

 

Mike Cushman, Convenor, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)

 

Sonia Fayman, French Jewish Union for Peace; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network France

 

Sherna Berger Gluck, Founding member US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign

 

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Coordinator, Fellowship of Reconciliation Peacewalks, Mural Arts in Palestine and Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence

 

Hector Grad, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Spain)

 

Abraham Greenhouse, Blogger, Electronic Intifada

 

Tony Greenstein, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)

 

Jeff Halper, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

 

Stanley Heller, Host of “The Struggle” TV News

 

Tikva Honig-Parnass, Former member of the Zionist armed forces (1948); author of False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine

 

Adam Horowitz, Co-Editor, Mondoweiss.net

 

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK

 

David Klein, Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

 

Dennis Kortheuer, Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign; Dump Veolia LA

 

David Letwin, Activist and writer; Gaza Freedom March

 

Michael Letwin, Co-Founder, Labor for Palestine; Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

 

Antony Loewenstein, Australian journalist and author

 

Barbara Lubin, Executive Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance

 

Mike Marqusee, Author If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

 

Hajo Meyer, Auschwitz survivor; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

 

Linda Milazzo, Participatory journalist and educator

 

Prof. Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist

 

Miko Peled, Author of The General’s Son

 

Karen Pomer, Granddaughter of Henri B. van Leeuwen, Dutch anti-Zionist leader and Bergen-Belsen survivor

 

Diana Ralph, Assistant Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices-Canada

 

Dorothy Reik, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

 

Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin, President, International League for Human Rights (German Section FIDH); Founding member of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace – EJJP Germany

 

Rachel Roberts, Civil rights attorney and writer

 

Ilana Rossoff, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

 

Carol K. Smith, Activist and civil rights attorney

 

Lia Tarachansky, Director, Seven Deadly Myths

 

Hadas Thier, Contributing author of The Struggle for Palestine; Israeli-born daughter and grand-daughter of Nazi Holocaust survivors

 

Dr. Abraham Weizfeld, Montréal; Jewish People’s Liberation Organization

 

Sherry Wolf, Author and public speaker; International Socialist Organization; Adalah-NY

 

Marcy Winograd, Former Congressional Peace Candidate; public school teacher

 

Dr. Roger van Zwanenberg, Non-Executive Director, Pluto Books Ltd.

—————-

Notes

[1] Saree Makdisi, “If Not Two States, Then One,” N.Y. Times, December 5, 2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/opinion/global/if-not-two-states-then-one.html?_r=0

[2] Lara Aburamadan, “Trapped in Gaza,” N.Y. Times, November 16, 2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/opinion/trapped-in-gaza.html

[3] Haidar Eid, “The Palestinian Left and RoR,” ZMag, October 8, 2012,http://www.zcommunications.org/the-palestinian-left-and-ror-by-haidar-eid

[4] Maath Musleh, “Communique: Palestine #4 Brief Thoughts on International Solidarity With Our Struggle in Palestine,” September 8, 2012, http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/blog/brief-thoughts-on-international-solidarity-with-our-struggle-in-palestine/

[5] “The struggle for Palestinian rights is incompatible with any form of racism or bigotry: a statement by Palestinians,” Electronic Intifada, October 23, 2012, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/struggle-palestinian-rights-incompatible-any-form-racism-or-bigotry-statement

[6] Ali Abunimah, “Mahmoud Abbas’ real ‘accomplishment’ was not the UN vote on Palestine,” Aljazeera, December 2, 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/2012122165114321474.html. See also, “The Way Forward for Palestine Solidarity, June 23, 2010, http://al-awdany.org/2010/07/statement-the-way-forward-for-palestine-solidarity-please-endorse/

22 comments
  • John Salisbury

    Veritable Roll of Honour

  • proftaheri

    We must know the roots of the Occupation if we are to ever free Filastin from it.

    And its roots, unfortunately, run deep.

    Before 1948, Filastin was ruled by a series of empires. "Palestine" was the name given to southern Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria) in the second century by the Romans, in an attempt to break the Jewish adherence to the land. This was a century after the Temple (Beit al-Maqdis) was destroyed and more than a million Jews massacred.

    The Jews stopped fighting the Romans only after they had no more fighting men standing. Conservative Christian attitudes toward the Jews and Filastin can be epitomized by the words of Evangelist William Eugene Blackstone, who proclaimed in 1891 that “the Jews never gave up their title to Palestine… They never abandoned the land. They made no treaty, they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans.”

    This is what we are up against.

    The Jews persisted through the centuries under the various empires, after the Arab invasion of 635AD (which the Jews fought alongside the Byzantines), and after the Crusade massacres of the 11th Century, which decimated much of their population.

    Few Filastinun know that Jewish customs, religion, prayers, poetry, holidays, and virtually every walk of life, documented for thousands of years—all revolve around Filastin and al-Quds. They pray for al-Quds in every prayer, after every meal, in every holiday, at every wedding, in every celebration. The whole Jewish religion is about Filastin and al-Quds. Western expressions such as “The Promised Land,” and “The Holy Land,” did not pop out of void. They have been part of Western knowledge and tradition dating back to the beginning of Christianity and earlier.

    After the Crusades, the Jews lived peacefully with Arabs, often in the very same villages, as in Pki'in, in the Jalil, until the Zionist immigration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Article 6 of the PLO Charter calls for the acceptance of all Jews present in Filastin prior to the Zionist immigration. These Jews were simply another ethnic group in a region composed of Sunnis, Shiites, Jews, Druz, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Circassians, Samarians, and more. Some of these groups, like the Druz, Circassians, Samarians, and an increasing number of Christians, are actually loyal to the Zionist Entity.

    Incidentally, genetic studies show that the Zionist immigrants are closely related to groups like the Samarians who have lived in Filastin for thousands of years—a fact that Zionists view as a moral stamp of approval on their occupation of Filastin.

    Few Filastinun realize it, but it will take a lot to dislodge the Occupation from Filastin, and, as described in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” learning the enemy is an integral part of planning the struggle.

  • Pingback: Jews backing academic boycott against Israel — Antony Loewenstein

  • http://secondsightblog.net/ John Candido

    What an exciting initiative Antony. Marvelous campaign. You are a true patriot of Israel Antony. You have put up with a mountain of torrid abuse over many, many years, and this was completely undeserved. I wish for the complete success of this campaign as well as the growing success of the BDS campaign against Israeli government policies.