IAJV Gaza update

The following letter was sent yesterday to the Independent Australian Jewish Voices email list:

Dear friends,

The situation in Gaza has continued to deteriorate and nothing in our original statement has been shown to be unjustified by subsequent events. Only the numbers of dead and injured have changed to around double our figures while official excuses rehearsed by the media appear even more indefensible. The dire humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli blockade is now catastrophic with the ongoing military assault.

Accordingly, our campaign to gather signatures for our statement continues and we invite you to sign in case you have not already done so. You may email us at iajv99@gmail.com or use the online form at the IAJV website.

The list currently stands at 173 and may be seen here.

The statement and signatures have generated stories in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald and around the world.

Signatory and author Linda Jaivin’s letter in The Australian is another important indication of dissenting Jewish opinion and the response to efforts at misrepresentation:

There is undoubted difficulty sorting through the welter of conflicting claims during this war. As before, we provide links to just a few sources that we think help give a clearer picture of the situation:

1. Brian Klug of the British Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) has a statement ‘Not In My Name’ in The Guardian.

Important local opinion articles:

2. Sara Dowse, Shocking cynicism of a poisoned homeland, in the Sydney Morning Herald.

3. Dennis Altman, Road less travelled, in The Age.

Other important pieces are listed at the bottom of this message.

As our list of signatures grows, we will continue to press the Jewish and wider communities and media to exert pressure on political leaders to make every effort to stop the bloodshed.

Apart from the urgent concern for Palestinians, Jews might reflect on the consequences for themselves and their traditional anxieties. Today, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that many of the letters received have been anti-Semitic, an outcome that is just as we predicted. Signing our statement is one modest way of showing that being Jewish does not mean silence or uncritical support for the State of Israel.

We look forward to your support in doing whatever we can to help end the current crisis. Towards this end, we have already received some funding but it is currently insufficient to enable us to realize our plans to bring invited visitors such as leading Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery to Australia, as well as Haaretz journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, as we had indicated. Israeli peace activist and writer Jeff Halper is coming in March. If you would like to assist, our website has a facility for making donations here.

Best wishes for now,

Peter Slezak
Antony Loewenstein
Eran Asoulin
Jim Levy

More articles of interest:

1. Jim Holstun and Joanna Tinker, Israel’s fabricated rocket crisis, The Electronic Intifada,

2. Already suffering from shortages of medicines and supplies from the blockade, hospitals in Gaza have been described by one foreign doctor as “drowning in bodies.” The CBS News online report is a rare glimpse of the tragedy when most media have been kept out of Gaza by the Israeli government:

3. Amira Hass in Ha’aretz on infrastructures near breaking point.

4. Saree Makdisi, The Electronic Intifada:

5. Azmi Keshawi and James Hider in Times Online: ‘We’re wading in death, blood and amputees. Pass it on – shout it out’