Five members of the SPSC are on trial, charged with “racially aggravated conduct” for protesting against the Israeli government backed Jerusalem Quartet in Edinburgh. We publish this statement of solidarity from anti-Zionist Jews.
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) Statement, 11 August 2009
We are writing to express our unwavering support for the action taken by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) activists to protest the Israeli state sponsored Jerusalem Quartet performance at the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival.
This protest was undertaken in support of the call from Palestinian civil society for full boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel for their vast violation of Palestinian rights and ethnic cleansing. The consistent actions taken by the SPSC in support of this call and to challenge Israeli apartheid demonstrates the depth of their commitment to anti-racist politics and organizing.
As a Jewish network committed to justice and a full recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, we reject the false premise that a challenge to the injustice of Israeli apartheid is a “racially motivated” act targeting Jewish people. It is in fact the premise that Israel represents all Jewish people that is a racist equation. This equation has justified the establishment and maintenance of a brutal Israeli regime in Palestine guilty of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and, with the latest attack on and blockade of Gaza, genocide. This equation is the only one that has led to anti-Israel attacks on Jewish institutions. Demonstrating against Israel is not the same as demonstrating against Jews. To claim otherwise is to fuel the misperception and violent consequences of this dangerous equation.
Not all Zionists are Jewish and not all Jews are Zionist. A growing number of Jews are speaking out on the violence being done in our name and on the attempt to justify it by exploiting the persecution of our ancestors. The Jewish British MP Gerald Kaufman spoke in anguish while the massacres in Gaza were taking place: “My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.” We share and echo his denunciation. The history of British and European anti-Jewish persecution cannot be an excuse for British and European collusion with the persecution of the Palestinian people.
As Jews for whom the State of Israel does not speak, we commend the actions of the Scottish PSC. In these actions we see a consistent commitment to anti-racist politics and practice. We trust such consistency; it is only through the consistent and unrelenting commitment to anti-racism, and through recognition of the humanity of all people, can the safety and rights of any people be maintained.
We denounce the perpetuation of hatred and violence by governments of the UK and other parts of Europe that participated in and permitted centuries of prejudice and persecution of the Jews of Europe and that now colludes with the racism of the Israeli State. We further denounce the targeting of those whose stand against all forms of racism, including those perpetrated against the Palestinian people. We see a familiar silence from these governments as crimes against the people of Palestine escalate, and we are reminded that while many stood against it, others stood for and many stood aside during the life and death struggle against European fascism and genocide of the last century.
True solidarity with the Jewish history of persecution in Europe means solidarity with the people of Palestine. This solidarity honors histories of persecution and is the only one that can lead to justice in Palestine. Justice is the only prospect for peace and equity, and the only prospect of an end to the threat that Israel poses to all living there. It is the responsibility of any government committed to equality, justice and democracy to challenge ethnically-motivated State repression and apartheid and to not only allow but applaud those who have the courage to confront it.
The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (UK, United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, Morocco, Israel)