Combatants for Peace – Saturday, Tel Aviv
Between 7000 and 10.000 Israelis protested against the war against Gaza under the banner: “No more deads – Israeli-Palestinian peace, NOW!”.
There is a long tradition among prominent Jewish figures opposing the Israeli state, who found themselves, like Isaac Asimov, “in the odd position of not being a Zionist”.
ON 9 AUGUST 2014, 150 000 protesters marched in London in solidarity with the people of Gaza who were suffering a barbaric assault by Israel which had killed over 2000 people, most of them civilians, and over 400 of them children.
Numerous Jewish groups joined the march. They marched as Jews to show their opposition to the state of Israel, which for 66 years has endlessly stolen Palestinian land and imposed the most brutal occupation and siege on Palestinians. Jewish marchers saying “not in my name” included, the Jewish Bloc, The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Jews Against the war on Gaza.
These Jewish marchers were part of a long and honourable tradition. Many prominent Jewish figures over the past century — from Albert Einstein to holocaust survivor Primo Levi — have opposed the idea of an ethnically exclusive Israeli state.
NOTE: Almost 250 Jewish survivors and descendents of survivors of Nazi genocide have signed a petition condemning the massacre of Palestinians.
“I concede with sorrow that the baseless fanaticism of our people is in part to be blamed for the awakening of Arab distrust. I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.”
Albert Einstein: “The (Israeli) state idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with many difficulties and a narrow-mindedness. I believe it is bad.”
Erich Fromm, social psychologist: “The claim of the Jews to the Land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse.”
Primo Levi, writer and Auschwitz survivor: “Everyone has their Jews. For the Israelis they are the Palestinians.”
Marek Edelman, last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw uprising: Edelman wrote a letter in support of the Palestine resistance, comparing them to ZOB, the Jewish fighters in Warsaw. He opened with, “Commanders of the Palestine military, paramilitary and partisan operations – to all the soldiers of the Palestine fighting organisations.”
Isaac Asimov, novelist: “I find myself in the odd position of not being a Zionist … I think it is wrong for anyone to feel that there is anything special about any one heritage of whatever kind. It is delightful to have the human heritage exist in a thousand varieties, for it makes for greater interest, but as soon as one variety is thought to be more important than another, the groundwork is laid for destroying them all.”
Hannah Arendt, political scientist: “The trouble is that Zionism has often thought and said that the evil of antisemitism was necessary for the good of the Jewish people. In the words of a well-known Zionist in a letter to me discussing the original Zionist argumentation: ‘The antisemites want to get rid of the Jews, the Jewish State wants to receive them, a perfect match.’ “
I.F. Stone, US journalist: “Israel is creating a kind of moral schizophrenia in world Jewry. In the outside world the welfare of Jewry depends on the maintenance of secular, non-racial, pluralistic societies. In Israel, Jewry finds itself defending a society in which mixed marriages cannot be legalized, in which the ideal is racial and exclusionist.”
Noam Chomsky: “In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by “apartheid” you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse.”
Gabriel Kolko, one of the leading historians on modern warfare: “The large majority of Israelis are not in the least Jewish in the cultural sense, are scarcely socialist in any sense, and daily life and the way people live is no different in Israel than it is in Chicago or Amsterdam. There is simply no rational reason that justifies the state’s creation.”
Uri Avnery, ex-Israeli army officer: Avnery wrote that after an Israeli military victory, “What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints.”
Henry Siegman, Rabbi and director of the U.S./Middle East Project: “Israel has crossed the threshold from ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ to the only apartheid regime in the Western world.”
Richard Cohen, US columnist: “The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake … the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.”
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine: “If a Jew today goes into any synagogue in the U.S. or around the world and says, ‘I don’t believe in God or Torah and I don’t follow the commandments,’ most will still welcome you in and urge you to become involved. But say, ‘I don’t support the State of Israel,’ and you are likely to be labeled a ‘self-hating Jew’ or anti-Semite, scorned and dismissed.”
Richard Falk, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Falk has called Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories “a crime against humanity.” Falk also has compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of the Jews. Falk has said, “I think the Palestinians stand out as the most victimized people in the world.”