If I am only for myself, what am I?

The attacks near the United Nations school really got to me.

Women at a United Nations school after fleeing their homes. Gaza residents faced severe power shortages and other deprivations.  Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters. Click for source (NYTimes).
Women at a United Nations school after fleeing their homes. Gaza residents faced severe power shortages and other deprivations. Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters. Click for source (NYTimes).

It is hard to write about what is going on in Israel and in Gaza. There is an assumption that because I am Jewish I am automatically pro-Israel in any situation. There is some guilt involved in speaking against Israel. But why is it that because I am Jewish I am intrinsically tied to a Jewish state? I can not be tied to what is going on now, in my name, in Israel and in Gaza. In order to keep my head high, in order to continue teaching with integrity, I must speak my voice against this violence. Against this wrongness, this desperate and utter wrongness.

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel)

I belong to the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians who issued this Media Communiqué on the 9th of January.

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
January 9, 2009

END THE SIEGE OF GAZA
( les versions français et arabe attachés ) [they aren’t actually attached here, but if you would like them, let me know]

The Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians rejects the Israel government’s pretensions, which claim to be interested in peace with the Palestinian People. The negotiations with the Palestinian Authority of President Abbas have achieved nothing at all, and the colonization of 500,000 settlers and 600 checkpoints continue to function and even expand despite the treaties for the formation of the Palestine State.

The cease-fire by the HAMAS-led government during the past year — for 6 months — was respected in spite of the generally closed crossing points preventing the entry of food and medicines by either Israel or Egypt and in spite of the exchanges between the group Islamic Jihad and the Israel military. Previously, there has already been a unilateral cease-fire from HAMAS, over a 16-month period, as well.

The legally elected government of HAMAS is committed to a ceasefire that could be extended for 10 years with the further resolution of outstanding issues for the refugees and Jerusalem, as announced by HAMAS in the News York Times and the Washington Post. Israel and Egypt must leave open the crossing points into GAZA, to allow the necessities of life to enter. The major political parties in Israel have refused to respect the cease-fire of the past six months, supporting closing the border crossings. Israel has sabotaged the prospects for a cease-fire and peace with the Palestinians. The HAMAS-led government has agreed to end rocket attacks when the crossing points are opened.

With the refusal of Israel to negotiate a cease-fire it is now the responsibility of progressive Jews internationally and the Israeli Jewish opposition to voice our revulsion at the irresponsible and criminal leadership of many Jewish organizations such as the Canada-Israel Committee, Jewish National Fund and the Canadian Jewish Congress. The need for a Jewish voice of opposition to declare that Israel does not act in our name is urgent. Protests from Jewish organizations are multiplying internationally, affecting the Jewish communities’ consciousness. The eight brave Jewish women who occupied the Israel consulate in Toronto further exposed Israel’s brutal invasion of GAZA and broke through to the international media in the name the Jewish opposition.

Israel acts in contradiction to the Jewish People’s will and interests.

We speak out now to denounce the intransigence of the State of Israel. We refuse its pretensions to be acting on behalf of Israeli civilians; it acts for the interests of the militarized State. By calling Israel the ‘Jewish State’ the media is giving credibility to that power and does not differentiate between Zionist Israel and the Jewish communities internationally who do not have a vote in Israel.

Israel needs to release the Palestinian political prisoners if the Israeli soldier Shalit, held in Gaza, would be released. Currently there are 11,000 Palestinian prisoners.

It is not the Jewish People who are at war with the Palestinians, but rather the State of Israel and its allies internationally. We are in solidarity with the Arab and Islamic cultures who oppose the attacks from Israel.

While it is questionable that Israeli civilian towns are targeted, this does not explain the mass targeting of the Gazan population. So far, there are 800 deaths, averaging 54 per day, a systematic massacre. Eighty per cent of the Gazan population are refugees, expelled from Israel.

We call for an international organized Jewish revolt against the Zionist State of Israel, publicly rejecting its claims to speak for Jewish communities everywhere.

End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank

Peace is Possible — Out Now

To contact the ACJC: Jewish.Alliance@yahoo.ca

Abraham Weizfeld: SaaLaHa@fokus.name
Administrative Secretary ACJC Montréal 514.284.6642

Toronto: Natalie Polonsky LaRoche 416.463.4322

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