Why We Chained Ourselves to the Israeli Consulate -- Jewish Angelenos
Oppose Israeli Siege on Gaza
by Lisa Adler, Robin Ellis, and Eric Romann
On January 14, 8 Jewish Angelenos — including us — chained themselves
to the Israeli Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard in protest of Israel's
attacks on the people in Gaza.
On that day and on days since, many have asked us why we, as Jews,
oppose Israeli actions in Gaza. But it is because we are Jewish that
we need to oppose this criminal military action. As violence is being
done in our name, we have no other choice.
As Americans, we oppose our government's support for Israel's war
crimes. We urge President Obama to fulfill his promise of change by
making a clear break from longstanding unequivocal U.S. support for
The fighting is over, at least for now. But that doesn't mitigate the
horror of what we've seen these past three weeks. This conflict has
left innocents dead on both sides. But it has been far worse for the
largely defenseless, impoverished and occupied population of Gaza,
under attack from the region's lone military superpower. Since
December 27, Hamas rockets have claimed 13 Israeli lives. In the same
period, Israel's attacks have killed 1300 Palestinians. They have
injured more than 4,000 — a third of them children. Israel has
dropped bombs on schools, mosques, and a UN humanitarian compound. It
has destroyed much of Gaza's infrastructure.
Put simply, Israel's attacks were not "self-defense." They were war crimes.
This is, admittedly, not a popular opinion with American Jews. As we
were chained to the Israeli consulate, a few Jewish passer-bys called
us traitors to our people, and even told us we were not truly Jewish.
But standing against oppression is essential to our identities as
Jews. Our stand against the Israeli siege of Gaza is part of a long,
proud tradition of Jewish social justice. It is a tradition that many
American and Israeli Jews have lost sight of. But we believe that
those brave Jewish freedom fighters who gave their lives for civil
rights here in the U.S. would be proud of us.
We, better than any, know that criticizing Israel is NOT anti-Semitic
— however much its supporters may claim that it is. We hope that our
saying so will make people of all races and religions more willing and
able to speak out against Israel's crimes.
The basic Zionist idea — that Jewish safety can be secured only
through a state built on the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the
Palestinian people — is ultimately responsible for the violence of the
conflict. It promises permanent war for the people of the region,
while fomenting animosity towards Jews worldwide.
A lasting peace can be achieved, but only by upholding basic
principles of justice. That is, by granting Palestinian people their
individual and collective rights guaranteed under international law.
This includes Israel's complete withdrawal from the territories
occupied in 1967 and the right of return for several million
Palestinian refugees displaced through the wars of 1948 and 1967.
The path toward peace and justice must begin this week with Israel
withdrawing its troops from Gaza and ending its suffocating blockade
of the strip, made possible by Israel's continued control of Gaza's
air space, ports, and borders. This blockade, which stretches back 18
months, has denied 1.5 million Gazans access to the basic necessities
of life and caused a "humanitarian catastrophe" according to UN
official Richard Falk.
Everyday Americans must walk this path, as well. As we did in the
1980s with South African apartheid, we can lend a tremendous hand to
the cause of peace and justice in Israel and Palestine. People of
conscience here in the U.S. must demand that our government stop
giving $3 billion in aid every year to fund Israel's war crimes and
violations of international law. And we must use the most effective
nonviolent means we have at our disposal, like an international
campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.
As Jewish people of conscience, we ask all those who stand for
justice and see the necessity of peace to join us in these efforts.
The authors are local members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist
Network and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
An excellent 5-minute video that highlights our resistance
as Jews, breaks down the situation in Gaza, exposes Israeli apartheid.
Please link to the Youtube post at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZd6h4Bx3k