The call of the US organisation Jewish Voice for Peace has issued this important statement reflecting the true voice of Jewish humanitarian tradition that the Holocaust sought to stifle.
The Root of Violence Is Oppression.
Right now, Palestinians, Israelis and all of us with family on the ground are terrified for loved ones. We grieve the lives of those already lost and remain committed to a future where every life is precious, and all people live in freedom and safety.
Following 16 years of Israeli military blockade, Palestinian fighters from Gaza launched an unprecedented assault, in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and wounded, and civilians kidnapped. The Israeli government declared war, launching airstrikes, killing hundreds of Palestinians and wounding thousands, bombing residential buildings and threatening to commit war crimes against besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
The Israeli government may have just declared war, but its war on Palestinians started over 75 years ago. Israeli apartheid and occupation — and United States complicity in that oppression — are the source of all this violence. Reality is shaped by when you start the clock.
For the past year, the most racist, fundamentalist, far-right government in Israeli history has ruthlessly escalated its military occupation over Palestinians in the name of Jewish supremacy with violent expulsions and home demolitions, mass killings, military raids on refugee camps, unrelenting siege and daily humiliation. In recent weeks, Israeli forces repeatedly stormed the holiest Muslim sites in Jerusalem.
For 16 years, the Israeli government has suffocated Palestinians in Gaza under a draconian air, sea and land military blockade, imprisoning and starving two million people and denying them medical aid. The Israeli government routinely massacres Palestinians in Gaza; ten-year-olds who live in Gaza have already been traumatized by seven major bombing campaigns in their short lives.
For 75 years, the Israeli government has maintained a military occupation over Palestinians, operating an apartheid regime. Palestinian children are dragged from their beds in pre-dawn raids by Israeli soldiers and held without charge in Israeli military prisons. Palestinians homes are torched by mobs of Israeli settlers, or destroyed by the Israeli army. Entire Palestinian villages are forced to flee, abandoning the homes and orchards and land that were in their family for generations.
The bloodshed of today and the past 75 years traces back directly to U.S. complicity in the oppression and horror caused by Israel’s military occupation. The US government consistently enables Israeli violence and bears blame for this moment. The unchecked military funding, diplomatic cover, and billions of dollars of private money flowing from the US enables and empowers Israel’s apartheid regime. Those who continue calling for “ironclad” US support for the Israeli military are only paving the path to more violence.
We will uproot complicity where we are: we demand that the U.S. government immediately take steps to withdraw military funding to Israel and to hold the Israeli government accountable for its gross violations of human rights and war crimes against Palestinians. We commit to escalating our campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions to end the billions pouring into the Israeli war machine from corporations and private foundations.
Inevitably, oppressed people everywhere will seek — and gain — their freedom. We all deserve liberation, safety, and equality. The only way to get there is by uprooting the sources of the violence, beginning with our own government’s complicity.