Tal Linzen New York 0

An open letter to American Jews

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An open letter to American Jews,

We are a group of Israelis currently living in the US. We are reaching out to

you because we oppose the actions of the Israeli government in operation

“Protective Edge.”

This does not mean we don’t recognize the threat presented by Hamas to the

Israeli people. We oppose firing of weapons into civilian population and the

sacrifice of civilians by the regimes of both Hamas and the Israeli government.

Calling to stop the bombing of Gaza does not mean we don’t realize the

impossible conditions imposed on the residents of southern Israel. Nor does it

mean we don’t demand security for them. But we also recognize that their plight

is consistently ignored by the Israeli government until it becomes convenient for

exploitation. We have seen three major military operations in less than six years.

They repeat themselves because they don't work. Yes, Hamas reserves are

temporary depleted and the group is temporarily hindered. But this is not a moral

price worth paying. Even if it were, killing thousands of civilians and displacing of

hundreds of thousands doesn't weaken Hamas in the long run. This bloodshed

only feeds the one resource it can't go without: hate. Only meaningful peace talks

and an end to the ongoing occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza (a blockade

is still occupation) will prevent both the next round of rockets into Israel and the

next round of indiscriminate killings in Gaza.

We are reaching out to you because we want to re-examine what it means to be

pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. We argue that these terms might be one and the

same. We believe that supporting equal rights for both peoples is the only way to

build a better Israel and a better Palestine and we want the American Jewish

community to stand behind that message.

The belief that being “pro-Israel” means uncritically supporting the actions of the

Israeli government and military does not help the Israeli people. The Israeli

people do not benefit from being oppressors. Israeli society does not benefit from

ruling over 4 million Palestinians. The Israeli soldier does not benefit from risking

his or her life in wars that could have been avoided.

The Israeli people gain nothing from perpetuating the occupation. Israeli children

learn nothing from being taught everybody wants to kill them. And the Israeli

population does not grow stronger from rising aggression within it, from a loss of tolerance and from a surge of violent racism against the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

But maintaining the occupation is what this war is all about. Unfortunately, the

regimes in Israel are becoming increasingly cynical, willing to sacrifice as many

people as necessary to maintain their position of power and their control over the

Palestinian people.

We believe this war could have been avoided. We don’t believe all Palestinians

want to kill us. And we are happy to explain where we are coming from.

We believe that a biased media attempts to draw symmetry that does not exist.

Just look at the numbers. Look at the pictures. Throwing blame at international criticism isn’t making Israel look any better. Taking action to stop human rights violation would. We obviously do not condone any form of anti-Semitism in this discourse, but we also feel that dismissing the entire discourse as anti-Semitism is not helpful to anyone.

Most of all, we believe that blood is blood, all equal and all worth the same. And

we are well aware of what happens when the lives of one people are deemed to

be worth less than those of others.

Israel needs your support to break out of the cycle of violence:

We encourage you to tell your community leaders to critically examine the Israeli

government policies they rally behind. We urge you to support the moderate

voices in Israel, forces that find themselves increasingly under attack by their

own government and the Israeli media, and even physically assaulted by right winged

vigilantes. We ask you to write to your congressional representatives to share

your conviction that Israel can only be safe and prosperous if it stops the killing of

civilians, ends the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and guarantees

freedom and equality to all of its citizens. We invite you to start a fruitful dialogue

with us.

Thank you,

IFSF | Israelis For a Sustainable Future


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