The Jewish petition against “Israel as the Jewish State”
A petition posted up by a member of the UK group Jews for Justice for Palestinians and titled Jews say No to ‘Israel as Jewish state’ has mined a rich seam of feelings from Jews (mainly in UK, USA and Canada) speaking in their own voices, about being handed a share of Israel.
Petition author Rachel Lever says “This is not a numerical poll, nor a questionnaire. It doesn’t calculate percentages of a sample or fit people into a pre-set choice of attitudes, but gives them a platform to speak for themselves, as Jews, to say how they feel about Israel’s claim to be “theirs”.
Here is a selection of their comments
Sussex, UK — I find that the more I abhor Zionism, the more Jewish I feel. I see the State of Israel as the Golden Calf falsely worshipped, with the tablets of the Law (our best traditions) lying broken on the ground. I do identify as a Jew, but England is my country.
USA — Israel … is a thoroughly racist, brutal, expansionist entity that every Jew of conscience should be ashamed of
Berkeley USA — A state has never been the state of all people of a certain religion or ethnic group, and for very good reasons, spelled out in this petition. There is not a reason in the world to make an exception for Jews. I speak as a Holocaust survivor and child of Holocaust victims.
UK — Absolutely not in my name, Israel is the country of Israelis as the USA is the country of Americans … Netanyahu has no right to impose his vile values on me
Essex UK — Defining Israel formally as a Jewish State will force Jews around the world to identify with a country and an ideology based on ethnic exclusivity, to the extreme detriment of any chance of a just peace in the Middle East
Chicago USA — I have been a human rights activist for 50 years and Jewish all my life. The idea of in effect discriminating against Palestinians is immoral and not Jewish
London, UK — I already have a country, the Palestinians have none
USA — States based on religion went out a long time ago
California, USA — I am appalled by Israel’s massive land theft and displacement of Palestinian people from their homes, refusal of Palestinian refugees’ internationally recognised right of return, de facto segregation and 2nd class citizenship within Israel’s 1948 borders, and constant destruction and displacement of Bedouin villages. These crimes against humanity do not represent me as a Jew
London, UK — I am totally opposed to Israel’s demand and the ongoing discrimination and apartheid to which non-Jews in Israel are subjected. I also feel angered and affronted by the Israeli Government’s attempt to hijack my identity as a Jew and that of my family and friends
Washington, USA — I cannot think of any universal statement more anti-semitic, whether uttered by a Jew or a Jew-hater, than to equate all Jews with Israel.
USA — I refuse to support all forms of racism
Canada — People ask me if I want to see Israel vanish. I say no, I just want to see regime change
UK — I completely agree with this petition, even though I have family living in Israel. That is their choice and I do not wish to be made to feel that Israel is my country when it is not. I’d prefer that Palestinians were given citizenship of Israel
Delaware, USA — A “Jewish only” state represents an apartheid regime which is abhorrent to all those who stand for justice
London, UK — I never supported privilege as a white South African under apartheid and will not support privilege in Israel. As a Jew I would wish that Israel treated its minorities with the same degree of equality that I expect from the country in which I live.
Oakland, USA — I am proud to be an American and a Jew. I do not agree that any country, nation or state should determine which religion, if any, its citizens are to be affiliated with
USA — Israel the Nation State of the Jewish people would give superior rights to aliens of Jewish descent while discriminating against the indigenous non-Jewish population.
USA — No country, government, place, should be a religious state. None. Ever.
USA – Labeling Israel as a Jewish state is no less racist than labeling the US a “Christian” state and only fuels anti-semitism across the rest of the world.
UK — I live in the UK and am British. This is my home. I support this petition 100%.
California USA — The “Jewish state” has been a catastrophe for principles of equality and justice. It has threatened the continuity of the Jewish prophetic traditions that helped create and rested upon such principles
London, UK — I object to being associated with a country that has such a shocking human rights record, and that ignores international law and the Geneva Convention, just because of my parentage
Maryland, USA — I am a Jewish American who strenuously objects to designating Israel as a Jewish state. The land of Israel-Palestine must provide for the well-being and security of all its inhabitants. It must be inclusive of Jews and non-Jews, those who are religious or secular, and people of all ethnicities and races in order to bring about lasting peace, justice and security for all.
USA — The peoples of this planet need to learn to live peacefully together. Any “land grab” statements run against this.
USA — The Palestinian people continue to suffer an apartheid treatment by the Israeli government. There is no civil rights for them in an exclusive state
USA — I detest the politics of the state of Israel and its apartheid policies towards non-Jews - yet its government presumes to include /represent me because my mother was Jewish
Zionist youth leader: “I am a cult survivor”
USA — Israel does not speak for me. As a human being first and a Jew second Israel has no right in my name to violate international humanitarian laws and violate the injunctions in the Torah against scheming, stealing and breaking contracts. Israel has no right, through its discriminatory and inhumane policies, to make the world less safe for Jews.
USA — Judaism is not Zionism. Judaism is opposed and has always been opposed to Zionism
USA — I am a former teenage President of a Zionist youth group. I was fed on propaganda by my synagogue and Jewish community which made Zionism and Israel innocent of wrongdoing and vilified all Arabs. I recognise that I am a cult survivor, and wish to right the wrongs of the Zionist cult.
Winnipeg, Canada — In terms of Jewish values, the state that calls itself Israel is one of the least Jewish states in history.
UK — Of course there is a connection between Israel and the world Jewish community, but this is very different from Israel being the state of the entire Jewish people. This would mean that Israel is not the state of all its citizens, which nowadays is essential if a state is to be regarded as democratic.
Toronto Canada — I have no hostility to Israel, on the contrary, and I hope Israel will become a leader in Justice. The idea of states based on ethnicity cannot function peacefully in the modern world.
Toronto Canada — Israel is a rogue state. It does not speak for me or for all Jewish communities. It is a project that celebrates oppression and uses religion and myth to justify dispossession and ethnic cleansing. And it has visited horrific war crimes on the Palestinian people as it continues to imprison them in ever smaller patches of what remains of historic Palestine. “While there is a soul in prison I am not free”. NO to Zionism, and NO to a Jewish state.
London UK — Anything that says it is a state for one type of people is inherently a racist state. I reject the idea of a Jewish state as much as I do the idea of a black state, a white state or a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist state. The very best that “others” would experience would be benign second class citizenship and we know that the reality is much, much worse than that.
Brighton, UK — As a Jewish woman and mum I do not support apartheid, child imprisonment, occupation, ethnic cleansing, trigger-happy Israeli teenage soldiers, religious fundamentalism, racism, ignoring the Geneva Convention, oppression, sieges, stealing water … I’m sure I’ve missed things out, but you get the picture.
USA — I heartily agree with the proposition as stated. In fact, I’ve never seem it put so clearly.
USA — My Bubbie didn’t raise me to support racism. I truly resent Israel’s claim to speak for all Jews.
Israel’s demand for recognition as “the nation state of the Jewish people” has far-reaching implications. Israel knows this will impact Jews worldwide. This petition aims to give a voice on the matter to Jews concerned for justice, human rights and international law.
These are some of the issues:
♦ Defining Israel as Jewish would mean total denial of Palestinians’ historic connection to the country they lost in 1948. The “Jewish state” demand means refusal ever to allow any return of the 1948 exiles, thus closing the door to any enduring future peace, justice and reconciliation.
♦ If Israel is a State of the whole Jewish people rather than of its own citizens, its non-Jews will officially be second class citizens.
♦ The leaders of Britain’s Jews once said that a Jewish state “must have the effect throughout the world of stamping the Jews as strangers in their native lands”. If Israel is the Jewish state, Jews will be further implicated in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and its contravention of international law.
♦ Making “Israel” synonymous with “Jewish” will be used to silence critics and label them as “anti-semitic”.
♦ Enforcing international law and human rights will be harder if Israel can claim it is maintaining the recognised “State of the Jewish people” as a top priority.
♦ If this high-profile, protected and approved country can be based on ethnic-religious criteria rather than pluralism, tolerance and democracy, it will be a precedent for closed, authoritarian, fundamentalist regimes.
♦ This is not something that Jews can be proud of, nor one that most Israelis would find tolerable.
As a Jew I oppose Israel’s demand that it be internationally recognised as the “Jewish state” or the “Nation State of the Jewish people”.
I believe this will weaken peace, democracy and security worldwide, creating a dangerous precedent for states and conflicts based on ethnicity or religion rather than justice and human rights, and could be used to justify past and future ethnic cleansing and entrench a racially discriminatory two-tier legal system.
As a Jew I reject my automatic right to Israeli citizenship and refuse to be co-opted, just because I am a Jew, as a follower of a country that is not my own.
As a non-Israeli Jew I do not recognise Israel as my state, and find it abhorrent that the spare “homeland” which it is offering me comes at the expense of the entire Palestinian people, whose treatment tramples also on Jewish teachings of justice and universal humanity that are important to me.
I call on the world community to fight anti-semitism and racism wherever they occur and to open its doors and welcome everyone in need of refuge from persecution, whether or not they are Jewish.
The petition is still open for signatures and comments. To take part, find it here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/jews-say-no-to-israel-as-jewish-state.html
And for an in-depth outline of what the “Jewish State” demand is about, see http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/whats-so-bad-about-calling-israel-the-jewish-state/#more-2021
« Israel’s Bedouin evictions law to re-launch, as hundreds more homes bulldozed
Palestine Freedom Song »