Free Gaza! Let the ships pass!

IJAN, International Jewish Antizionist Network, communiqué

Free Gaza! Let the ships pass!

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) strongly condemns Israel’s barbarous early-morning raid, carried out in international waters, on a maritime humanitarian convoy, during which Israeli soldiers attacked with live ammunition peaceful civilians on board, murdering at least fifteen according to the Israeli army, perhaps many more, and wounding scores.

We are humbled and inspired by the commitment and the sacrifice of the people on board these ships. One of the boats in the convoy was named after Rachel Corrie, murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver while obstructing the demolition of a Palestinian house in Rafah seven years ago. This boat reminds us all that the courage and perseverance of the ships sailing to Gaza follows in an international tradition of total civic engagement and ethical commitment that echoes and responds to the perseverance and courage of a century of Palestinian resistance to ethnic cleansing and colonialism.

This attack on ships carrying 10 tons of humanitarian aid, including educational supplies, medical supplies and construction material, is international high seas piracy. We call on all governments to end Israel’s impunity, enforce international law and hold Israel accountable for its recurrent violations. Furthermore, this act of piracy was carried out in pursuit of maintaining a siege on Gaza, imposed by Israel with participation of the Egyptian government and US backing, a siege that is itself a crime against humanity. This criminal siege is deepening a terrible humanitarian crisis, with mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food insecurity affecting over a million and a half people, most of whom are refugees from the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, who are now locked in the world’s largest concentration camp. Palestinians in Gaza are prevented from rebuilding their houses destroyed by Israel in the massacre of 2009, and forbidden to import stuff such as toys and chocolate as punishment for having democratically elected a government that refused to collaborate with the occupation. As the occupying power, Israel should be held accountable for its gross violations of the human rights of Palestinian in Gaza. All states have an obligation to do all they can to enforce international law and punish its gross and recurrent violations, as detailed in the Goldstone report as well as reported by many human rights organizations and international agencies.

As Israeli authorities issue conflicting reports regarding the number of victims during the raid, we call on Israel to immediately allow international and independent access to the wounded and to the bodies of the martyrs, release the abductees and let the ships sail unmolested to Gaza.

We call attention to the islamophobic media portrayal of this civil engagement as a conflict between Israel and Islam. It is a conflict between Israel and a worldwide, diverse, and united solidarity movement that include people of all faiths, standing up together peacefully against violent repression. There were 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries, including 35 politicians, on board.

We call on the states whose ships were attacked, and especially on Turkey, to react in a way that addresses the gravity of Israel’s actions, going beyond the verbal rebukes dispensed on the occasion of previous outrages. Despite heated rhetoric, trade between Israel and Turkey grew 27% year over year in the first trimester of 2010. We call on Turkey to break diplomatic relations, suspend all trade and fully cut military ties with the apartheid state of Israel.

We call on Switzerland to convene, as is its obligation, the high contracting parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to discuss Israel’s recurrent violations of international law and to hold it accountable. Let the world not be silent yet again in the face of a people abandoned.

Most importantly, we call on civil society everywhere, and on ourselves, to redouble our efforts to break the siege of Gaza, intensify our BDS campaigns, stand in solidarity and perseverance with Palestinian resistance, hold Israel accountable for its recurrent transgressions, and end the occupation, colonization and apartheid in Palestine.

We also call on Jews to recognize in this violent and deadly raid a piece of a larger and unmistakable pattern of unbridled violence, punitive repression and gratuitous meanness, self-isolation and hatred that reveal Zionism’s historical direction. Constrained by the inescapable implications of its colonial logic, Zionism is not a revival of Jewish life, but a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-destruction. As Israeli officials place more value today on preventing the disabled in Gaza from having wheelchairs than on the welfare of their own citizens, we urge you to see that there is no future to Zionism but its progressive descent into ever more senseless brutalization and violence.

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