US Jews urged to condemn Israeli occupation amid Netanyahu censure

T. Belman. This article and letter are so full of crap that I questioned whether I should be posting it. I decided to post it because I think you should know about the letter.

by Chris McGreal, THE GUARDIAN

Hundreds of Israeli and American public figures have called on US Jewish groups to speak out against the occupation of the Palestinian territories as “the elephant in the room” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deeply divisive judicial reforms.

The statement has drawn international attention because of the prominent Israelis who have signed its forthright declaration that “Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid”, including the renowned Israeli historian Benny Morris, and the former speaker of the Israeli parliament, Avraham Burg. (anti-Zionists both.)

The open letter, which has gathered more than 1,500 signatories since it was released a week ago, comes amid months of mass demonstrations in Israel against Netanyahu’s legislation to weaken the power of the judiciary, widely seen as a battle for the country’s soul. Israeli protesters have drawn support from several major Jewish groups in the US, which have criticised the legal changes as designed to help Netanyahu evade prosecution for corruption – and for rightwing members of his government to weaken individual rights, particularly for women, Arabs, and secular or religiously liberal Jews.

But the statement said Jewish American leaders have failed to speak out on “the ultimate purpose” of the judicial overhaul to “annex more land, and ethnically cleanse all territories under Israeli rule of their Palestinian population”.

“American Jews have long been at the forefront of social justice causes, from racial equality to abortion rights, but have paid insufficient attention to the elephant in the room: Israel’s longstanding occupation that … has yielded a regime of apartheid,” the statement says.

The open letter urges “leaders of North American Jewry” to support the Israeli protest movement while embracing equality for Palestinians who “lack almost all basic rights, including the right to vote and protest”.

“There cannot be democracy for Jews in Israel as long as Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid, as Israeli legal experts have described it,” it says.

The signatories include Israelis, Palestinians, Jewish American academics, religious leaders, musicians and lawyers.

Related: ‘Apartheid state’: Israel’s fears over image in US are coming to pass

The statement in part reflects a concern among some protesters that if they are successful in blocking the judicial changes, Israel will return to the cycle of governments maintaining occupation without end and expanding annexation by stealth, including settlement expansion.

“The problems did not start with the current radical government: Jewish supremacism has been growing for years and was enshrined in law by the 2018 Nation State Law,” it says.

The statement notes that the controversial judicial reforms are being driven in part by “American Jewish billionaire funders” supporting the Israeli far right. In March, a Labour party member of the Israeli parliament, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, travelled to New York to call on Jewish groups to stand up to “rightwing forces in the Jewish community in America and ultra-right players” who, he said, were driving a political coup in Israel.

The judicial reforms were designed by an ultra-conservative thinktank, the Kohelet Policy Forum. Two American billionaires, Arthur Dantchik and Jeffrey Yass, who made their fortunes in part by investing in TikTok, were major funders. Earlier this month, Dantchik said he would no longer donate to Kohelet because Israel has become “dangerously fragmented”.

The statement calls on American Jewish groups to “support human rights organisations which defend Palestinians” and to back an overhaul of the Israeli education system “to provide a more honest appraisal of Israel’s past and present”.

It says they should also “demand from elected leaders in the United States that they help end the occupation, restrict American military aid from being used in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and end Israeli impunity in the UN and other international organisations”.

The letter echoes calls made by a growing number of politicians and former diplomats, including Democratic senator Chris Van Hollen, who told the Guardian earlier this month that Biden should reassess US assistance to prevent it from being used to facilitate annexation of the West Bank and oppression of the Palestinians.

The open letter adds: “No more silence. The time to act is now.”

Another group of Israelis, including two former military chiefs of staff, an ex-director of military intelligence and a former member of parliament, placed an advertisement in the New York Times on Sunday warning the US-based World Jewish Congress that it is being “misled” by Netanyahu.

August 17, 2023 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Is this guy Chris McGreal even Jewish? I have maintained that if you don’t live in Israel you have no right to criticizes it’s internal politics. Besides, this author has no idea what he is talking about, and I don’t want to fill my comments to defend the nonsense. Suffice to say that Israel is in a constant existential threat, and this author sits in a comfortable place without worrying if a rocket will hit him in the head.

  2. @Felix
    The article and letter were so antisemitic and full of lies and smears that I wondered whether I was wrong to post it. In the end of my deliberations I decided to post it.

    Thank you for supporting my decision to do so.

  3. Ted this is the strangest introduction to an article I have ever read

    “This article and letter are so full of crap that I questioned whether I should be posting it.”

    I will ask you

    What is the purpose of Israpundit? Was it not founded to be an advocate for Israel as the state of the Jews?!

    A state supported by Leon Trotsky in every way possible.

    I mentioned that point because August 20 is the anniversary of his assassination by Stalins’ thugs in 1940 in Mexico.

    There’s a whole lot of information in this article which I got which I didn’t know about as regards what the enemies of Israel are up to.

    How can defenders of Israel be successful without that knowledge?

    There’s a suggestion or hint that that info IN THAT INTRODUCTION
    should or could be kept back from us.

    That would be weird.

  4. The judicial system in Israel is corrupt. Its been that way for years. The Left did it and the Left likes it. The reform of the crooked 3rd world judicial system is what the Left objects to. American billionaires and the Kohelet Policy Forum are an excuse to oppose needed reform. Those opposing reform like the crooked system and therefore are enablers and useful idiots.

  5. Those who think Israel is the bully in this part of the world should reassess the situation while remembering that while Israel’s enemies can live to fight another day, Israel cannot lose a war. The Arabs have promised to drive all the Jews into the Mediteranean. The polemic going on in USA and other places is just that.