Not Celebrating

The statement transmitted below was signed by over 100 British Jews
and published in the GUARDIAN.

We’re not celebrating Israel’s anniversary
This article appeared in the Guardian
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian&gt; on Wednesday April 30, 2008.

In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of
the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context
of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless,
we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to
acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another
people for European anti-semitism and Hitler’s genocidal policies. As
Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba
is to the Palestinians.

In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin
and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa’s market square,
Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of
Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population
outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.

In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda
and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds
died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.

In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were
wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of
Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956.
Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.
Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees
from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never
accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.

We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism,
massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We
cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in
ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a
monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and
that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national
aspirations.

We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful
Middle East.

Seymour Alexander
Ruth Appleton
Steve Arloff
Rica Bird
Jo Bird
Cllr Jonathan Bloch
Ilse Boas
Prof. Haim Bresheeth
Tanya Bronstein
Sheila Colman
Ruth Clark
Sylvia Cohen
Judith Cravitz

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