Like davidminzer, I'm Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I've been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I've always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.
I sang the Israeli anthem in the train rails of Aushwitz-Birkenau and I pledged to fight every day of my life to make sure the savage crimes that had taken place there would never happen again. Every year I pledged: Never Again. Remember and Never forget.
Well, I haven't forgotten. And so to honor that pledge, to honor the memory of my family members who died in those death camps and because "there comes a time when silence is betrayal", today I finally and publicly stop defending Israel's actions.
I do this with great pain in my heart, but nonetheless with the overwhelming conviction that it is the only right thing to do. I was patient: I tolerated the destruction of the Oslo process by refusing to end or slow down the constant and criminal construction of settlements. I held my nose and stood my ground when Barak killed the final status negotiations at Taba 2001. I even remained loyal after Sharon's massacres in the West Bank, the brutal Annexation wall, the illegal "selective assassinations" and Olmert's war crimes in Lebanon.
I had to defend Israel and Israelis with my friends and others who demanded I be consistent with my progressive views and oppose a country that was responsible for horrible crimes against innocent human beings. "Israelis are scared, they are traumatized, you have to understand...", "Israel is responding to attacks on itself, tell me one other country that wouldn't respond when attacked...", I demanded understanding, I pleaded for a fair and comparative analysis.
ENOUGH. I'm done justifying crimes against humanity by a country that claims to be an illuminated western democracy. I'm done defending a country that is unwilling to grant self-determination to a neighboring people because it won't let go of a few settlements and divide a city. I'm done tolerating the slaughtering of innocent kids, the murderous and barbaric occupation of an impoverished people, the utter disregard for human life.
It's time for every true progressive in this country and around the world to do the only thing that our consciences should allow us to do, the only thing that can keep us consistent with our supposed beliefs that human life is precious and that unnecessary violence is always criminal, barbarous and unacceptable. We must demand that Israel stop violence and immediately put an end to its colonialist military occupation of Palestine.
And until they do so, we must organize and do everything we can to make sure our money is not financing mass murder and oppression.
It is time for the progressive movement to demand immediate Divestment from Israel, just like we divested from other oppressive states like South Africa.
The only reason not to do so is willful hypocrisy.
And I don't know about you, but I'm done being a hypocrite.
Unnecessary murder of innocents is always wrong.
Selfish and unjustifiable occupation is always wrong.
Inaction in the face of massive suffering and injustice is always wrong.
It is thus our responsibility to make sure Obama and the rest of our leaders understand that this time we will be relentless, this time we mean business and this time we will honor our pledges.
Update: Thanks for putting this on the Recommended list. Now, if we could only come together as a community and think of different ways to organize a divestment campaign and other ways of putting pressure on the Israeli government, that would be truly amazing. Please read
this great diary where different ways of supporting Gaza's population and organizing against Israeli occupation are presented.
Also, for those who are willing to work to pressure and lobby the American government to do something, please take a a look at this cool group. Toda Raba le culam (Thank to all).