The fire and phosphorous loosed upon the people that Israel penned in first, in Gaza, has finally, it seems, opened countless eyes to reality; to Israel’s systematic, long time practice of crushing Palestinian lives and Palestinian life on any possible pretext, to the hyper-militarized nature of its policy-making, to its vested interest in—and active repeated choice of—warfare, to its self-approved indiscriminate ‘rules of war’. You, to me, are an element of hope in the wake of the horror perpetrated on Gaza—individuals in growing groups, standing, acting, educating others, resolved to see an end to Israel’s years of impunity. Thank you.
-Rela Mazali, writer, feminist peace activist, and co-founder of the New Profile movement to demilitarize Israeli society.
Please allow me to call you friends.
As a Palestinian struggling for years to end the occupation I believe that we have to go back to the simple demand to stop the occupation.
The occupation is the source of all evil that we are witnessing over and over again and we will continue to witness so long as the occupation continues.
It is done in the name of all Jews and in the name of all citizens of Israel.
As a Palestinian citizen of Israel I could join your demand: Not in my name, not with my tax money.
And together with you we can make difference.
After the election in Israel and the fact that the right wing have the majority and the fascist Lieberman has 15 seats, I believe today it is more important than ever to sound your voice.
The voice of the fascist is well heard in Israel and to some degree in the world. We need your voice to stop the development of a racist tendency in Israel.
No people can stay free while occupying another nation.
Stop the occupation Now.
-Nabila, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, long-time feminist peace activist, and director of Al-Tufula Center for Women and Children in Nazareth.
When Jews, especially American Jews, say NO to what the Israeli government is doing, it is a beacon of hope for the Israelis, Jews and Palestinians who oppose Israel’s war mongering policy. It is saying NO to the Israeli government’s lies about its efforts to achieve peace, while doing whatever they can to maintain the war between Israel and the Palestinians and to continue the occupation. It is saying NO to the horrible violation of human rights while claiming to be just and moral. It is saying NO to the huge social injustice within Israel and the Occupied Territories.
We, the Israelis, Jews and Palestinians need your voice that says NO clearly and loudly for our moral support and hopefully as a practical tool for creating a change in Israeli as well as American policy.
Thank you for that. Keep your NO struggle until this change is a reality.
-Ruchama Marton, President and Founder of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel
Salute from Syria
For all of you who are gathering today standing for what’s right:
I wish I was with you to express all my respect for you all. I am writing to you from Syria, a country that is described as a “terror sponsor’, and I am writing as a Syrian who refuses to be stereotyped just because some other powerful country thinks that this is the way things should look, that this is what the world should believe. I am one of many other Syrians who feel the same way.
Last month, a friend of mine, who is American-Jewish, came to Syria for a visit. She stayed with me and my family for two days. Here in Syria, you can’t tell everyone that you are Jewish, for people don’t really distinguish between being Jewish and being Israeli. For many people here the two concepts are the same, for them if you are not a Jewish Israeli, then you are a Jewish American who is supporting Israel in every possible way.
As my family was trying to explain to her that Arabs and Muslims are good people, and they are not as they are pictured in the United States, I was thinking, why can’t she just tell them: Jews are good people, and they are not as they are pictured in the Arab world? My family loved that friend of mine so much and they all agreed about many things like justice for Palestinians and opposing the occupation, the wall, and the killing of civilians , but I was upset all the time, wondering, why can’t we just tell them she is Jewish? Would it change anything?
But here, I have to say: I can’t blame people in the Arab world for what they think of Jews. I am not saying they are right, but it is the way Israel makes things look. It’s having so close to us a country which you must be Jewish to be part of, a Jewish state that occupied our land, kicked the Palestinians out of their homes, is now building a hateful wall and practicing all kinds of discrimination against Arabs. Let alone the many massacres and genocides that have happened since 1948.
But of all the crimes Israel has committed through history; I think the most painful and hideous crime is what they did to Jews, making people think that all Jews are part of Israel. Making them look like killers, making it look like Zionism and Judaism are the same, while Judaism is just another religion, like Islam and Christianity, we believe in one God, and have many things in common in our religions. Here in Syria, Jews, Muslims and Christians used to live together in peace for centuries, before Zionism existed. So it is incorrect to say that Arabs and Israelis, or Muslim, Jews and Christians hate each other on a religious basis, and it is shameful to use religion to promote a specific policy.
During the war on Gaza people in many places of the world protested against the killing machine. One good thing Al Jazeera did was show protests of Jews in the United States against the war on Gaza. Every time I heard people in Syria wondering about it I found myself explaining again and again how Zionism and Judaism are not the same. It is a pity that a high percentage of people here don’t know that fact. Having three best friends who are Jewish gave me the feeling that it is my duty to talk to people and let them know that there are many Jews in the world who are, like us, stereotyped too.
Some people here might know the truth, but it is your responsibility as Jewish people to stop those people in Israel from using your name, religion, history and suffering to cause the same suffering for other people. And for those who say Jews suffered a lot through history and they must have a Jewish state to be protected, I say: How can you feel safe and protected between all those people who consider you an enemy? And it’s not being Jews that made you enemies; it is Israel, the occupation, the killing, the stolen lands, shattered families and the wall.
Here I am asking all of you again, look for the truth.
Not in your name.
You must not be silent.
SAY NO TO THE MASSACRE
SAY NO TO THE BLOCKADE
SAY NO TO THE OCCUPATION
SAY YES TO JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
-Noor from Damascus