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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Imagined letter from a Palestinian prisoner

17 April 2014

Good morning to us… and also good morning… to …you! Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades. Bars, wires, soldiers, rifles, walls, observation towers…but the eye keeps searching for a glimpse of hope... children, youth, old men, women and men...from here...and from.....

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On Anti-Semitism, Boycotts, and the Case of Hermann Dierkes: An Open Letter from Jewish Peace Activists

Created on 30 March 2009
hermann_dierkes_gr.jpgHermann Dierkes, trade unionist and leader of the Left Party (DIE LINKE) in the German city of Duisburg has been accused of anti-Semitism for calling for a boycott of Israeli goods due to their attack on the Gaza Strip. To read a reply from Hermann Dierkes to the following letter of support, click here.

We are peace activists of Jewish background. Some of us typically identify in this way; others of us do not. But we all object to those who claim to speak for all Jews or who use charges of anti-Semitism to attempt to squelch legitimate dissent.

We have learned with dismay the allegations regarding Hermann Dierkes, a trade unionist and leader of the Left Party (DIE LINKE) in the German city of Duisburg. Dierkes, in response to the recent Israeli assault on Gaza expressed the view that one way people could help Palestinians obtain justice would be to support the call of the World Social Forum to boycott Israeli goods, so as to put pressure on the Israeli government.

Dierkes has been subjected to widespread and vitriolic denunciations for anti-Semitism, and accused of calling for a repeat of the Nazi policy of the 1930s of boycotting Jewish products. Dierkes responded that “The demands of the World Social Forum have nothing in common with Nazi-type racist campaigns against Jews, but aim at changing the Israeli government’s policy of oppression of the Palestinians."

No one has made any claims of anti-Semitism against Dierkes for anything other than his support of the boycott. Yet he has been accused of “pure anti-Semitism” (Dieter Graumann the Vice-President of the Central Jewish Council), of uttering words comparable to “a mass execution at the edge of a Ukrainian forest” (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung editorialist Achim Beer), and of expressing “Nazi propaganda” (Hendrik Wuest, General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Party).  

We signatories have differing views on the wisdom and efficacy of calling for a boycott of Israeli goods. Some of us believe that such a boycott is an essential component of a  campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions that can end the four-decade-long Israeli occupation; others think the better way to pressure the Israeli government is with a more selective boycott focused on institutions and corporations supporting the occupation. But all of us agree that it is essential to apply pressure against the Israeli government if peace and justice are to prevail in the Middle East and all of us agree that a call for a boycott of Israel has nothing in common with the Nazi policy of “Don’t buy from Jews.” It is no more anti-Semitic to boycott Israel to end the occupation than it was anti-white to boycott South Africa to end apartheid. Social justice movements have often called for boycotts or divestment, whether against the military regime in Burma or the government of Sudan. Wise or not, such calls are in no way discriminatory. 

Violence in the Middle East has indeed led to some acts of anti-Semitism in Europe. There was a call to boycott Jewish-owned stores in Rome that was widely and appropriately condemned. We deplore such bigotry. Israel's crimes cannot be attributed to Jews as a whole. But, at the same time, a boycott of Israel cannot be equated with a boycott of Jews as a whole.  

An acute and disturbing form of racism rising in Europe today is Islamophobia and xenophobia directed at immigrants from Muslim countries. Dierkes has been a champion in defense of the rights of immigrants, while some of those who accuse all critics of Israel of being anti-Semitic often participate themselveslike the Israeli government and state—in such forms of racism. 

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in modern history. It is a dishonor to its victims to use its memory as a bludgeon to silence principled critics of Israel's unconscionable treatment of Palestinians.  

[We have spent just a week gathering names on this letter, circulating it only in a few countries. We apologize to all those who would have liked to sign, but didn't get a chance or whose names arrived too late for inclusion. For information on how you can help support this effort, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .] 

Signatories

(organizations listed for identification purposes only)


BELGIUM

Marc ABRAMOWICZ, Psychothérapeute

Mateo ALALUF, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles

Joëlle BAUMERDER, Directrice institution culturelle

Marianne BLUME, Professeur

Jacques BUDE, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles

Willy ESTERSOHN, Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique

Fanny FILOSOF

Thérèse FRANKFORT, Professeur

Victor GINSBURGH, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles

Tom GOLDSCHMIDT, Journaliste

Martine GOLDSTEIN, Psychologue, Université libre de Bruxelles

Henri GOLDMAN, Auteur

José GOTOVITCH, Professeur retraité

Anne HERSCOVICI, Sociologue

Miaden HERZL

Henri HURWITZ, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles

Paul JACOBS, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles

Willy KALB

Daniel LIEBMAN, Romaniste

Léon LIEBMAN, Magistrat honoraire

Nicole MAYER, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles

Henri ROANNE-ROZENBLATT, Journaliste

Dominique RODRIGUEZ, Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique

Edith RUBINSTEIN, Femme en noir

Serge SIMON, Ecrivain et Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique

Michel STASZEWSKI, Professeur

Léo TUBBAX

Elie VAMOS, Médecin

Esther VAMOS, Professeur émerite, Université libre de Bruxelles

Serge VIDAL

Jean VOGEL, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles

Laurent VOGEL, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles

Henri WAJNBLUM, Co-président de l'Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique

 

CANADA

 

Elizabeth BLOCK, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism, Women in Solidarity with Palestine, Independent Jewish Voices

Corey BALSAM, Student

Julia BARNETT

Lawrence BOXALL, Jews for a Just Peace

Mark Robert BRILL

Anne-Marie BRUN

Smadar CARMON, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism

James DEUTSCH, MD

Judith DEUTSCH, MSW, President, Science for Peace

Gordon DOCTOROW

Inge FLEISCHMANN FOWLIE, Independent Jewish Voices

Barry FLEMING

Matt FODOR

Inge FOWLIE

Daniel FREEMAN-MALOY, Activist and writer

Sam GINDIN, York University

Rachel GUROFSKY, Trent University

Larry HAIVEN, Saint Mary's University

Jean HANSON, Independent Jewish Voices

Jake JAVANSHIR, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism

Mira KHAZZAM, Independent Jewish Voices

Mark KLEIN

Naomi KLEIN, Author

Jason KUNIN

Richard Borshay LEE, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Abby LIPPMAN, Independent Jewish Voices

Henry LOWI

Elizabeth MOLCHANY, Esquire

Rabbi David MIVASAIR, Ahavat Olam Synagogue, Vancouver

Joanne NAIMAN

Yakov M. RABKIN, Professeur titulaire, Département d'histoire, Université de Montréal

Diana RALPH, Independent Jewish Voices

R.S. RATNER, University of British Columbia

Herman ROSENFELD, Instructor, Labour Studies, McMaster University

Martha ROTH, United Jewish Voices-BC

Marty ROTH, United Jewish Voices-BC

Regine SCHMID

Alan SEARS, Ryerson University

Edward SHAFFER, University of Alberta

Sid SHNIAD, Independent Jewish Voices

Greg STARR, Jews for a Just Peace

Vera SZOKE

Judith WEISMAN

Suzanne WEISS, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism

 

FRANCE

 

Houria ACKERMANN, Directrice de crèche

Nuri ALBALA, Avocat

Paula ALBOUZE

Paul ALLIÈS, Professeur à l'Université de Montpellier

Arlette ALVARENGA, Consultante retraitée

Simon ASSOUN, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Marc AYBES, Infographiste

Bernard BATT

Raphaël BÉNARROSH, Avocat retraité

Eliane BÉNARROSH, Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples

Zvi BEN-DOR, Professor, New York University (Paris, France)

Daniel BENSAÏD, Professeur à l'Université Paris 8

Jean BRAFMAN, Conseiller régional d'Île-de-France

Kurt BRAININ, Médecin 

Rony BRAUMAN

Kenneth BROWN, Mediterraneans/Méditerranéennes

Alice CHERKI, Psychiatre, psychanalyste, auteure

Élisabeth CHOPARD-LALLIER, Conceptrice d'édition

Sonia DAYAN-HERZBRUN, Professeur émérite à l'université Paris 7

Gilles DERHI, Pédopsychiatre, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Sylvia EVRARD, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Patrick FELDSTEIN, Bureau national, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Rafael GOLDWASER

Jean-Guy GREILSAMER, Président des Amis du Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine

Serge GROSSVAK

Bertrand HEILBRONN

Avi HERSHKOVITZ, Cinéaste

Thamara HORMAECHEA, Médecin

Gonzague HUTIN, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Bernard JANCOVICI, Professeur émérite, Université de Paris-Sud

Christine JEDWAB, Psychologue

Jacques JEDWAB

Samuel JOHSUA, Professeur émérite, Université de Provence

Nicole KAHN

Florence KERAVEC, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Maurice KERNBAUM 

Daniel LARTICHAUX-ULLMANN, Documentaliste

Catherine LÉVY, Sociologue

Daniel LÉVYNE, Enseignant retraité

Michaël LÖWY, Sociologue

Françoise MALFROID

Alain MARCU, Petit fils de déporté, fils de juifs résistants

Jean François MARX

Véronique MARZO, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Pierre MAUREL

Ariane MONNERON, Ancien Chef de Clinique, Directeur de recherche au CNRS 

Jean-Hugues MORNEAU, Bibliothécaire, Université Joseph Fourier de Grenoble

François MUNIER

Josiane OLFF-NATHAN, Université de Strasbourg
Perrine OLFF-RASTEGAR, Porte-parole Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix

Martine OLFF-SOMMER, Psychologue

Henri OSINSKI

Marie-France OSINSKI

Nahed PUST, Femmes en Noir de Strasbourg

Jocelyne RAJNCHAPEL-MESSAÏ, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Sabrina RANASINGHE

Claude RAYMOND, Retraitée

Yaël REINHARZ HAZAN, co-directrice du Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Doits Humains

Suzanne ROSENBERG

Jacques SCHWEIZER, Physicien

Michèle SIBONY, Union Juive Française pour la Paix

Claude SZATAN

Hannah TAIEB, Union Juive Française pour la Paix 

Marlène TUNINGA, Présidente section française, Ligue internationale des femmes pour la paix et la liberté

Dominique VENTRE, Directeur de Formation Télécom

René VONWALLENBERG, Avocat
Fabrice WEISSMAN, Directeur d'études Fondation Médecins Sans Frontières

Adek ZYLBERBERG

Marie Claire ZYLBERBERG

 

GERMANY

 

Galit ALTSHULER, European Jews for Just Peace

Linda BENEDIKT

Stacey BLATT

Elias DAVIDSSON, Komponist, Menschenrechtler

Ilil FRIEDMAN, European Jews for Just Peace

Ruth FRUCHTMAN, Writer, European Jews for Just Peace

Harri GRÜNBERG, Mitarbeiter der Bundestagsfraktion DIE LINKE

Iris HEFETS, European Jews for Just Peace

Tal HEVER

Michal KAISER-LIVNE, European Jews for Just Peace

Kate KATZENSTEIN-LEITERER, European Jews for Just Peace

Jason KIRKPATRICK

Felicia LANGER

Mieciu LANGER

Jean Joseph LEVY

Edith LUTZ, European Jews for Just Peace

Jakob MONETA, früherer Chefredakteur der Zeitung Metall

Abraham MELZER, Publisher, European Jews for Just Peace

Moshe PERLSTEIN, European Jews for Just Peace

Fanny Michaela REISIN, European Jews for Just Peace

Paul Otto SAMUELSDORFF

Lawrence ZWEIG, Solidarity International

 

ISRAEL

Hillel BARAK, Movement Against Israeli Apartheid in Palestine

Ronnie BARKAN, Anarchists Against the Wall

Judith BLANC, Bat Shalom, Women in Black, HADASH

Matan COHEN, Tarabot

Adi DAGAN, Coalition of Women for Peace

Rotem DAN MOR, Student, Center of Middle Eastern Classical Music in Jerusalem

Yvonne DEUTSCH, Social worker and feminist peace activist

Daniel DUKAREVICH

Emmanuel FARJOUN, Professor of Mathematics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Naama FARJOUN

Alon FRIEDMAN, MD, Departments of Physiology and Neurosurgery, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Yodfat Ariela GETZ, Filmmaker and social activist

Rachel GIORA, Tel Aviv University

Angela GODFREY-GOLDSTEIN, Action Advocacy Officer, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

Neta GOLAN

Vardit GOLDNER

Amos GVIRTZ, Recognition Forum

Connie HACKBARTH, Alternative Information Center

Roni HAMMERMANN, Machsomwatch

Shir HEVER, Alternative Information Center

Tikva HONIG-PARNASS

Ronnee JAEGER, Bat Shalom, Coalition of Women for a Just Peace

Jimmy JOHNSON, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

Matan KAMINER

Reuven KAMINER

Teddy KATZ

Hava KELLER

Adam KELLER, Journalist

Idan LANDAU, Department of Foreign Literatures & Linguistics, Ben Gurion University

Yael LERER, Publisher

Orit LOYTER

Eilat MAOZ, Women's Coalition

Anat MATAR, Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

Dorothy NAOR, Activist for justice and peace

Israel NAOR

Amos NOY

Adi OPHIR, Professor of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

Amit PERELSON

Shai Carmeli POLLAK

David REEB, Artist

Andre ROSENTHAL, Civil rights lawyer

Yehoshua ROSIN

Sergeiy SANDLER, New Profile

Ayala SHANI

Kobi SNITZ, Technion

Lea TSEMEL, Attorney, SOS Torture

Roy WAGNER

Michel WARSCHAWSKI, Alternative Information Center

Sergio YAHNI, Alternative Information Center

Uri ZACKHEM

Beate ZILVERSMIDT

 

ITALY 

Liviana BORTOLUSSI, Rete Radiè Resch di solidarietà Internazionale

Paola CANARUTTO, Medico

Giorgio CANARUTTO, Impiegato

Marina DEL MONTE, Psicoterapeuta

Ronit DOVRAT, Pittrice

Douglas DOWD, Professor of Economics

Giorgio FORTI, Professore Emerito Università di Milano

Milena MOTTALINI, Avvocata

Carla ORTONA, Funzionaria sanità

Marco RAMAZZOTTI, Funzionario Nazioni Unite, Rete Ebrei Contro L'occupazione, Jews Against Occupation

Stefano SARFATTI , Commerciante

Susanna SINIGAGLIA

Ornella TERRACINI, Insegnante in pensione

 

SWITZERLAND 

Guy BOLLAG

Shraga ELAM, Winner of the Australian Gold Walkley Award for Excellent Journalism 2004

Dorrie ITEN, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace

Leo KANEMAN, Co-directeur Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains

Rolf KRAUER, Gewerkschafter UNIA

Martine RAIS, Médecin

Peter STRECKEISEN, Soziologe

Ursel URECH, Lehrerin, Gewerkschaft VPOD

Sharon Weill, Ph.D. candidate in International Law, University of Geneva

Robin WINOGROND, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace

 

UK 

Hanna BRAUN, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Richard BRENNER, Editor, Workers Power

Haim BRESHEETH, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies

Peter COHEN, London South Bank University

Angela DALE, Jews Against Zionism

Mark ELF, Jews Sans Frontieres

Liz ELKIND, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace

Rayah FELDMAN, London South Bank University

Alf FILER

Sylvia FINZI, Jews for Justice for Palestinians

Tony GREENSTEIN , Trade unionist (UNISON)

Pete HALL

Abe HAYEEM, Jews for Justice for Palestinians /International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Rosamine HAYEEM,  Jews for Justice for Palestinians/International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Dan JUDELSON, Secretary, European Jews for a Just Peace

Yael KAHN

Bernice LASCHINGER

Les LEVIDOW, Open University

Vivien LICHTENSTEIN

Yosefa LOSHITZKY, Professor of Film Studies

Moshe MACHOVER, Professor Emeritus, founding member of the Socialist Organization in Israel "Matzpen"

Hilda MEERS, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace

Diana NESLEN, Jews Against Zionism

Esther NESLEN

Susan PASHKOFF, Jews Against Zionism

Roland RANCE, Jews Against Zionism

Anna ROBIN

Shrila ROBIN

Brian ROBINSON

Miriam SCHARF

Ruth SIRTON

Inbar TAMARI, Jews Against Zionism

Norman TRAUB

Eyal WEIZMAN, University of London

Jay WOOLRICH

 

USA 

Deborah AGRE, Middle East Children's Alliance

Michael ALBERT, ZNet

Barbra APFELBAUM, Riverside Language Program, New York City

Rann BAR-ON, International Solidarity Movement and North Carolina Coalition for Palestine

Trude BENNETT

Phyllis BENNIS, Institute for Policy Studies

Carl BLOICE, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism

Audrey BOMSE, Lawyer

Daniel BOYARIN, University of California-Berkeley

Lenni BRENNER

Stephen Eric BRONNER, Director of Global Relations, Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, & Human Rights, Rutgers University

Judith BUTLER, Professor, University of California-Berkeley

Leslie CAGAN, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice

Ellen CANTAROW, Writer

Barbara H. CHASIN, Professor Emerita, Montclair State University

Noam CHOMSKY, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jill Hamburg COPLAN, Journalist

Lawrence DAVIDSON, West Chester University

Daniel ELLSBERG, Revealed Pentagon Papers, writer

Carolyn EISENBERG, Hofstra University

Judith FERSTER, Jewish Voice for Peace and BritTzedek

Michelle FINE, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Barry FINGER, Editorial board, New Politics

David FINKEL, Managing Editor, Against the Current

Norman G. FINKELSTEIN, Independent scholar

Laurie FOX

Racheli GAI, Co-editor, Jewish Peace News

Irene GENDZIER, Boston University

Jack GERSON, Oakland Education Association Executive Board

Alice GOLIN, Bloomfield-Glen Ridge NJ Peace Action

Steve GOLIN, Bloomfield College

Linda GORDON, Professor of History, New York University

Marilyn HACKER, Writer, City College of New York

Stanley HELLER, Moderator "Jews Who Speak Out"; Host "The Struggle" TV news magazine

Edward S. HERMAN, Professor Emeritus, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Carol HORWITZ, "Jews Say No"

Louis KAMPF, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stan KARP, Rethinking Schools

Melanie KAYE/KANTROWITZ, Queens College, City University of New York

Richard LACHMANN, University at Albany - State University of New York

Joanne LANDY, Campaign for Peace & Democracy

Jesse LEMISCH, Professor Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Howard LENOW, American Jews For A Just Peace

Zachary LEVENSON, University of California-Berkeley

Joseph LEVINE, Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts

Mark LEVINE, Professor of Middle East History, University of California, Irvine

Nelson LICHTENSTEIN, University of California, Santa Barbara

Lawrence LIFSCHULTZ, Author and journalist

Zachary LOCKMAN, New York University

Marvin MANDELL, Co-editor, New Politics

Joan NESTLE

Henry NOBLE, National Secretary, U.S. Section, Freedom Socialist Party

Judith NORMAN, Co-editor, Jewish Peace News

David OST, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Frances Fox PIVEN, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Karen REDLEAF, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Adrienne RICH, Poet and activist

Bruce ROBBINS, Columbia University

Robert C. ROSEN, William Paterson University

Deborah ROSENFELT, Professor of Women's Studies, University of Maryland

Emma ROSENTHAL, Cafe Intifada/Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee

Paula ROTHENBERG, Professor Emerita, William Paterson University

Matthew ROTHSCHILD, Editor, The Progressive magazine

Rachel RUBIN, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Marjorie SCHEER, Jews for a Just Peace - North Carolina

Michael SCHWARTZ, Stony Brook State University

Alexander SHALOM, Lawyer

Beverly SHALOM, Social worker

Evelyn R. SHALOM, Health educator

Stephen R. SHALOM, William Paterson University

Sami SHALOM CHETRIT

Ira SHOR, City University of New York

Jerome SLATER, Writer

Stephen SOLDZ, Co-founder, Coalition for an Ethical Psychology

David S. SURREY, Saint Peter's College

Norman TRAUB

Carol WALD, War Resisters League

Richard I. WARK, Jews for a Just Peace-North Carolina

Lois WEINER, Professor of Education, New Jersey City University

Adrienne WELLER

Eleanor WILNER, Writer

Howard ZINN, Historian

 

OTHER

Marshall ANSELL, Sweden

David BARKIN, Mexico

Viviane COHEN, Architect, Morocco

Hans DIELEMAN, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, Mexico

Mary ELDIN, Ireland

Dror FEILER, Musician, Chairperson of European Jews for a Just Peace and Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred, Sweden

Jacques HERSH, Professor Emeritus, Denmark

Zachris JÄNTTI, Finland

Jakob LINDBERG, Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred, Sweden

Margot SALOM, Palestinian & Jewish Unity for Justice and Peace, Australia