Statement of Solidarity with Palestine

As South African Jews for a Free Palestine, we join a chorus of those, including the South African Government and the SA BDS Coalition, calling for an immediate cease fire by Israeli forces to stop the genocide across occupied Palestine.

We refuse to enter an arithmetic of death. Yet, how can we not? Over 1400 Israelis have been killed and, as we write, more than 3000 Palestinians have been killed, with the number rising by the hour. We abhor the killing of even one person, whose life, according to Jewish tradition, is equal to “a world entire”. Many of us are descendants of families who fled the murderous pogroms in Eastern Europe, as well as descendants of survivors and refugees of the Holocaust. We refuse to weaponise this history. We also understand what it means to be implicated in the violence of ghettoisation, dispossession, racism, and settler colonialism, and genocide in apartheid South Africa.

We mourn the Israeli civilians killed by Hamas on the 7th of October. We mourn the ongoing killing of Palestinians in Gaza by ceaseless bombing and total blockade of the strip. We mourn the killings of Palestinians in the West Bank. We are outraged by the mass forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza where we are witnessing crimes against humanity on an epic scale. And we witness in horror as Israel instrumentalises and weaponises the killing of Israelis on the 7th of October to justify the annihilation of Palestinian life, homes and infrastructure in Gaza with the kind of dehumanising language that accompanies genocide. We refuse the status of human ascribed to Israelis and the status of non-human ascribed to Palestinians and call for equality for all, in life and in death.

Since the start of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and 1967, the regime has attempted to destroy the collective existence of Palestinians and their right to live where they always have: Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In Gaza and the West Bank, the Israeli regime has made the lives of Palestinians unliveable. With its allies, Israel has ensured that this condition of unliveability is made morally acceptable and politically normal. This has to stop. The lives of Palestinians and Israelis are inextricably bound together, as is their future.

We support our government’s efforts to put an end to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza strip, and call on our government to intervene to stop the collective punishment, forced transfer, blockade, bombing of residential neighbourhoods and genocide unfolding. We call for an immediate cease fire, a complete cessation of the genocide unfolding and the end of occupation and apartheid. Jews say, NO to genocide! Jews say, NO to occupation! Jews say NO to apartheid!