A call by concerned SA Jews
Hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing their homes in Lebanon as a result of Israeli military actions. Mounting deaths and injuries, more than half of them of children, are disproportionately affecting one side in this unequal war. The entire infrastructure of a country recently recovering from decades of conflict has been destroyed once again. A humanitarian crisis so severe has been caused that aid agencies have had to beg Israel to open a corridor to allow for the delivery of aid to what remains of shattered lives.
These are innocent civilian victims of an extraordinarily violent attack by Israel. They had no part in the actions to which the Israeli state claims it is responding and there is no moral justification for the appalling price they are being forced to pay by Israelâ€™s action, which is a contravention of humanitarian law.
For the most part, the response of the Jewish community here has been to endorse this aggression — either through active support or by remaining silent and failing to condemn it. For many, any means adopted by the state of Israel, including these extraordinary attacks, are acceptable or even warranted because they contribute to Jewish survival.
We differ strongly from this view. We believe that Jewish support for Israeli aggression threatens both the moral and physical survival of the Jewish people. The overt support and the silent echo chamber around it robs us of our humanity and denies the lessons we Jews should have learned from our own history of oppression. Complicity, active or passive, in the subjugation of others also damages the credibility of the Jewish people by seeking to identify all Jews with actions which people of goodwill around the world rightly find shameful.
As South Africans with a common heritage, both as Jews and as people privileged to be a part of the ending of an evil system of discrimination here, we have learned that the path to peace can never lie in killing and destruction. Peace is only possible when antagonists start talking on the basis of a just solution for all. The pain of the people of Lebanon and of Palestine will not achieve peace. It will only continue the spiral of violence which threatens everyone in the Middle East, including those among our fellow Jews who see this violence as a means to security. Only dialogue and compromise can secure the future.
We appeal to all who share our commitment to a common humanity and our belief that our shared history imposes moral duties on us to join calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities. We raise our voices for calm, sanity and the restoration of human values to prevail so that a properly negotiated peace can be achieved between all the people of the Middle East. — Diane and Alan Fine, Jonathan Hoffenberg, Jeff Geffen, Janet Love, Brett Steingo, Allan Horwitz, Sue and Mike Schalit, Tamar Kahn, Merle Williams, Kito Holz, Nathan Geffen, Barry Gilder, Alan Hirsch, Andrew Kasrils, Ronnie Kasrils, Steven Friedman, Pat Sidley, Rica and Spencer Hodgson-, Erica Emdon, Toni Strasburg, Ivan Strasburg, Heidi Grunebaum, Bronwen Levy, Vanessa Barolsky, Ralph Kirsch, Nick Feinberg, Jane Lipman, Merle Favis, Lewis Rabkin, Rina King, Beata and Alan Lipman, Barbara Klugman, Gisele Wulfsohn, Sally Gross, Richard Levin, Georgina Jaffee, Hilary Rabkin-Naicker, Damon Kalvari, Colin Purkey, Keith Gottschalk, Max Ozinsky, Barry Levinrad, Raymond Suttner, Franny Rabkin, Sue Rabkin, Stephen Laufer, Zapiro, Lorna and Leon Levy, Margert Auerbach, Liebe Kellen, Melinda Silverman, Leslie London, Sue Isserow, Steven Robins, Adam Davis, Maureen Isaacson, Melissa Levin, Michael Sachs, Effie Seftel, Eve and Tony Hall, Ivor Chipkin, Barry Feinberg, Molly Sidley, Neva Makgetla, Jessica Sherman, Stacey Stent