2013.01.01: Jews For Palestinian Right of Return

JFPROR tinyurl
Jews For Palestinian Right of Return
January 1, 2013

“For Palestinians, the right to return home and the right to live in dignity and equality in their own land are not any less important than the right to live free of military occupation.”
–Prof. Saree Makdisi[1]

For more than a century, Zionists have sought to construct a “Jewish state” through forced removal of the indigenous Palestinian people.

In 1948, this state was established through the Nakba (Catastrophe): erasure and occupation of more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages, dispossession of over 750,000 Palestinians, and a terror campaign of which the massacre at Deir Yassin is but the most infamous example.

Since 1967, Israel has also occupied and colonized the remainder of historic Palestine. Today, this relentless ethnic cleansing continues — armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies — on both sides of the 1948 “Green Line.”

As a cumulative result, seventy percent of Palestinians are in exile, the world’s largest refugee population.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Gaza, where Israel inflicts particularly brutal collective punishment on 1.7 million people — most of them refugees — for defiantly resisting expulsion from their homes throughout historic Palestine.

“Pick a point, any point, along [Gaza’s] 25-mile coastline,” writes Gaza City resident Lara Aburamadan, “and you’re seven or so miles — never more — from the other side. The other side is where my grandparents were born, in a village that has since become someone else’s country, off limits to me. You call it Israel. I call it the place where the bombs come from.”[2]

To hide these crimes and shield itself from their consequences, the Zionist regime officially denies the Nakba, the ethical equivalent of Holocaust denial. It has even authorized legislation to penalize those who memorialize the Nakba — a step toward criminalizing its observance altogether.

As it is for all colonized peoples, liberation means reversing dispossession. “The Palestinian cause,” writes Dr. Haidar Eid in Gaza, “is the right of return for all refugees and nothing less.”[3]

Return — one of the key demands of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign — is affirmed in U.N. resolution 194, but derives from the principle of universal human rights and, as such, cannot be renounced or abandoned by any body or representative; it inalienably attaches to Palestinians, both individually and collectively.

Despite this, even some who criticize Israel’s 1967 occupation claim that Palestinian return is “unrealistic.”

However, solidarity means unconditional support for the just aims of those resisting oppression. As Palestinian journalist-activist Maath Musleh explains: “If you think that [return] is not possible, then you are really not in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.”[4]

Some also object that refugees’ return would mean an end to the “Jewish state.” But supporters of social justice must ask themselves how they can defend a state whose very existence depends on structural denial of Palestinian rights.

Recently, more than a hundred leading Palestinian activists reaffirmed their opposition “to all forms of racism and bigotry, including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and other forms of bigotry directed at anyone, and in particular people of color and indigenous peoples everywhere.”[5]

Such racism and bigotry is reflected precisely in Zionism’s attempt to erase the Palestinian people, a century long campaign that dishonors the memory of Jewish suffering and resistance in Europe.

The moral response is clear: “There is one geopolitical entity in historic Palestine,” writes Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah. “Israel must not be allowed to continue to entrench its apartheid, racist and colonial rule throughout that land.”[6]

As Jews of conscience, we call on all supporters of social justice to stand up for Palestinian Right of Return and a democratic state throughout historic Palestine — “From the River to the Sea” — with equal rights for all.

The full measure of justice, upon which the hopes of all humanity depends, requires no less.

Initial signers
List in formation; affiliations listed for identification only
To sign as an individual or organization, e-mail jfpror@gmail.com

Max Ajl, Writer and activist; Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine

Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Switzerland

Max Blumenthal, Journalist and author

Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Filmmaker, photographer and film studies scholar

Lenni Brenner, Author and anti-war activist

Mike Cushman, Convenor, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)

Sonia Fayman, French Jewish Union for Peace; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network France

Sherna Berger Gluck, Founding member US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Coordinator, Fellowship of Reconciliation Peacewalks, Mural Arts in Palestine and Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence

Hector Grad, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Spain)

Abraham Greenhouse, Blogger, Electronic Intifada

Tony Greenstein, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)

Jeff Halper, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

Stanley Heller, Host of “The Struggle” TV News

Tikva Honig-Parnass, Former member of the Zionist armed forces (1948); author of False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine

Adam Horowitz, Co-Editor, Mondoweiss.net

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK

David Klein, Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Dennis Kortheuer, Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign; Dump Veolia LA

David Letwin, Activist and writer; Gaza Freedom March

Michael Letwin, Co-Founder, Labor for Palestine; Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

Antony Loewenstein, Australian journalist and author

Barbara Lubin, Executive Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance

Mike Marqusee, Author If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

Hajo Meyer, Auschwitz survivor; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Linda Milazzo, Participatory journalist and educator

Prof. Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist

Miko Peled, Author of The General’s Son

Karen Pomer, Granddaughter of Henri B. van Leeuwen, Dutch anti-Zionist leader and Bergen-Belsen survivor

Diana Ralph, Assistant Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices-Canada

Dorothy Reik, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin, President, International League for Human Rights (German Section FIDH); Founding member of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace – EJJP Germany

Rachel Roberts, Civil rights attorney and writer

Ilana Rossoff, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Carol K. Smith, Activist and civil rights attorney

Lia Tarachansky, Director, Seven Deadly Myths

Hadas Thier, Contributing author of The Struggle for Palestine; Israeli-born daughter and grand-daughter of Nazi Holocaust survivors

Dr. Abraham Weizfeld, Montréal; Jewish People’s Liberation Organization

Sherry Wolf, Author and public speaker; International Socialist Organization; Adalah-NY

Marcy Winograd, Former Congressional Peace Candidate; public school teacher

Dr. Roger van Zwanenberg, Non-Executive Director, Pluto Books Ltd.


[1] Saree Makdisi, “If Not Two States, Then One,” N.Y. Times, December 5, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/opinion/global/if-not-two-states-then-one.html?_r=0

[2] Lara Aburamadan, “Trapped in Gaza,” N.Y. Times, November 16, 2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/opinion/trapped-in-gaza.html

[3] Haidar Eid, “The Palestinian Left and RoR,” ZMag, October 8, 2012,http://www.zcommunications.org/the-palestinian-left-and-ror-by-haidar-eid

[4] Maath Musleh, “Communique: Palestine #4 Brief Thoughts on International Solidarity With Our Struggle in Palestine,” September 8, 2012,  http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/blog/brief-thoughts-on-international-solidarity-with-our-struggle-in-palestine/

[5] “The struggle for Palestinian rights is incompatible with any form of racism or bigotry: a statement by Palestinians,” Electronic Intifada, October 23, 2012,  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/struggle-palestinian-rights-incompatible-any-form-racism-or-bigotry-statement

[6] Ali Abunimah, “Mahmoud Abbas’ real ‘accomplishment’ was not the UN vote on Palestine,” Aljazeera, December 2, 2012,  http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/2012122165114321474.html. See also, “The Way Forward for Palestine Solidarity, June 23, 2010,  http://al-awdany.org/2010/07/statement-the-way-forward-for-palestine-solidarity-please-endorse/


One response to “2013.01.01: Jews For Palestinian Right of Return

  1. Hey Michael. Thought you (or anyone reading…) may have interest in a video I put up on youtube a few days ago that relates to Palestinian Right Of Return. I surreptitiously videotaped a talk sponsored by J Street after a screening of Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers and edited it w/ my interspersed commentary on the film and the talk (I wasn’t a fan of either…). It’s kinda long, but you could skip to the points that relate directly to the Right Of Return issue: They’re between 29:37 – 32:28, and then again from 33:59 – 36:36. Vid can be found here:

    Since you’re much more knowledgable than myself about the situation, you probably already know that J Street’s stated position is that NO right of return option for the Palestinians can be part of any negotiated settlement. I was shocked to find this out. Absurd, of course. But seeing as J Street likes to parade itself around as a “Liberal/Progressive” home for American Jews I figured they’d at least give lip service to right of return. But no. I consider them to be a part of the “Conservative is the new Moderate” trend…

    I talk about a lot of other stuff in this vid, but I assume you’re busy. Thanks for what you do and I’m just trying to contribute. Hope this isn’t a bother, and of course feel free to embed/mirror/share this vid w/ anyone you think may have interest in it (if anyone),

    John Dworkin

    P.S. – Coincidentally, I quote the 1977 NLG report from the occupied territories twice in this video…


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