A Letter Against Apartheid

*the following statement is taken directly from this link: www.againstapartheid.com - do please visit the link to add your name. 

Palestinians are being attacked and killed with impunity by Israeli soldiers and armed Israeli civilians who have been roaming the streets of Jerusalem, Lydda, Haifa, Jaffa and other cities chanting, “Death to Arabs.” Several lynchings of unarmed and unprotected Palestinians have already taken place in the last two weeks. Families in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah continue to face ethnic cleansing and displacement from their homes. These acts of murder, intimidation, and violent dispossession are protected, if not actively encouraged, by the Israeli government and police. 

This May, the Israeli government committed yet another massacre in Gaza by indiscriminately and relentlessly bombing Palestinians in their homes, offices, hospitals and on the street. The bombing of Gaza is part of an intentional and recursive pattern where entire families are killed and local infrastructure is destroyed. This serves to exacerbate conditions that are already unliveable in one of the most densely populated places on earth, which, despite the temporary ceasefire, remains under military siege. Gaza is not a separate country: we are one people, forcibly separated by the architecture of the Israeli state. 

To frame this as a war between two equal sides is false and misleading. Israel is the colonizing power. Palestine is colonized. This is not a conflict: this is apartheid.

In the face of the increased mortal danger of the past two weeks, Palestinians are uniting once again. In Palestine and across the world, vast numbers are taking to the streets, organizing on social media, defending their homes, protecting each other, and demanding an end to ethnic cleansing, apartheid, discrimination and dispossession. Our communities have been systematically denied their right of return and forcibly fragmented and erased since An-Nakba, the dawn of Israeli settler colonial rule in 1948, and this recent coming together has given us some much-needed confidence amid the rage and grief of the past two weeks. We are starting to feel, in spite of all that is happening, in spite of years of dehumanization, some hope.

Finally, the world has started calling the Israeli system by its name. Earlier this year the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem followed the example set by decades of Palestinian intellectual and legal advocacy work in demonstrating that there is no separation between the Israeli state and its military occupation: the two form a single apartheid system. Human Rights Watch, in turn, published a thorough report accusing Israel of "crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution." 

We, the undersigned Palestinian artists, writers and our listed allies in the arts ask you to join us. Please don’t let this moment pass. If Palestinian voices are silenced again, it may take generations for another chance for freedom and justice to arise. We ask you to join us now, at this critical juncture, and show your support for Palestinian liberation.

We call for an immediate and unconditional cessation of Israeli violence against Palestinians. We call for an end to the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military; especially the United States, which now provides Israel $3.8 billion annually without condition. We ask all people of conscience to exercise their agency to help dismantle the apartheid regime of our time. We ask governments that are enabling this crime against humanity to apply sanctions, to mobilize levers of international accountability, and to cut trade, economic and cultural relations.  We call on activists, and especially our peers in the arts, to exercise their agency within their institutions and localities to support the Palestinian struggle for decolonization to the best of their ability. Israeli apartheid is sustained by international complicity, it is our collective responsibility to redress this harm.

We have seen how governments in Europe and beyond recently have instated policies of open censorship, and fostered a culture of self-censorship, towards Palestinian solidarity. Conflating legitimate criticism of the State of Israel and its policies towards Palestinians with antisemitism is cynical. Racism, including antisemitism, and all forms of hate, are heinous and not welcome in the Palestinian struggle. It is time to stand up to these tactics of silencing and overcome them. Millions of people around the world see in Palestinians a microcosm of their own oppression and hopes, and allies such as Black Lives Matter and Jewish Voice for Peace, along with indigenous rights, feminist and queer activists, among many others, are increasingly vocal in their support. 

We ask you to be brave. We ask you to come forward, speak up and take a clear public stand against this ongoing injustice in Palestine.

Apartheid must be dismantled. No one is free until we are all free.

A Letter Against Apartheid