Makes you wonder
The following thought-provoking collective letter was published this week in The Guardian (UK):
In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust.
Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler’s genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.
In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa’s market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.
In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.
In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.
We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.
We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.
Seymour Alexander, Ruth Appleton, Steve Arloff, Rica Bird, Jo Bird, Cllr Jonathan Bloch, Ilse Boas, Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Tanya Bronstein, Sheila Colman, Ruth Clark, Sylvia Cohen, Judith Cravitz, Mike Cushman, Angela Dale, Ivor Dembina, Dr. Linda Edmondson, Nancy Elan, Liz Elkind, Pia Feig, Colin Fine, Deborah Fink, Sylvia Finzi, Brian Fisher MBE, Frank Fisher, Bella Freud, Catherine Fried, Uri Fruchtmann, Stephen Fry, David Garfinkel, Carolyn Gelenter, Claire Glasman, Tony Greenstein, Heinz Grunewald, Michael Halpern, Abe Hayeem, Rosamine Hayeem, Anna Hellman, Amy Hordes, Joan Horrocks, Deborah Hyams, Selma James, Riva Joffe, Yael Oren Kahn, Michael Kalmanovitz, Paul Kaufman, Prof. Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Prof. Eleonore Kofman, Rene Krayer, Stevie Krayer, Berry Kreel, Leah Levane, Les Levidow, Peter Levin, Louis Levy, Ros Levy, Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, Catherine Lyons, Deborah Maccoby, Daniel Machover, Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes OBE, Mike Marqusee, Laura Miller, Simon Natas, Hilda Meers, Martine Miel, Laura Miller, Arthur Neslen, Diana Neslen, Orna Neumann, Harold Pinter, Roland Rance, Frances Rivkin, Sheila Robin, Dr. Brian Robinson, Neil Rogall, Prof. Steven Rose, Mike Rosen, Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, Leon Rosselson, Michael Sackin, Sabby Sagall, Ian Saville, Alexei Sayle, Anna Schuman, Sidney Schuman, Monika Schwartz, Amanda Sebestyen, Sam Semoff, Linda Shampan, Sybil Shine, Prof. Frances Stewart, Inbar Tamari, Ruth Tenne, Martin Toch, Tirza Waisel, Stanley Walinets, Martin White, Ruth Williams, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Devra Wiseman, Gerry Wolff, Sherry Yanowitz
By contrast, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already celebrated on the collective behalf of all Australians.