We renounce Israel rights

Thursday August 8, 2002
The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,770893,00.html

We are Jews, born and raised outside Israel, who, under Israel's "law of return", have a legal right to Israeli residence and citizenship (Real lives, G2, August 7). We wish to renounce this unsought "right" because:

1) We regard it as morally wrong that this legal entitlement should be bestowed on us while the very people who should have most right to a genuine "return", having been forced or terrorised into fleeing, are excluded.

2) Israel's policies towards the Palestinians are barbaric - we do not wish to identify ourselves in any way with what Israel is doing.

3) We disagree with the notion that Zionist emigration to Israel is any kind of "solution" for diaspora Jews, anti-semitism or racism - no matter to what extent Jews have been or are victims of racism, they have no right to make anyone else victims.

4) We wish to express our solidarity with all those who are working for a time when Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip can be lived in by people without any restrictions based on so-called racial, cultural, or ethnic origins.

We look forward to the day when all the peoples of the area are enabled to live in peace with each other on this basis of non-discrimination and mutual respect. Perhaps some of us would even wish to live there, but only if the rights of the Palestinians are respected. To those who consider Israel a "safe haven" for Jews in the face of anti-semitism, we say that there can be no safety in taking on the role of occupier and oppressor. We hope that the people of Israel and their leaders will come to realise this soon.

Michael RosenIan Saville
Prof Irene Bruegel
Michael Kustow
Mike Marqusee
Prof Steven Rose
Leon Rosselson
and 38 others

The comment by Ian Buruma (G2, July 23) that "inside Israel, there is no apartheid" is pathetic in its inaccuracy. Israeli Arabs cannot get housing and are segregated into specific areas by pass laws. But that's the detail. The big picture is worse. This state is "a home for Jews". This week we read that poor Peruvian natives are being "converted" to Judaism so they can become the new shock troops of the West Bank settlements; and that Israeli Arab citizens can be stripped of their citizenship. Support Israel all you want, but it is a racist state.

Phelim Murnion
Galway, Ireland