MISSION AND POSITIONS STATEMENT
We believe Middle East peace will come only through recognizing and correcting seven decades of dispossession imposed by force upon the indigenous Muslim, Christian, and other Arabic peoples of Palestine. Peace cannot bypass justice.
We advocate a solution based upon principles of democratic equality, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international law, including the unequivocal right of return for several million UN-registered Palestinian refugees dispossessed, exiled, colonized, suffocated by military occupation, confined to blockade in Gaza or confined to poverty in UN-administered refugee camps.
As the origin of the conflict, we believe that awareness of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe, is critical for understanding the problem. Israel’s original goal and its ongoing strategy of “nishul” – displacement or dispossession in Hebrew – remains unchanged since 1948 and has blocked resolution for many decades due in no small part to control of US Middle East foreign policy by the Israel lobby, which US citizens are responsible for permitting or blindly supporting.
We learned from our own Jim Crow history, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, that separate is never equal. We therefore do not support a two-state solution, which would institutionalize segregation of two peoples and allow the apartheid system within Israel to remain unchallenged. A “Jewish and democratic” state is an Orwellian oxymoron. It cannot be both. Israel is a democracy only for its Jewish citizens. Non-Jews in Israel are denied equal rights in virtually every area of life.
Instead, we support an integrated, egalitarian state or binational federation with freedom and equal rights for all its citizens - as in fact was pledged by Israel's own 1948 declaration of statehood. The Arab population of historic Palestine, including the 20% non-Jewish population inside Israel, must be provided constitutional protections against the racist laws that currently exist.
Colonial Zionism is an archaic, ethnic nationalist,19th century ideology that continues to underpin a Jewish supremacist system not unlike South African apartheid and white supremacist, segregationist Jim Crow in our pre-1950s South. We challenge this and its support by our country as incompatible with American principles of government and fundamental international standards of human rights.
Israel and its lobby typically invoke the Holocaust to justify its "right" to an ethnocentric Jewish state, but Palestinians cannot be expected or required to pay for Nazi crimes. Nazi perpetrators were tried and punished, and Germany has been paying reparations to individual survivors and the state of Israel ever since. In contrast, Israel has refused to acknowledge guilt for its violent colonial land seizures, massacres and ongoing oppression, has provided no restitution or restorative justice to its own victims, and none of its perpetrators have been prosecuted.
American knee-jerk support of Israel and its continuous human rights violations has been maintained by a relentless campaign of deception, disinformation and campaign finance-engineered political control by the most powerful lobby in Washington affecting our foreign policy - AIPAC and some 50 other major American Jewish organizations. These organizations purport to represent the American Jewish community, but in fact American Jewish views of Israel are far less uniform and far less positive among a substantial fraction, especially younger, Jews. We support these awakening but underrepresented Jewish voices, and call for an end to Israeli occupation of both Palestine and Washington, D.C.
Obstruction has also come from the left, the so-called “Alternatives to AIPAC,” which promote dialogue, negotiation and compromise rather than enforcement of international law. The victim of a robbery cannot be required to negotiate or compromise with the thief over how much to return. Before dialogue or negotiation can yield resolution, external, non-violent intervention forces must be applied to equalize power, which is now grossly imbalanced.
Citizens disturbed by our pathological symbiosis with Israel can apply non-violent moral and economic force through the BDS movement that includes targeted product boycotts and divestment from Israeli and U.S. companies that support and/or exploit Israel's occupation, state violence and blockade. Obviously threatened by this growing movement, Israel and its lobby are mounting a determined propaganda effort against it. We can encourage divestment by our organizations and employers, and can support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel to communicate our repudiation of their policies and conduct to the Israeli public. And most importantly perhaps, we can lobby our elected representatives to end U.S. vetoes in the U.N. Security Council (45 through 2018) that have long protected Israel from international judgment and justice.
Ironically, this will simultaneously save Israel from its current path of self-destruction, which many insightful Israelis recognize. To survive its own arrogant excesses, gain acceptance within the community of nations, and emerge from its self-imposed ghetto behind fortress walls, Israel must repudiate Zionism and transform itself into a normal, multi-ethnic, non-discriminatory constitutional democracy in the modern Western tradition it thus far only falsely claims to represent. In so doing, and by honoring the Palestinian right of return, Israel will lose its Jewish majority and Zionist political domination, and will benefit socially, psychologically and spiritually in the process.
Our work relies without political compromise upon:
(1) historical truthfulness citing the evidentiary record, not "narratives" or ethnic mythology;
(2) adherence by all peoples to universally recognized human rights and the international rule of law;
(3) recognition of the Palestinians as the victims, not the aggressors, in this seven-decade conflict, and not co-equal with Israel in responsibility for its origination, continuation or lack of resolution;
(4) concern for not only the wellbeing but the rights of Palestinians as an abandoned and largely helpless people who have been cruelly victimized, subjected to institutional as well as legal discrimination within both Israel and their territories which Israel illegally occupies, and denied justice, the right of self-determination, protection by the governing power, and an equal voice with other citizens of the world;
(5) condemnation of our own country's abuse-enabling support and protection of their colonizer, occupier and oppressor, and our violations of both international and U.S. law in so doing.