SUPPORT ISRAEL? NOT IN OUR NAME!
Le Monde / April 4, 2002 / Analysis
In solidarity with the national and democratic rights
Palestinian people, we refuse the military escalation.
The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) calls
for a demonstration on April 7, not only to protest the attacks on
places of worship, but also to "support Israel".
As the military cleansing escalates in the occupied territories, this
support takes a very particular meaning. Claiming to speak in the name
of Jews all over the world, the Israeli government and the community
spokespeople usurp the collective memory of judeocide, and commit a
theft of our heritage. Taking up the slogan of American opponents of
imperial crusades, we reply: "Not in our name!" Ariel Sharon has indeed
resolved, with the support of George W. Bush, to crush the Palestinian
resistance, to destroy its institutions, to humiliate its leaders, and
to force its people into a new exodus. The day of Easter, TV news
offered us the disgusting spectacle of a US President relaxing in his
informal weekend clothes, cynically demanding more effort and good will
from a Yasser Arafat who was besieged, deprived of water, and
illuminated by candle light! Faced with the tragic solitude of the
Palestinian people, the "international community" competes in shameful
betrayals and capitulations.
Israeli Labor ministers execute slavishly the worst kind of politics!
The arab governments do nothing to demand respect for the rights of the
Palestinian people! Quick to follow the lead of the American imperial
legions in the name of international law, the European governments limit
themselves at best to pious words, while Sharon's troops openly violate
UN resolutions! The good souls among the intellectuals who correctly
were moved by the fate of Kosovar refugees or bombings of Grozny are
silent on the fate of Palestinian refugees, and wash their hands of the
burned walls and the ruins of Ramallah!
Full of pre-electoral compassion towards the victims of antisemitic
that nothing, and certainly not support for the Palestinian people, can
justify, our governments are chastely silent in the face of the crimes
committed by the troops of occupation in the West Bank! Those who
justify a Jewish right of return to Israel, in the name of a millennial
blood right, refuse land rights to Palestinians! United Nations
dignitaries tolerate the humiliations inflicted on the Palestinian
Authority! Those who claim to administer universal justice look away
from the extra-judicial killings, the summary executions of prisoners,
and Ariel Sharon's war crimes!
Having been recognized by the Palestinian Authority and by many Arab
governments, the Israeli state is now irreversibly established.
But a durable peace requires mutual recognition of both peoples and
their coexistence founded on equal rights. The Israelis have a sovereign
state, a powerful army, a territory; the Palestinians have been
relegated to camps for half a century, submitted to brutality and
humiliation, besieged in a shrinking territory: as large as a French
"département", the West Bank is lacerated with strategic roads, riddled
with more than 700 checkpoints, covered with settlements. There is no
symmetry between occupier and occupied.
The unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli army from the occupied
territories, and the dismantling of the settlements would not even
constitute reparation of the injustice committed towards the
Palestinians, but merely the application of a right formally recognized
for more than 35 years, beginning with UN resolutions 242 and 337 and
including Security Council resolution 1042. In contrast, Bush demands
ever more concessions and assurances from the victims. Sharon sequesters
their representatives and blows up their houses, while his army blocks
first aid services. This disastrous policy leads straight to
catastrophe, not only for the Palestinian people, threatened with ethnic
cleansing and a new exodus, but also for the Israeli people, drawn into
the suicidal spiral of its leaders. For what is the future of a State
founded on oppression, injustice, and crime? What is the future of a
people running from its agonies and anxieties into a murderous
It could have been predicted that by assimilating Judaism with the
Israeli government's policies, and by presenting Jewish institutions as
semi-official embassies of Israel, the sorcerers' apprentices of Greater
Israel would end up being taken at their word, which does not make
attacks on synagogues and schools any less odious and unacceptable.
We condemn the attacks on a community as a community, which make Jews
collectively responsible for the extortions committed by the Israeli
government. We condemn any antisemitic drift in the struggle against its
policies. We condemn, for reasons both moral and political, the attacks
on Israeli civilians. The actions against the settlements and the
occupation army, in contrast, are part of a historically legitimate
resistance, and of a defense of inalienable rights. Only three months
ago, the minister of the interior of Israel, Uzi Landau, announced in Le
Monde (December 14, 2001) a "struggle to the death" against the
Palestinians, as long as the latter have a drop of hope. This knowingly
maintained despair is thus the soil in which extreme violence takes
While Sharon promised security to Israelis, their country has become
place in the world where Jews are least safe. Tying the fate of his
people to the unlimited war on terrorism decreed by George W. Bush, it
was clear that his disastrous politics would become a hellish machine to
manufacture kamikazes. Denouncing any racist or antisemitic drift in
France as well as in the Middle East, in solidarity with the national
and democratic rights of the Palestinian people, we refuse the military
escalation, and its predictable unfolding of disaster. We demand
compliance with the United Nations resolutions, the unconditional
withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories, the dismantling of
the settlements, and the immediate recognition by the European Union of
a secular and sovereign Palestinian state.
Daniel Bensaïd, Rony Brauman, Suzanne de Brunhoff, Liliane
Cordova-Kaczerginsky, Marc Cramer, Joss Dray, Rachel Garbaz, Gisèle
Halimi, Samuel Johsua, Francis Kahn, Pierre Khalfa, Hubert Krivine,
Isabelle Kzwykowski, Dominique Lévy, Henri Maler, Willy Rozenbaum,
Nicolas Shashahani, Catherine Samary, Michèle Sibony, Pierre
Vidal-Naquet, Olivia Zemor co-signed this text.