The following is an open letter from an ad hoc
group of Jewish women activsts. We delivered an
earlier version of this statement to the Consul
General of Israel in Boston, and are now
distributing it more widely.

Throughout the current crisis in the Middle East,
numerous Jewish American organizations have
expressed both unconditional support for the
actions of the Israeli government and vehement
condemnation of the Palestinian Authority. As
Jewish American women who have long worked for
social justice on a variety of fronts, and who
support peaceful coexistence between the
Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jewish peoples, we
wish to make clear that these organizations do
not speak for us. Nor do they speak for many
other American Jews who have not yet voiced their
opinions, or who have spoken and found their
views ignored or maligned by the media or by
other Jews.

We mourn all the deaths. We abhor the loss of
Jewish lives in this conflict and the tragic
implications of the renewed violence for Israel.
We cannot, however, ignore the fact that the
overwhelming number of families shedding tears
for loved ones slain or maimed these past two
months has been Palestinian. We are both pained
and outraged by the killing of over 250
Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of
Israel, by Israeli forces that are, in effect, an
occupying army in the areas under siege. We
strongly support the call for immediate
international protection of the Palestinian

We refute the view that the Palestinian Authority
is responsible for initiating the current
conflict, and condemn the arrogant and
deliberately provocative action of Ariel Sharon
that set the chain of bloody events in motion. We
likewise deplore the support that the Israeli
government provided for Sharon's trip to the
disputed holy site?despite the fact that he was
beseeched not to go by many who were apprised of
his intentions in advance?and the government's
failure to sanction him after the fact. This is
not the first time Sharon's hateful and
irresponsible conduct has had deadly consequences
for Palestinians.

We support the Palestinian right to
self-determination. In this, we take our
inspiration from the long history of Jewish
participation in struggles for liberation and
justice for all peoples, a history which is
stained by Israel's current status as an abusive
occupying power. As Jews, how can we fail to
recognize and condemn the flagrant injustice of
Israel's disproportionate use of massive military
might?including high velocity bullets, helicopter
gunships and anti-tank missiles?against a
Palestinian civilian population armed mostly with
stones? Fifty years of conflict have increasingly
compromised the ideals that contributed to
Israel's founding and have caused a new
generation of Israelis to suffer for political
goals that many Jews inside and outside Israel do
not share.

We refuse to allow our views to be characterized
either as the product of "internalized
anti-Semitism" or as a "betrayal" of our people
just because we do not participate in the
unqualified support of Israel that is expected of
us as Jewish Americans. We are proud Jewish women
who are well aware that anti-Semitism continues
to thrive and to impact Jews around the world. We
actively challenge anti-Semitism and all other
forms of discrimination through our work for
social change. But we unequivocally reject the
view that the experience of having been
victimized legitimates or excuses the
exploitation of others.

As Jews, we call upon the Israeli government to
end immediately its immoral and illegal
occupation of the Palestinian territories and to
dismantle the unlawful Jewish settlements it has
used to subvert the establishment of a viable
Palestinian state. Such actions would demonstrate
Israel's true commitment to achieving peaceful
coexistence alongside a sovereign Palestine, and
would honor the tradition of justice that infuses
Jewish teachings, Jewish practice and Jewish

As United States citizens, we call upon our own
government to support the Palestinian appeal for
immediate international protection. The need for
protective forces could not be more urgent, as
the conflict escalates and the numbers of dead
and wounded rise daily. We also call for an end
to the U.S. government's political and diplomatic
support for Israel's occupation of the
Palestinian territories, and for termination of
our government's substantial economic
subsidization of the occupation. We seek a
national policy that supports the right to
Palestinian self-determination and peace with
justice for Israeli Jews and for Palestinians.

Finally, we call upon American Jews to join us in
speaking out in every way you can. Contact the
Israeli Consulate. Write to President Clinton,
Madeleine Albright , local and national elected
officials, and the editors of the publications
you read. Challenge those around you who continue
to support Israel uncritically. Educate
yourselves about Israeli violations of
Palestinian human rights. Support
organizations?including Palestinian and Israeli
ones?working on behalf of Palestinian dignity and

And remember what our own history tells us:

Silence in the face of injustice is complicity
with injustice.

Alice Rothchild
Amy Grabel
Amy Hoffman
Ann Rivo
Anna Bulkin
Barbara Berney
Barbara Schulman
Carol Katz
Carol Marton
Carole Ann Fer
Carole Resnick
Cindy Engler
Cynthia Rothschild
Dara Silverman
Deb Olin
Debbie Lubarr
Deborah Adelman
Deborah Belle
Deborah Roher
Debra Borkovitz
Deeg Gold
Dunya Alwan
Elana Levy
Eleanor Roffman
Ellen Shachter
Ellen Siegel
Ellen Stone
Ellen Wolpert
Elly Bulkin
Emily Schatzow
Esther Fuchs
Felice Yeskel
Harneen Chernow
Hilda Silverman
Janet Murray
Joan Nestle
Jodi Sugerman-Brozan
Joelle Hochman
Judith Glaubman
Julie Iny
Karen Kahn
Kate Bennett
Kate Harris
Corrinne Bayer
Laura Foner
Leslee Klein
Linda Dittmar
Lisa Albrecht
Liza Goldman Huertas
Lynn Gerber
Marguerite Rosenthal
Mira Brown
Nancy Marks
Nili Pearlmutter
Pam Mitchell
Rebecca Gutman
Rebecca Herzig
Roberta Stone
S. A. Bachman
Sandy Martin
Sarah Hershey
Shaari Neretin
Shelley Mains
Sheila Parks
Sherry Flashman
Stephanie Yesner
Susan Jacoby
Suzi Hart
Tatiana Schreiber
Tsela Carol Barr
Wendy Gutman

We are still collecting signatures. Jewish women
who would like to add their voice to ours can

contact us at:  JewishWomenActivists@yahoo.com.