More than 100 Jews signed a declaration calling on synagogues and Jewish institutions to remove the Israeli flag. “Like the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and the famous international organization Human Rights Watch, we view the Israeli government as an apartheid state. Apartheid has been an international crime since the 1970s. It is offensive to see Jewish communal spaces brandish the emblem of a criminal system ” they write.
“It is offensive to see Jewish communal spaces brandish the emblem of a criminal system. We specifically compare the Israeli flag to the secessionist Southern Confederate flag as an emblem of an unjust system, a flag the display of which is now viewed by most people as deleterious support for racism. (Of course, we’re not saying the Old South and Israel are the same.) ”
- The Declaration:
We Jews call on Jews and Jewish organizations around the world to remove Israeli flags from common areas, whether in Jewish schools, Jewish Federation offices or synagogues. It is clear to us – and to much of the world – as B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch reports demonstrated – that the state of Israel is an apartheid regime and therefore, as international law rightly confirms, this is a permanent crime against humanity.
The government of Israel, from its inception, has been determined to totally subjugate or remove indigenous Palestinians from the land on which they have lived for centuries. The supremacist Jewish state of Israel is deeply discriminatory and necessarily violent towards Palestinians who naturally resist oppression and expulsion.
Israel logically allies with far-right and anti-Semitic forces even though this endangers Jews around the world. It may sound surprising, but these harmful alliances have long been the practice of Zionist organizations that worked to create Israel.
It is increasingly important for Jews to distinguish between Judaism and the State of Israel and its policies. By displaying an Israeli flag prominently in our community institutions, we allow anti-Semites to believe that our interests are inextricably linked with those of a state whose policies we abhor. The Israeli flag has the status of a Confederate flag, and we are appalled that it represents us. It should be removed.
The signatories include such figures as Talmudic culture professor Daniel Boyarin, Professor Judith Butler, Rabbis David Mivasair, Lucía Pizarro and Gabriel, Hagai, Kohenet Rae Abileah, lawyer Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Israeli-German actress Nirit Sommerfeld and many lesser-known individuals identified in the statement by activist group, occupation or geographic residence.
Why are the American and Israeli flags routinely in synagogues and Jewish Federation offices in the first place? Muslims do not have flags of countries in their mosques. Some Christian churches do, but the practice is far from universal. American flags crept into synagogues during World War I to honor the war dead. Israeli flags entered some conservative and Orthodox synagogues after 1948 as an act of solidarity, with the Reform denomination not consistently displaying them until decades later.
Whatever the reason that Israeli flags flew in Jewish spaces, they should be removed now. They should beremoved because of the 15 families wiped out in Gaza in May. They should be removed because the IDF is creating hell for the people of Bil’in in the West Bank. They should be removed because more than 900 Israeli Jews have said they regard the system that governs them as the illegal system of apartheid. ”
See the names of the signatories on the EuroPalestine website
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