On 26 October, a group of 50 Israelis took a stand against apartheid in an act of solidarity with Palestinians living in the open-air prison of Gaza. And although they had to stand on different sides of Israel’s apartheid wall, their message was powerful and beautiful.
‘Equal rights is the only path to peace’
The activist group told The Canary that the organisers of Gaza’s Great Return March protests had invited them to attend. And prominent Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigner Dr Haidar Eid (also founder of the Gaza section of the One Democratic State Group (ODSG)), spoke to the group over the phone.
The Israeli activists told The Canary:
Living under the Israeli Apartheid system, we as Jews are granted rights that Palestinians are denied. For example, we can demonstrate without being shot in the head or maimed by an Israeli soldier…
We recognize that equal rights for people regardless of their ethnicity, including of course the right of the refugees to return, is the only way for all people in this land – Jews and Palestinians – to live in peace and prosperity.
‘We, together, can bring this apartheid system to an end’
In the video, Eid says to the Israeli activists [0:58]:
You are about three to four hundred metres from the fence from where we are standing, but we can not talk to you; we can not shake hands with you… This is apartheid.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
He continues [1:34]:
We, together, with our joint struggle… [1:45] can bring this apartheid system to an end.
This event was not a one-off, though.
The activists belong to the group ‘Return’, and describe themselves as:
anti-Zionist Israelis working in solidarity with Palestinians in support of the Great March of Return.
Their principles, meanwhile, are:
Photographer Haim Schwarczenberg has been documenting Return’s actions. And a few weeks earlier, the group participated in another event with Palestinian activists in Gaza:
Zionism is the belief that there should be a Jewish state in Israel. Many Jews are not Zionists, and political Zionism is a comparatively new movement within Jewish thought (150~ years old). To equate Judaism with Zionism is misleading – Jews do not have a responsibility nor a natural tendency to be Zionists.
It has also stressed:
There are many, many Jews and Jewish organisations that oppose the Zionist ideology and Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Injustice is injustice. Full stop.
Alongside alleged Israeli war crimes and ethnic cleansing in the occupied West Bank, people in Gaza continue to live in what many observers describe as an open-air prison. It’s a place where water pollution is a “leading cause of child mortality”. In May, meanwhile, the UN said Gaza was facing “an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, caused by over 10 years of Israeli blockade“. This statement came just as Israel was murdering Gazan protesters – and just under four years on from its massacre of around 1,483 civilians in the territory.
As the Return activists have shown, Israelis are also saying enough is enough.
– In the UK, meanwhile, you can write to your national or local politicians to ask them to push for peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
Featured image via screenshot
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?