More than 3,000 European Jews, including prominent intellectuals, have signed a petition speaking out against Israeli settlement policies and warning that systematic support for the Israeli government is dangerous.

The petition's signatories include French philosophers Bernard-Henri Levy and Alain Finkielkraut as well as Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Greens leader in the European Parliament.

"We are speaking as friends of Israel and we are saying: You are going to make a mistake. You have to decide how to behave, not us," David Chemla, head of the group, known as JCall, told the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper on Monday. "But as friends, as Jews, we want to tell you that you are going down a wrong path," said Chemla, who moved to France after living in Israel for 10 years and serving in the IDF.

Supporters hope to build a European movement that is both "committed to the state of Israel and critical of the current choices of its government."

COMMENT: A fact that is probably not known by the majority of people is that ultra-orthodox Jews are also against the Zionist policies that are being attacked by the liberal Jews who made the above mentioned statement. The stereotype of the pigheaded, arrogant militarist is, in no way, applicable to all Jews. Unfortunately, if you happen to be non-Jewish in the Middle east, that's the stereotype that interferes in everything you do, every moment of your life.

I'm glad that more prominent people are beginning to voice concern about the way Israel behaves, especially in respect of its land grabbing policy. They evoke the past and the attacks on them in the present to claim the moral high ground. But it simply will not wash as long as they are being so obviously unjust in their own actions. As usual, Desmond Tutu is right. Israel is the big guy with the big guns so it is up to them to make all the moves towards peace initially. Their first move should be to get the hell out of the lands that don't belong to them. Their second move should be to tear down that obscene bloody wall. It's like something the Nazis or Stalinists would come up with.



  1. I was talking to a Jewish person the other day who explained to me that there were trouble makers in Israel who acted unilateraly to cause trouble that the rest of the nation did not want. They deliberately settled right next to (or onto?) Arab lands and made it hard for the rest of Israel. They controlled politicians and created no-go zones in theri neighbourhoods where not even the Israeli Police could enter. “They are like cults which people don’t agree with.”

    I don’t know if it’s true of course I just politely kept nodding as they spoke but it reminded me of our own fundamentalists and I thought, “Well actually I could believe that coudl well be the case.”

  2. It is instructive to remember that Yitzak Rabin was assassinated by a right wing Israeli settler, not an Arab or Palestinian. The tragedy for Israel is that in less than one generation, the Arab population of the country will be larger than the Jewish population, and thus in a position to vote Israel out of existence. At that point, the Israelis will have two choices: apartheid for the Palestinians, or accommodation with the actual geopolitical realities of the Middle East.

  3. could not agree more and I am so pleased to see Jewish people speaking out against the Israeli government as the usual quite lazy argument against people who do that is that they are just being anti-Semitic, not a claim that can very easily be aimed at a group of Jewish intellectuals.