Around twenty Jewish organizations, and a number of prominent Jewish individuals, including several Holocaust survivors, have signed on to a letter published by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network this week endorsing a boycott of Israeli goods and institutions, and calling for divestment and sanctions of Israel.The letter was a response to a statement by liberal Zionist organizations on February 15th condemning the boycott of all Israeli goods, and launching a campaign titled “Buy Israel – Don’t Buy Settlements (They’re not the Same)”. The campaign came out of the J Street Conference held by liberal Zionists in Washington DC, and was led by Meretz, a liberal Zionist organization closely affiliated with J Street.

That statement said, in part, “We believe that a targeted boycott of the settlements (as opposed to a global boycott of sovereign Israel) is a legitimate tool to be used by Zionist organizations and individuals, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, to help bring the Occupation to an end and achieve a two-state solution. An indiscriminate boycott of Israel and Israelis runs the risk of strengthening those forces within Israel opposed to a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and of alienating many mainstream Israelis of good will.”

The response letter, entitled “A Jewish response to the February 2011 Statement of Jewish Zionist Organizations on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)”, gives several reasons for support of academic, cultural and commercial boycotts, divestments and sanctions of Israel, stating that such actions:
are being called for by Palestinian civil society in response to the occupation and colonization of their land,
are a moral tool of non-violent, peaceful response to more than sixty years of Israeli colonialism, and
rightfully place accountability on Israeli institutions (and their allies and partners) that use business, cultural, and academic ties to white-wash Israel’s responsibility for continuing crimes against humanity,

In addition, the letter of the Jewish Anti-Zionist Network addressed the claim made by some Zionist organizations that boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic, saying, “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] are not antisemitic. We reject the notion that the 2005 BDS call from Palestine, and the BDS campaigns the world over which it has inspired, are rooted in anti-Jewish sentiment. On the contrary, BDS is an anti-racist movement against the daily, brutal occupation of Palestine and military threat to the region by the State of Israel. False claims of antisemitism distort the true nature of the Palestinian struggle and are an affront to, and betrayal of, the long history of Jewish survival and resistance to persecution.”

The organizations and individuals who signed onto the letter say that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel are meant to pressure Israel to fulfill its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and to fully comply with the precepts of international law.

List of signatories:

* International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
* Not In Our Name (Argentina)
* Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in Middle East (EJJP, Germany)
* Not in Our Name: Jews Opposing Zionism (Canada)
* Jews for a Just Peace (Fredericton, Canada)
* Independent Jewish Voice (Canada)
* Middle East Children’s Alliance (USA)
* Critical Jewish Voice (Austria)
* Women in Black (Austria)
* French Jewish Union for Peace (UJFP)
* Bay Area Women in Black (USA)
* St. Louis Women in Black (USA)
* Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace (USA)
* American Jews for a Just Peace (USA)
* Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)
* JUNTS, Asociació catalana de Jueus i Palestins (Asociación Catalana de Judios y Palestinas, Spain)
* Ronnie Kasrils, former South African government minister, writer, founder Not In My Name, South Africa
* Antony Loewenstein, Independent Australian Jewish Voices
* Peter Slezak, Independent Australian Jewish Voices
* Moshé Machover, Professor (emeritus) (UK), founder Matzpen
* Felicia Langer, Israeli lawyer, author, Right Livelihood Award 2006 (Alternative Nobel Prize) 1990, Bruno Kreisky Prize 1991
* Mieciu Langer, Nazi Holocaust survivor
* Hedy Epstein, Nazi Holocaust survivor
* Hajo G. Meyer PhD, Nazi Holocaust survivor
* Kamal Chenoy, IJAN India & The All India Peace and Solidarity Organization
* Paola Canarutto & Giorgio Forti, Rete ECO, Italy
* Liliane Cordova Kaczerginski, IJAN France
* Sonia Fayman, IJAN France & UJFP
* Ernesto Rosenberg, GRAMARPAL (Grupo de Amistad Argentina-Palestina, Neuquén, Argentina)
* Mark Elf, blogger, Jews sans Frontieres

We welcome organizations and individuals to join us in condemning false claims of anti-Semitism for the purposes of attempting to discredit our collective anti-racist activism against Israeli apartheid.