Again today, Alternative Jewish Voices joined Wellington-Palestine, Green and Labour MPs and hundreds of our friends to demand that Aotearoa-NZ stand up and act for the protection of Gazans. We added our support to Green MP Golriz Gharahman’s motion to recognize Palestinians’ right to self-determination and statehood. And again today, we are grateful for the warm welcome and friendship we find when we stand up together. Here are our remarks:
Kia Ora, and shukran. To each of the Palestinians here, I wish safety for your families, for all of the families.
We are the co-founder of Alternative Jewish Voices. We join you to do the work of ending an atrocity.
Governments can end this.
The Israeli forces will bomb until governments including ours require them to stop. That is the history. After the 2014 bombardment, Israel’s office of the comptroller published its report. It found that Netanyahu and Gantz had bombed Gaza with no meaningful military objective. They found pretexts to bomb for as long as the world allowed it.
They are doing it again. Do not give them 50 days – we came here to end this.
All of it. We abhor all the forms of violence that we see, from bombardment to the everyday humiliations of life under occupation, and the decisions of leaders who put military and nationalist interests before the wellbeing of children and civilians.
We want Aotearoa-NZ to unequivocally condemn Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate violence. We want our leaders to call out all the crimes and end the impunity, to uphold the law and protect the endangered people of Gaza. That’s how we end it.
We are here to end our complicity in the arms trade. After the last bombardment, America sold Israel $1.9 billion in new weapons. This week Biden is selling Israel precision-guided missiles worth $3/4 billion. That is military business as usual: Israel bombs, America replenishes their bombs and Israel’s arms trade profits from each field-test of its new weapons.
We are here to end normal trading relations with Israel, because this is not normal. We begin by auditing and ending our arms transactions with Israel. We end our complicity.
Then, please, send the money that we would have spent on military robots to Gaza. Use our money to repair the roads that lead to the Al Shifa hospital, because those roads have been bombed. Ambulances can not bring the wounded for help.
Use our money to repair Gaza’s only Covid testing lab, which has been hit and cannot operate. Spend our money on medical aid, for Covid and for the diseases that will spread because sewage treatment has ceased. Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, the veins and arteries of modernity, is being blasted apart. More than half of the power lines are down, half of Gaza has gone dark and without the internet, they are falling silent. Israel has shut off Gaza’s fuel supplies, and since May 10 Israel has closed the blockade’s goods entrance.
Those are criminal acts. Stop this assault, and use our money to rebuild.
And please send our money to build playgrounds. Hire counsellors to comfort the children of Gaza. That is where our money belongs.
And send our recognition.
In a world of state power and inter-state institutions, stateless people will always be vulnerable. Aotearoa-NZ has withheld Palestinians’ equal standing to speak for themselves in a state-based world. We support the Green Party initiative to give Palestinians their national voice as a state. Let us hear them speak and negotiate about their land, their resources, their aspirations and right now, their safety.
Recognition would be a step toward resolving this with justice, not merely suspending the fighting.
And we end this as Jews. Plenty of us are horrified and disturbed by the bombardment of Gaza. See our protests, all around the world. We who love our religion – we need to say out loud that this isn’t it.
So I ask my fellow NZ Jews to join us. Do not wring your hands. Use your hands to pick up a sign and protest. What good is your horror without your voice? Come and shout with us: we revoke the license that we have given to Israel.
Netanyahu, you claim to do this in our names? We cancel your naming rights. Take our names off your bombs. Your apartheid, your blockade, that is not our Judaism – we reject it.
The ghetto you have built and bombed in Gaza has no place in our Judaism – we are disgusted by your actions.
We who have enabled, we need to act now, to end this and pursue a just peace for all who live between the river and the sea.
Do justice, love mercy.
B’Shalom – ya’tik al afiah – nga mihi nui.