Hundreds of Scholars Denounce Israeli Apartheid Regime
A group of more than 400 prominent academics and public figures from Israel, Palestine and the Jewish community have signed an open letter that criticizes the Israeli government’s proposed judicial overhaul and its occupation of Palestinian territories. The letter, published on Tuesday, calls for the Jewish community in the US to break its “silence” and engage in meaningful discourse on the issue.
The signatories of the letter, which include foundation leaders, scholars, rabbis and educators, say that the judicial overhaul is aimed at “tightening restrictions on Gaza, depriving Palestinians of equal rights both beyond the Green Line and within it, annexing more land, and ethnically cleansing all territories under Israeli rule of their Palestinian population.”
They also stress that equal rights for all citizens are essential for any political solution, whether it is one state, two states, or other possibilities. They warn that without equal rights, there is always a danger of dictatorship. They accuse Israel of operating “a regime of apartheid” and ignoring the plight of the Palestinians, who face constant violence, demolition and dispossession.
The letter urges the Jewish community to support Israel’s ongoing protest movement, which has been challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption charges. However, it also insists on the imperative of equality for Jews and Palestinians within both the Green Line and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The letter also advocates for backing human rights organizations and promoting their work within communities, as well as endorsing education curricula that provide an honest portrayal of Israel’s historical and contemporary context. It also presses the Jewish community to urge its representatives to work towards ending the occupation and curtailing military aid being used in the OPT. It also calls for a halt to Israeli impunity in international organizations such as the United Nations.
Among the signatories are over 100 academics affiliated with Israeli universities, including notable figures such as former Jewish Agency head and Knesset member Avraham Burg. In 2021, Burg said that Israel has little to do with the essence of Judaism.
The open letter is a resounding call to action that establishes a “direct link” between the Israeli government’s ongoing judicial overhaul and its occupation of Palestinian territories. It reflects the growing discontent and dissent among various sectors of Israeli society and the Jewish diaspora over Israel’s policies and practices towards the Palestinians.