Friday, November 30, 2012

German Jews on UN Palestinian Vote

Here is a letter from a German Jewish orgqanization, European Jews for a Just Peace Germany, commenting on yesterday's historic UN vote granting the Palestinian territories observer status.

"On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution for the founding of two states: The state of Israel and the state of Palestine, between which the land of Palestine was to be divided.

Exactly 65 years later, the Palestinians have appealed to the UN to honor that decision, only this time they are asking the UN to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, on a mere quarter of former Palestine.

The Juedische Stimme (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace, EJJP Germany) firmly believes in the right of the Palestinians to life, freedom and self-determination. Regardless of the various opinions over which is the best way to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, or what kind of state or states should be formed to best serve the people living in the area, we believe that the Palestinians have the right to choose their own destiny and to be recognized by the international community.

As European citizens, we are particularly appalled by the hypocrisy of the German government, which decided to abstain. For two decades the German government, among others, has been calling for a “two-state solution” as a way towards “peace.” Now it is clear that it meant no such thing. The German government has shirked its responsibility to support the Palestinian demand, which is both peaceful and legitimate.

Over the past two decades, Germany has played a destructive role in EU discussions   over the Israeli occupation. German votes in the European Council have often been used to block sanctions against Israel, thereby giving Israel full freedom to continue its occupation in the knowledge that there will be no consequences, leaving Israel unaccountable for its crimes. We should like to remind the German government that complicity in crime is also a crime.

We are outraged that German government policy is based on the fact that it can profit more from war (for example through the sale of weapons) than from peace in the Middle East.

As Jews, we also wish to emphasize that the forming of a Palestinian state is a prerogative of the Palestinian people and should in no way be used to justify the existence of Israel as a “Jewish” state in the sense of Jews having more rights than other citizens. Whether an independent Palestinian state is established or not, we will continue to struggle for democracy and for the equal rights of all people living in the area and will not accept any laws that favor one religious, racial or national group over another.

As Jews, we also reject outright any argument that Germany should deny the Palestinian right to self-determination because of its “special relationship” with Israel. Abusing the rights of Palestinians can never compensate for past crimes against Jews, and Israel does not have the right to exploit the Jewish people to justify its illegal territorial expansionism.

29. November, 2012"

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