Breaking the Law of Return

We are Jews from the United States, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s “law of return.”

Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land–a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish.

We renounce this “right” to “return” offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may “return” to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.

In 1947-49, Zionist militias destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state on land where the majority was not Jewish. It is Palestinians who have the right to return to their own land.

Now in Gaza, where more than three quarters of the people are refugees, the State of Israel not only denies the population its right of return, but also incarcerates the entire Gaza Strip under illegal and inhumane siege conditions.

We reject the notion that Israel is a “safe haven” from anti-Semitism for Jews. No one is truly safe when the price of that “security” is oppression, inequality, and occupation of another people.

Today there is a growing transnational movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society and supported by activists, artists, and academics around the world, including an increasing number of conscientious Israelis. As part of this campaign, we pledge to boycott the “law of return.” As an act of political and ideological divestment, we repudiate the claims the State of Israel makes on us as potential citizens.

We protest Israel”s colonial policies and discriminatory laws toward the Palestinian people, as well as the U.S. government’s political and financial support of these policies.

We hereby renounce Israel’s “law of return” and refuse to lend the state our support, resources, or passports.


Note: This statement specifies the United States because of the enormous funding, political support, and international legitimization the U.S. supplies to Israel. Israel’s “law of return,” however, applies to Jews throughout the world, and we hope organizers in other countries will make use of the statement and adapt it for your own use.

We are inspired by the letter by UK Jews, “We Renounce Israel Rights,” published in the Guardian:


(to add your name, email breakingthelawofreturn[at]

Ammiel Alcalay
Dunya Alwan
Aliea Anderson
Jonathan Auerbach
Karey Bacon
Anna Baltzer
Amy Baron
Keren Batiyov
Michael Berg
Dan Berger
Bob Berman
Hillary Blecker
Richard Blum
Ethan Blustein
Mark Braverman
Susan Braverman
Brian Brotman
Rachel Brown
Judith Butler
Ellen Cantarow
Pat Carmeli
Jerrold Cohen
Timothy Colman
Rita Corriel
Mark Dubrow
David Ehrens
Ariel Eisenberg
Jascha Ephraim
Jonah EtShalom
Nava EtShalom
Danielle Feris
Amie Fishman
Richard Forer
H. Bruce Franklin
Andrew Fulluss
Lee Gargagliano
Mneesha Gellman
Susan Gillman
Libbey Goldberg
Sarah Goldman
Alyosha Goldstein
Lora Gordon
Sandra Green
Rosi Greenberg
Zoe Greenberg
Shaina Greiff
Marilyn Hacker
Edward Herman
Sally Heron
Henry Herskovitz
Pam Hinden
Adam Horowitz
Justine Issavi
Rachael Kamel
Amy Kaplan
Carolyn Karcher
Elinore Kaufman
David Kirshbaum
Alisa Klein
Harris Kornstein
Susan Landau
Howard Lenow
Michael Levin
Dave Lippman
Peter Lippman
Alex Lubin
David Mazel
Avigail McClelland-Cohen
Ben Mermelstein
Hannah Mermelstein
Jules Mermelstein
Sol Metz
Ricardo Levins Morales
Elijah Oberman
Haley Michaels Pollack
Lynn Pollack
Nancy Press
Rob Prince
Emily Ratner
Flo Razowsky
Karen Redleaf
Carrie Rosenbaum
Ellen Rosner
Sue Rouda
Emma Rubin
Heike Schotten
Amy Schrager Lang
Sylvia Schwarz
Hannah Schwarzschild
Chuck Scurich
Rich Siegel
Paula Silbey
Carmon Simon
Beth Slutzky
Louisa Solomon
Dennis Solt
Doris Soroko
Aaron Stark
Rebecca Subar
Ethel Sussman
Silvia Tennenbaum
Katie Unger
Beth Wacks
Donna Wallach
Edmund Weisberg
Lenore Wolf
Bruce Wolman
Jodie Zisow

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