Divide grows over Israel and Gaza

* The Guardian, Friday 4 June 2010

We applaud Iain Banks’s decision to refuse book translation deals with Israeli publishers (Letters, 3 June). The mentality behind Israel’s tortuous attempts to justify nine murders and many injuries on the Mavi Marmara was exposed for all to see outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington on Wednesday night.

Waving Israeli flags, bringing shame upon the Star of David that it carries, supporters of the Zionist Federation lined up alongside fascist hooligans from the English Defence League to praise the commando killers and damn the dead and injured. Like the rapist seeking justification for his crimes, Zionism blames its victims for “provocation”.

Although we know that Palestinians who protest against Israel’s apartheid system may face death at any moment, we did not at first believe reports of international activists being killed bringing aid to Gaza. It is now clear that their deaths fit the general pattern of Israel’s contempt for human life, for international law and for world opinion.

This is unacceptable to us as Jews true to our traditional respect for equality and justice for all. A just peace for Israelis and Palestinians must begin with Israel ending its siege of Gaza, its illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, its discrimination against non-Jewish citizens and its denial of the right of return to the hundreds of thousands it has expelled.

We have seen proof this week that Israel will not yield unless an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions obliges it to do so.

Ruth Clark, Mike Cushman, Deborah Fink, Sylvia Finzi, Tony Greenstein, Selma James, Michael Kalmanovitz, Michael Kendall, Leah Levane, Rachel Lever, Bruce Levy, Beryl Maizels, Miriam Margolyes, Martine Miel, Simon Pirani, Roland Rance, Alexei Sayle, Inbar Tamari, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Ben Young

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