Boat On Its Way: ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’
24 September 2010
By Gilad Atzmon
Haaretz reported this week that a boat carrying Jewish
activists from Israel, Germany, the U.S. and Britain
set sail on Sunday for Gaza, hoping to breach Israel's
blockade there and deliver aid.
9 Jews will participate in this brave mission: amongst
them is Rami Elhanan, an Israeli peace activist whose
daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing in
1997. Elhanan rightly maintained that it was his moral
duty to act in support of the Palestinians in Gaza
because reconciliation was the surest path to peace.
"Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly
as I am," he said.
Refusnik Israel Air Force pilot Jonathan Shapira,
another passenger aboard the ship, told Haaretz that
"we hope that the soldiers and officers of the Israeli
navy will think twice before they obey orders to stop
us." Shapira also reflected on recent Jewish history:
"Let them remember the history of our people, and
those who followed orders and later said we were only
Elhanan and Shapira make a lot of sense, for they
speak in the spirit of humanism and universalism.
However: when it comes to Jewish political activism,
there is always one ‘righteous person’ who insists on
providing a glimpse into what is still a deeply
Richard Kuper, an organizer with the U.K. group, ‘Jews
for Justice for Palestinians’, said “one goal is to
show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward
Well done Richard. Let me get it right : amongst the
Jewish population of 18 million people, worldwide --
all you have managed to apparently represent, speak
for and collate, is 9 humanist souls who are not happy
with Israeli policies.
I suggest to Jews -- and humanist Jews in particular
-- to once and for all, drop the ‘not in my name’
strategy : it is not going to work, and it doesn’t
make any sense either. Implementing such a tactic is
as racist as the Zionist project, for it affirms the
Zionist racial and collective attribution to Jews. It
basically says, ‘look at me, I am nice in spite of
being a Jew’. This common Jewish left tactic is,
unfortunately, not as forceful as Zionism for Zionism
is supported by the vast majority of world Jewry
institutionally and spiritually.
Also, I would like to advise Mr. Kuper that the goal
of a humanitarian mission to Gaza should aim at
helping Gazans rather than make Jews look better.
I should be clear here : of course I wish the Jewish
boat all success in accomplishing its sacred mission.
I certainly go along with Shapira and Elhanan’s call.
It is very impressive to see heroic Israelis opposing
their criminal government. Shapira and Elhanan are the
seed of a future reconciliation. It is also important
to see Jews around the world standing up against
However, if these Jewish activists are true humanists,
they had better operate as ordinary people within the
emerging solidarity movement. If these Jews are
humanists, they had better accept the true meaning of
universalism and stop buying into, and retaining
aspects of Zionist racist philosophy and perhaps they
should consider not solely operating in Jews only