Two months after the first Palestinian Intifada began in December 1987, a group of professionals, all American Jews including many professors and lawyers, joined together to publish as a full page ad in THE NATION Magazine of 13 February 1988 this historic statement: "Time To Dissociate From Israel".
On February 28th this Statement was published in The Congressional Record. And on 31 March, then signed by hundreds of American Jews in addition to the original signers, the Statement was published in THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS.
From this beginning the organization The Jewish Committee On The Middle East (JCOME) came into existence and in the next three years JCOME did the following:
1) Published nearly 100 different full-page newspaper and magazine ads quoting key Israelis and Americans Jews all of whom were in support of the Palestinian Intifada, an end to the Israeli occupation, and creation of a fully sovereign Palestinian State in all the occupied territories including Arab Jerusalem.
2) Published the pamphlet by the famous Constitutional Law Professor, Charles Black (Yale University and Columbia University Law Schools), "Let Us Rethink Our Special Relationship With Israel" when no other publisher was willing to do so.
3) Produced the documentary PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD and showed it on more than one hundred cable TV stations throughout the United States.
4) Produced the documentary WE DARE TO SPEAK - VOICES OF AMERICAN JEWS and showed it on more than one hundred cable TV stations throughout the United States.
If you would like to help make all
of these advertisements, the pamphlet, and the videos, available for all
to see throughout the world using the Internet please contact Mark Bruzonsky
who drafted and organized the original Statement at (202) 362-5266 or Mark@MiddleEast.Org
TIME TO DISSOCIATE FROM ISRAEL
We are Americans and Jews and we come together at this time publicly to express our strong desire to see the United States take meaningful steps to dissociate our country from the policies of Israel.
For some years we have witnessed Israel increasingly deviating from political policies that we find acceptable and from moral values that we hold dear. These developments are not the responsibility of any particular political party in Israel but rather stem in our judgment, from a tragically misguided approach toward the Arab world in which Israel is located, a racialist ideology and a growing militancy. We can no longer condone or be associated with such Israeli behavior, nor, do we believe, should our country.
In recent years Israel has twisted away from basic commitments made at Camp David in 1978, annexed further territories, including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, while continuing to expand settlements in all the occupied territories, and grotesquely invaded Lebanon, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians as well as hundreds of Israelis and Americans, and the taking as hostages of many others.
Furthermore, Israeli policies and attitudes toward the Palestinian people have made it evident that only major changes in Israel's basic posture will allow for a peaceful political settlement with the Palestinians.
Israeli complicity in Irangate and Contragate coupled with Israel's employment of American Jews as spies against our country further underscore the growing dangers inherent in the current U.S.-Israeli relationship. the close identification in the public mind between Israel and Jews -- an equation vigorously fostered by both the Zionist movement and the American Jewish lobby which has come under its control -- threatens to stigmatize Jews everywhere.
The recent acts of killings, beatings, curfews, expulsions and house arrests -- all against unarmed Palestinians living in areas Israel has occupied for 20 years -- further demonstrate that Israel has become a badly divided country with many unfortunate similarities to the situation that prevails in South Africa.
Our ancestors came to the United States because, as a result of their Jewishness, they were discriminated against and abused. The European experience culminated in the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. How tragic that in our own time the very state established by Jews in the aftermath of this evil has become a place where racialism, religious discrimination, militarism, and injustice prevail; and that Israel itself has become a pariah state within he world community. Events taking place today are all too reminiscent of the pogroms from which our own forefathers fled two and three generations ago -- but this time those in authority are Jews and the victims are Moslem and Christian Palestinians.
We believe that Israel's course could not be maintained but for the continuing financial, political, military, and covert support of the U.S. government. And we fear that unless firm steps of disengagement from Israel are taken now our country might get dragged into a major war for which preparations are under way.
In addition, we believe that unless the United States takes serious steps to distance itself from Israel the Israelis will mistakenly continue to think that the course they are on is one acceptable to the American people.
For all these reasons we believe the time has come to normalize the U.S. relationship with Israel. A complete re-evaluation of what has become since 1967 the American sponsorship of Israel is required. The unprecedented amounts of economic aid should be cut back over the next two to three years to much small levels. Furthermore, the considerable military and intelligence assistance should also be radically reduced.
Unfortunately, during the years of the Reagan Administration much the opposite course has been followed and Israel has practically become a ward of the United States. In this election year we urge an open debate about the serious problems and dangers which have resulted from the current structure of U.S.-Israeli relations. Few foreign policy issues are of such importance to our country. Consequently we urge our leading politicians to resist the widespread inhibitions from speaking up about Israel, inhibitions which result from the severe financial, political and ideological pressures often brought to bear against those who do.
We further believe that the time is overdue for negotiations between the Israeli government and the PLO, which is quite clearly the chosen representative for the great majority of Palestinians -- negotiations that should quickly lead to a Palestinian State in all the occupied territories and reasonable security guarantees for all parties. In the security guarantees we think our country should participate; but no longer in the financing and supporting of the kinds of policies Israel has been pursuing. The continual oppression and denial of the Palestinians of their right to self-determination is an injustice which has become intolerable not only to those demonstrating for their freedom in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and throughout Israel itself.
The citizens of Israel, of course,
will ultimately choose their own country's destiny. But at the very
least the citizens of the United States should stop financing and supporting
policies that are contrary to the principles and values we hold precious
as Americans and as Jews.
Professor Yigal Arens
Computer Science Department, USC
Santa Monica, CA
Former Washington Associate, World Jewish Congress
Institute Professor, MIT
Rabbi Susan Einbinder
Professor Herbert Hill
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Former Labor Director, NAACP
Publisher, Israeli Foreign Affairs
Former CNN Bureau Chief and Former Hostage in Lebanon
Professor John Mack
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Professor Seymour Melman
Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering, Columbia University
New York, NY
Ph.D., Intercultural Communications
Professor Don Peretz
Professor of Political Science, SUNY
American Civil Liberties Union
New York, NY
Professor Steve Schwarzschild
Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies, Washington University
St. Louis, MO
Retired, General Motors
San Jose, CA
Gertrude M. Welch
Interfaith Peace Coalition
San Jose, CA
President, Operation California
Los Angeles, CA
San Jose, CA
(These are the original signers of first ad in THE NATION, 13 February 1988 which was then published in the Congressional Record on 29 February. When published on 31 March 1988 in THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, hundreds of American Jews joined in endorsing this Statement and signed their names).
More information about JCOME including the video documentaries