in UK renounce right to live in Israel
August 8, 2002
A group of prominent Jews seek today to renounce their right to
Israeli residence and citizenship in protest at Israel's "barbaric"
policies towards the Palestinians.
In a letter to the Guardian, the group, which includes writers,
academics and artists, say they regard the legal entitlement as
"morally wrong" when those who "should have the most
right to a genuine return ... are excluded."
Among the 45 signatories are Steven Rose, director of the Brain
and Behaviour Research Group at the Open University who is campaigning
to suspend EU funding of Israel's universities, and Professor Irene
Bruegel, of the group Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
Theatre director and film producer Michael Kustow, singer Leon
Rosselson and writer Mike Marqusee also signed the letter, which
follows an article in yesterday's Guardian about a group of South
American Indians who converted to Judaism and moved to Israel only
to be housed in settlements in the disputed territories.
The letter says: "We do not wish to identify ourselves with
what Israel is doing.
"We wish to express our solidarity with all those who are
working for a time when Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip can
be lived in by people without any restrictions based on so-called
racial, cultural, or ethnic origins."
are Jews ...
Letter to the Guardian
August 8, 2002
We are Jews, born and raised outside Israel, who, under Israel's
"law of return", have a legal right to Israeli residence
and citizenship (Real lives, G2, August 7). We wish to renounce
this unsought "right" because:
1) We regard it as morally wrong that this legal entitlement should
be bestowed on us while the very people who should have most right
to a genuine "return", having been forced or terrorised
into fleeing, are excluded.
2) Israel's policies towards the Palestinians are barbaric - we
do not wish to identify ourselves in any way with what Israel is
3) We disagree with the notion that Zionist emigration to Israel
is any kind of "solution" for diaspora Jews, anti-semitism
or racism - no matter to what extent Jews have been or are victims
of racism, they have no right to make anyone else victims.
4) We wish to express our solidarity with all those who are working
for a time when Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip can be lived
in by people without any restrictions based on so-called racial,
cultural, or ethnic origins.
We look forward to the day when all the peoples of the area are
enabled to live in peace with each other on this basis of non-discrimination
and mutual respect. Perhaps some of us would even wish to live there,
but only if the rights of the Palestinians are respected. To those
who consider Israel a "safe haven" for Jews in the face
of anti-semitism, we say that there can be no safety in taking on
the role of occupier and oppressor. We hope that the people of Israel
and their leaders will come to realise this soon.
Michael RosenIan Saville
Prof Irene Bruegel
Prof Steven Rose
and 38 others