PRESS STATEMENT from the INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ANTI-ZIONIST NETWORK UK (IJAN UK)
For more information contact:
Michael Kalmanovitz tel: 07722 926562 email: UK@IJAN.org
IJAN is an international network of Jewish people opposed to imperialism, militarism, apartheid and genocide. We support the liberation of the Palestinian people, and the right of return for those driven from their homes and their land by Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing. IJAN has active chapters in Argentina, Canada, France, Spain, the UK and the US.
In 2010, IJAN and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised the Never Again – For Anyone speaking tour with 85 year-old Jewish Auschwitz survivor Dr Hajo Meyer, this included the meeting in the House of Commons on Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January.
Dr Meyer spoke on “The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes,” and Dr Haidar Eid, who participated in the meeting from Gaza via speakerphone, on the situation in Palestine. They compared the dehumanisation of Jewish people in Hitler’s Germany pre-1941 and the dehumanisation of Palestinian people in current day Israel and occupied Palestine. Throughout the tour, Dr Meyer received standing ovations – many hearing for the first time important truths about Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
The meeting Never Again – For Anyone was a coming together of many communities which have faced dehumanisation, racism and genocide. Speakers were Armenian, Bangladeshi, Irish, Native American, Roma, Rwandan, Tamil, as well as people with disabilities, and a speaker on the Slave Trade from Africa to the Americas and the revolution which ended slavery in Haiti.
Dr Meyer said:
‘My great lesson from Auschwitz is: whoever wants to dehumanise any other, must first be dehumanised himself. The oppressors are no longer really human whatever uniform they wear.’
The event attracted leading Zionist figures Louise Ellman MP [then and now, Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel], Jerry Lewis [then Vice President, Board of Deputies] and Jonathan Hoffman [then Co-Vice Chair of the Zionist Federation], and Christian Friends of Israel.
Most of them had clearly not come to listen. They barracked both Dr Meyer and Dr Eid, and one of them, Martin Sugarman, had to be escorted out by the Commons security; on his way out he stunned everyone by giving the Nazi salute and shouting "Sieg Heil".
Following the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza in July 2014, a letter from survivors of the Nazi genocide and hundreds of their descendants, called for “a full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel”. The letter reads:
“Genocide begins with the silence of the world . . . We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.”
“Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!” Dr Hajo Meyer was the first to sign on. The letter was published in the New York Times on 24 August 2014, the morning after he died.
Following this year’s Israeli massacre of Palestinians during their Great March of Return, our members recently initiated and circulated a statement calling for an arms embargo, and an open letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, signed by over 100 Jewish people, many of them distinguished, including Prof Moshe Machover, Michael Rosen and Sir Stephen Sedley, condemning BoD’s support for the massacre and refuting its claim to speak for all Jewish people in Britain.
We welcome the letter from distinguished Palestinians defending their “inalienable rights” and refusing “attempts to silence public discussion” (Guardian 31 July), and the comment from Jewish former Appeal Judge, Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen Sedley (Guardian 27 July):
“. . . both Jews and non-Jews in the UK are entitled, without being stigmatised as antisemites, to contend that a state that by law denies Palestinians any right of self-determination is a racist state, or to ask whether there is some moral equivalence between shooting down defenceless Jews in eastern Europe and unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza.”
For a more detailed report of the Never Again tour, see Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s statement here.
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